Renting private housing in France

In France, renting private housing can be a relatively quick way to find accommodation. The conditions are set by the person who owns the property, with whom you must sign a rental agreement before moving in. Depending on the town or city you live in, it can take a little longer to find a home.

Verified by Ouarda Varda Sadoudi on 30/05/2022

Conditions

You can rent accommodation in France, regardless of your situation, even without residency rights.

However, each landlord can set their own conditions, in compliance with the rules imposed by law.

In areas with very high housing demand, conditions are generally more stringent. For example:

  • Some landlords only accept tenants who have a permanent employment contract, known as a “contrat à durée indéterminée (CDI)”.
  • Some landlords ask that your monthly income covers three times the rent.
  • Some landlords ask you to have a person called a guarantor or “garant” who agrees to pay your rent in the event that you can no longer pay it.

However, many landlords choose not to impose these conditions if they believe someone has sufficient resources to pay the rent.

When you make an appointment for a visit, ask the landlord or estate agent what conditions need to be met and which documents need to be included in your application.

Costs to be expected

Each month, you will have a sum of money to pay, the amount of which is set from the outset and includes:

  • the rent or “loyer”: the amount of which may be reviewed each year
  • the charges or “charges”: this could be, for example, cold water and certain costs shared within the building if you are in an apartment.

When you sign the lease or “bail”, you will have to pay:

  • The first month’s rent, charges included.
  • Any agency fees if you have gone through an estate agent.
  • An amount called a guarantee deposit or “dépôt de garantie” or “caution”, which the landlord will keep until you leave the property. According to the law, this amount cannot exceed one month’s rent without charges for an unfurnished home, and two months’ rent without charges for a furnished home. If any property damage has been caused in the apartment when you leave, the landlord may decide to keep some or all of this deposit.

Finding a guarantor or “garant

A guarantor or “garant” is someone who agrees to pay your rent in the event that you can no longer pay it.

This is often a condition requested by landlords, especially if the landlord does not have insurance for unpaid rent.

However, this is not required by all landlords, and it is also possible to find an apartment without a “garant”.

  • You can ask someone close to you to be your “garant”.

    This person must:

    • live in France, but is not obliged to be a French national
    • have stable and sufficient resources
    • provide you with documents proving their identity and their resources for your application.
  • You can ask a public organisation known as “Action Logement” to be guarantor or “garant”, free of charge, by applying for a “garantie Visale”.

    Conditions

    To benefit from this, you must:

    • Be under 31, regardless of your professional situation, including if you are a student.
    • Or, if you are 31 or older:
      • Be an employee of a private sector company and have a monthly salary less than or equal to 1,500 euros after having paid the various charges on your salary.
      • Be an employee in the private sector in the middle of changing jobs, with either: a permanent employment contract called a “contrat à durée indéterminée (CDI)” still during in its trial period, or a temporary contract called a “contrat à durée déterminée (CDD)” of at least six months, or have a document proving a promise of employment known as a “promesse d’embauche”, or be changing jobs.
    • Or, regardless of your age, you have signed a contract called a “bail mobilité”. This is a rental agreement between one and ten months signed between the landlord of a furnished home and certain tenants.

    How to proceed

    The application is made online on this website.

    You will first need to verify your eligibility and then create an account to submit the application with the requested documents.

  • If you do not have a “garant”, you can also purchase a paid guarantor service, e.g. GarantMe or Unkle.

    A fee is charged for this service. For example, you will have to pay a monthly contribution of around 3% or 4% of your rent.

How to proceed

  • A rental application should generally include the following documents:

    • a copy of your identity document; for example, your passport, your identity card, or your residence permit or “titre de séjour
    • documents providing evidence of your financial resources, for example:
      • if you are an employee: your last three payslips and/or your employment contract if you have just started work, as well as your last tax notice
      • if you are a student: your student card
      • if you are self-employed: your “extrait KBIS” dating from within the last three months, your last company financial report and/or a certificate from your accountant for the current year
      • if you receive any kind of financial assistance: documents justifying the funds you receive
      • if you are retired: your last three pension statements
    • your bank account certificate, or “relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB)
    • a copy of an identity document for your “garant” if you have one
    • documents proving the financial resources of your “garant” if you have one.

    You may also be asked to include documents relating to your last home:

    • if you were a tenant: your last three rent receipts
    • if you lived in a property you owned: your last property tax and your last three electricity bills
    • if you were staying somewhere free of charge: a certificate of accommodation, or “attestation d'hébergement’, from the person you were staying with, a copy of their identity document, and the last three electricity bills for their home.

    If your documents are not in French, you may be asked for a translation.

  • Renting from private individuals

    A home can be rented directly from the landlord.

    In general, this may mean they will have more flexible and less stringent conditions. You can negotiate directly with the landlord if you do not fully meet the conditions.

    Many sites and applications list available vacancies by location, such as:

    • Pap”, a rental site for private individuals, which means that no property agency fees need to be paid
    • Leboncoin”, where many individuals post their ads
    • Appartager”, which offers apartments to share with others already in the home.

    Going through an estate agent

    It is also possible to go through an estate agent, either by applying for online ads or by visiting an agency near you.

    You will have to pay fees for this service.

    To search for agency ads online, you can use services such as:

    • SeLoger”, which consolidates ads from different estate agents
    • Leboncoin”, where many agencies post their ads.
  • It is recommended that you prepare your application in advance with copies of the various documents requested, and bring it with you during your viewings so that you can submit it immediately, particularly in the most in-demand areas.

    When you have found a home that suits you, submit your application with copies of the documents requested.

  • If your application is accepted, you will then have to sign the lease called the “bail”.

    You will make the first payments at the time of signing.

  • As a tenant, you are required by French law to take out insurance for your home, known as “assurance habitation”, before moving in.

    You can request quotes from multiple insurance companies before choosing the right one for you.

    You will have to provide the document supplied by your insurance company, called an “attestation”, to your landlord or estate agency before you collect the keys to the property.

  • When you are given the keys to the home, you will make a visit to complete an entry condition report or “état des lieux” which will allow you to describe in detail the condition and state of the property in a document.

    This document is very important: you will need it when you leave the property to recover the sum you paid on arrival, known as the “dépôt de garantie”, or deposit.

  • Before moving in, remember to start contracts with service providers so you have access to the following services as soon as you move in:

    • Electricity
    • Gas
    • Internet and telephone.

What to do if you experience discrimination

Estate agents and private landlords not have the right to refuse an application on the basis of certain discriminatory criteria, such as your origin, health, sexual orientation or religion.

If you think that you have received less favourable treatment in your search for accommodation due to an aspect of discrimination, there are solutions to assert your rights.

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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