Getting ready to move and changing address

Before you move into a new home, there are several steps you will need to take with regard to administrative authorities and service providers. The steps you need to take may vary depending on your situation.

Verified by Ouarda Varda Sadoudi on 29/09/2023

Moving can be an extremely stressful time, but with good preparation, it can be a smooth process.

On this page, we will guide you step by step.

If you want to make sure you don’t forget any important steps, you can also use this tool to get a list of steps to take depending on your situation.

Leaving your old home

If you are a tenant, it is important to inform your landlord that you wish to terminate the lease or “bail”. This is called terminating the lease or “résiliation du bail”.

If your ex-partner is staying in the property, ask them to change the contract so that your name no longer appears.

  • You will need to send a letter to your landlord to terminate the “bail”. As a general rule, it needs to be signed by all tenants that appear on the lease. You can use this template to write the letter.

    Before sending it, it is important to check the notice period that applies in your lease. This period is generally three months, but is reduced to one month if:

    • you have filed a complaint against your ex-partner due to domestic abuse or violence towards a child living with you, and:
      • the legal proceedings are still ongoing
      • or they have been convicted
      • or they have received alternative penalties to prosecution
    • you have a protection order issued by a French judge known as the “ordonnance de protection
    • the home you rent is furnished
    • your home is located in a place known as a “zone tendue”, where demand for housing exceeds supply
    • you have just got your first job, moved to another city, lost your job, or found a new job as a result of job loss
    • your state of health requires a change of residence (you will need to provide a medical certificate to prove this)
    • you are entitled to financial assistance known as “revenu de solidarité active (RSA)” or “allocation aux adultes handicapés (AAH)
    • you have been allocated social housing.

    If you are in one of these situations, state the reason in the letter sent to your landlord, indicating the one-month notice period.

    Send the letter by registered post with recorded delivery or “lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception”. This is the only way to prove your letter has been received. Keep the receipt as proof of postage.

    If you are not in any of these situations, you can still try to negotiate a reduced notice period with your landlord if you want to leave quickly and don’t want to pay three months’ rent.

  • Take stock of all the contracts you currently have for your home and ask for them to be cancelled and/or transferred to your new address, including:

    • electricity
    • gas
    • internet
    • home insurance.

Changing address

  • In France, you can ask the postal service, called “La Poste”, to automatically redirect your post to your new address for a period of 6 or 12 months.

    You can apply for this online on this website.

    This service is subject to a fee of around 6 euros per month for a transfer of post in France and 15 euros per month for an international transfer.

  • Once you have your new address, you will need to inform the various public and private organisations that need your contact details, for example:

    • the organisation that manages your health insurance entitlements, known as the called the “Caisse d’assurance maladie
    • your private health insurance, known as the “mutuelle
    • the local government administration called the “préfecture” so they update your residence permit or “titre de séjour
    • the French tax service
    • the national support service for people out of work, called the “Pôle emploi”, if you are registered there
    • the body responsible for the payment of family allowances, called the “Caisse d’allocations familiales (Caf)
    • your children’s school
    • the administrative authority of your town or city, called the “mairie” if you are registered on the electoral roll
    • your bank
    • any other organisation you can think of.

    There is an online service that allows all public bodies to be notified in a single request.

Organising the move

Take stock of what you’re going to take with you and think about how you’re going to take it to your new home.

Using a company specialising in removals

If necessary, you can call on the services of a removal company called a “déménageur”.

The cost can vary significantly from company to company, depending on the volume of furniture and boxes to be transported. You can call several to compare their quotes.

Moving quickly

There are services that can enable you to move quickly with just your personal belongings in less than an hour, such as Supervan, which is available in most major cities in France.

Requesting financial assistance to move

Financial assistance is available for moving house, for example:

  • If you have limited financial resources, you may be able to receive financial assistance for housing called “aide du fonds de solidarité pour le logement”:
    • You must apply for this before moving.
    • It can cover removal costs as well as expenses related to your move, such as agency fees, the first rent, the sum requested from your arrival to cover any damage called the “dépôt de garantie”, or deposit, or even home insurance.
    • The conditions for this assistance depend on the region where you live. Contact the administrative authority of your department known as the “conseil général” for more information.
  • If you have at least three children and the youngest child is not yet two years old, you may be able to benefit from the moving allowance from the organisation that manages the payment of family allowances called the “Caisse d’allocations familiales (Caf)”.
  • If you are an employee in the private sector and your move brings you closer to work, you may receive professional mobility assistance
  • If you are a civil servant, you could benefit from partial cover of your moving costs. Contact the authority that employs you for more information.
  • If you are retired, specific help is available to cover the moving costs. Contact your pension fund to find out whether you can benefit from it.
  • If you have a disability, you could be entitled to financial support for your moving costs if you receive a form of assistance called “Prestation de Compensation Handicap (PCH)”. The request is made to the organisation responsible for supporting people with disabilities in your department called the “Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées”.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • ADIL” services are local agencies that inform people about their right to housing and the solutions that exist for them.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • An adviser will be able to inform you and assist you in your search for accommodation.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you will find the contact details of the agency in your area in this directory.
  • Social workers or “travailleurs sociaux” and “assistants sociaux” are professionals who support people in their administrative procedures and help them find solutions according to the difficulties they are faced with.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • You can make an appointment to receive personalised advice according to your situation and help you with the next steps, for example: applications for state financial assistance, applications for social housing, registration with the French unemployment office “Pôle emploi”, etc.
    • Available languages: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can request an appointment with a “travailleur social” with:
  • The "PIMMS Médiation" are organisations that inform, guide or support in administrative procedures in many areas: access to public services, access to health care, applications for state financial assistance, tax declarations, declarations to “Pôle Emploi”, etc.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can find a “PIMMS Médiation” near you in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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