Find out here all the steps to take to find accommodation that suits you while avoiding the pitfalls

Housing search

University residence, individual apartment, shared accommodation? Finding accommodation will be more or less easy depending on your choices and the city in which you are going to study. 

In any case, it must be started well before your departure because the search for accommodation involves many administrative procedures. 

First, you will need a French guarantor. Then it will be necessary to make the inventory with the rental company and pay a deposit to the landlord. Finally, you will have to suscribe to a home insurance. Generally, to carry out all these procedures, you will need a bank account and a French telephone number. 

Once you have done all of this, hurrah ! You will be able to benefit from Housing Aids (“APL”) to help pay part of your rent. This aid is essential for most international students coming to France. But to benefit from it, you will have to undertake new complex and time-consuming online procedures. 

We strongly advise you to be accompanied to complete your application for housing assistance.

Housing search procedures

One of the main problems for international students looking for accommodation in France is finding a guarantor. 

When renting an apartment, you will almost always be asked to have a guarantor. This person must agree to pay your rent if you are no longer able to pay it yourself. 

Most of the time, here are the requirements to be someone’s guarantor: 
– earn at least 3 times the monthly rent amount
– work and pay taxes in France provide his/her last three payslips
– his/her last tax notice plus a copy of his/her identity document. 

Some student residences as well as some private landlords may be more flexible on the documents requested, but this is quite rare.

When you get the keys of your accommodation, you must do a check in of the place (état des lieux d’entrée). This document describes the state of the accommodation and its equipment before you moved into it. 

A new inventory will be made when you leave the accommodation and return the keys. In the event of a disagreement the comparison of these 2 documents makes it possible to establish the responsibilities of each party. 

Worth knowing: it is possible to request a change to the entry inventory up to 10 days after the signature. This makes it possible to add defects that would not have been noted during the first visit.

When signing the lease you will have to pay a deposit to the landlord. The amount of this deposit is generally equal to one month’s rent excluding charges. 

This deposit will be blocked by the landlord until the end of your rental contract (and will be used as a guarantee). At the end of your lease, if the apartment is damaged, the landlord will be able to deduct the amount of the repairs from your deposit or even keep the full amount. If everything is ok, the deposit will be returned to you in full on departure. 

It is therefore very important to be careful when you sign the check in and we advise you to note anything that does not seem to you in good condition.

In France, home insurance is mandatory to rent a flat. Depending on the offer you choose, you will be covered in case of accident, theft, water damage or fire. 

Some insurances have a very high level of protection while others only cover the legal minimum. It is therefore important to take the time to choose the most suitable home insurance for your personal situation and your accommodation. 

Most home insurance also includes liability insurance and personal life insurance. You will be asked for this personal insurance when you register at university or during an internship in a company. It is therefore very important to remember to include it in your home insurance.

Financial assistance for housing

The French government offers assistance to people with low incomes to enable them to pay their rent: the APL (Personalized Housing Assistance). International students can usually benefit from this aid.

The APL are delivered by a public organism called the CAF. Once you have found accommodation, you can apply for APL. 

The amount of this aid depends on a number of criteria: your personal and family situation, the price of the rent, the size of the accommodation, etc. 

This financial aid can represent a significant part of your rent, so we advise you to apply for it as soon as you move in. 

To be noted: the application for APL is one of the main difficulties for international students arriving in France. The CAF website is only available in French and some questions may be difficult to understand. We strongly advise you to be accompanied to carry out your procedure.

The different types of housing

Some universities and schools offer accommodation in CROUS residences. These residences are only for students and are managed by the State. Rents are lower than in other private student residences and the booking process is easier. 

It is an ideal solution if you have a small budget and want to live alone in an accommodation of around 9-10 sqm. 

Please note that international students can only claim a room in these residences if the request comes from the international relations department of their institution. No direct request from an international student is considered by CROUS residences.

Private student residences also exist. They offer a good value for money if you want to live alone. 

The procedures for registration and booking are a little more complicated  than those for CROUS residences because you will be asked for many more documents and a guarantor in France. 

We can assist you in your search for accommodation in a student residence.

It is possible to search directly for rental offers from private owners. You will thus be able to find larger accommodation than in CROUS residences and more affordable rents than in private student residences but the administrative procedures will also be much more complicated. 

Indeed, most private landlords and rental agencies will ask you for a large number of documents to ensure that you will be able to pay your rent every month. The most important thing is being able to provide a guarantor working in France. 

This solution will allow you to find accommodation corresponding to all your criteria, but it is also the longest and most complicated. It is almost impossible to do this remotely and you have to watch out for scams. We can help you in your search for individual accommodation.

Shared accommodation can be an excellent alternative for international students. 

It is a good way to meet new people and have a larger area for less rent than in an individual apartment. However, you will be asked for a large number of documents and a guarantor living and working in France. 

We can help you in your search for shared accommodation.

Leaving accommodation

Leaving accommodation is a process that must be anticipated. Depending on the city in which you will live, you will have to notify your departure between one and three months before the effective date of your move. In case you do not do it soon enough, you will have to keep paying until the end of your notice period. 

To recover your deposit, you will need to make an exit inventory. We therefore advise you to anticipate your departure date as much as possible and notify your landlord as soon as possible.