I'm So Gifted At Findin' What I Don't Like the Most
One of the great joys of living in France is learning about all the dumb stuff they do. One of these is chauffage collectif. When looking for an apartment you probably thought nothing of it. "Oh how cute, look at those old fashioned radiators" you might have said because how adorably quaint is it to not have central a/c and heating? Now you're probably kicking yourself because it's 50 degrees and you can't get warm.
One of the glorious mysteries of Paris is chauffage collectif. When I heard about it I was like "what the actual fuck, you have to ask to turn on your heating?!?". I was working for an American family from California and they lived in one of those fancy apartments on Avenue Breteuil. Imagine spending 3m€ on an apartment, and god knows how much in yearly homeowner fees, and then being told you can't have heat. I used to turn into a popsicle when I was there. Then I'd run home to Montmartre and cheerfully stand in front of my heater, basking in it's warmth.
But this is a fact of life in France. I used to think it was the city that dictated when the heating was turned on, but it's actually your building. If for some reason there is a cold front before October 15th and you need it, your building has to come together and agree. Now I say October 15th, but it's actually up to your building. It may be earlier, it may be later, there is no law. However it usually falls around October to April. Which are also the months landlords are legally obligated not to kick you out for failing to pay rent. Legally you cannot make someone homeless, or cut off their electricity, in the winter (Oct-Apr).
So next time you're looking at apartments, maybe opt for that ugly electric heater. You want to look for "individual heating". It might not be as aesthetically pleasing at those quaint radiators, but you won't be freezing to death when winter comes early, or stays late.