The pros and cons of renting through an agency

CC Image courtesy of Félix Polesello on Flickr

Many flats in Montpellier are rented by agencies, such as Century 21, which act as a link between the owner of the property and the tenant. While lots of landlords choose to use an estate agent to manage their apartment there are negative consequences for renters. Here we run through the pros and cons of renting an apartment or house through an estate agent in Montpellier.



  • Consistency. The service you get from an agency may lack the personal touch of the best landlords but you should – should – avoid any horror stories. Plus, when something breaks the agency should fix it pretty quickly, although this isn’t always the case.
  • Choice. As in, sometimes you don’t have any. Many excellent apartments are only sold through rental agencies. If you decide to avoid them you limit your options and it make take longer to find a place to live.
  • Security. Going through an agency means everything’s done very properly. It’s all above board and you have the full weight of French law, which is favourable to tenants, behind you.


  • Inflexibility. Some private landlords or shared flats are happier to cut corners. This may limit the aforementioned legal protection but can make the process less arduous. Estate agents will want to see three payslips, a full-time employment contract, and/or a letter from a guarantor. Some, but not all, private landlords are happy to be a little more flexible.
  • Cost. For the privilege of going through an estate agent you’ll have to pay a fee, often around one month’s rent. Considering estate agents are often little help in renting an apartment it’s pretty galling to cough up hundreds of euros for their limited service. When added to the deposit and, in the case of unfurnished apartments, the cost to buy a bed, sofa, and other essentials, you can pay 1000s of euros just to move in. For those of us who arrived in Montpellier with little cash behind us, or anyone who’s frugal, having an extra €500 to play with is very welcome.

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