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Renting in France

Renting in France may be quite different from renting in your home country. Here are a few concepts, as well as a short glossary, to help you understand the basics and allow you to look for accommodation on your own, if that is what you wish to do.


The guarantor is someone who guarantees that your rent will be paid, as agreed upon in the lease. Many private landlords require students to provide a guarantor, usually someone living in Europe, with a European bank account. The guarantor must fill out a small file providing financial guarantees that they can pay your rent in your place, if you do not pay.


The owner may require payment of a security deposit to cover possible neglect by the tenant (damage, lack of cleaning, etc.).

The deposit amount is similar to a month’s rent, and its restitution is governed by law.

The deposit should be reimbursed 3 months after the tenant’s departure. The amount reimbursed will depend on the state that the room or apartment are left in.

International students must have a French bank account to facilitate the restitution of this amount.


The lease may be signed for a long period of time, such as a few years, but the tenant may break it at any time by sending a notice of departure to their landlord.

The tenant must pay each full month of rent that they start in their room or studio. For example, if you move in mid January, you still owe the landlord a full month’s rent for the month of January.

Some landlords may be flexible. You may try to negotiate a partial reimbursement if you arrive or leave your accommodation mid-month.


Depending on the type of accommodation chosen, some formalities must be carried out.

Private landlords will surely be less demanding, but residence halls require quite a lot of documents from students, such as: photographs, insurance for the accommodation (to be provided when receiving the keys), proof of payment, French banking details, signed copy of lease for accommodation, signed copy of inventory of fixtures and fittings on entry, school attendance certificate. If these obligations are not respected, NEOMA BS cannot be held responsible and cannot intervene in any way.

Residence staff is also present and helpful in everyday formalities, such as the opening of an electricity or water account, if needed.


The rental risk insurance is mandatory when renting accommodation in France. Indeed, you are required to provide proof of housing insurance to the landlord as soon as you move in. This mandatory insurance covers damage such as fire, water or robbery to the room or apartment.

Depending on the place you choose to live, your insurance may be included in the rent, or may have to be purchased separately.

Students renting housing provided by NEOMA BS through the housing application, will be asked to sign up for housing insurance online before your arrival. More information will be provided in due time.


The housing allowance, called the CAF (from the organism that provides it, the Caisse d’allocations familiales) covers about 20% of the cost of rent (not including utilities).

You are eligible if you are an EU resident or a non-European student with a long-stay Visa D with the mention CESEDA.

You will receive the allowance after your stay in France, or at the end of the academic year, since the money is sent to the residence or landlord and wired to students along with the housing deposit within 3 months of your departure from residence.
International students must have a French bank account to facilitate the restitution of this amount.

Please note that NEOMA BS has no influence on the allocation of the housing allowance, and can not guarantee that you will receive it, even if you are eligible.

Only the CAF can make such a decision.

NEOMA BS will provide a helpful guide upon your arrival, for all those who wish to apply.

Glossary of housing terms

  • ASSURANCE HABITATION / HOUSING INSURANCE: mandatory by French law, this insurance covers damage in the accommodation, such as water damage made by a leak.
  • BAIL / LEASE: a contract by which the landlord conveys a housing unit to another for a specified time, in return for a periodic payment (rent).
  • BAILLEUR / LANDLORD: owner of a housing unit.
  • CAISSE D’ALLOCATIONS FAMILIALES (CAF): French national organization whose role is to help people pay their rent.
  • CAUTION OU DÉPÔT DE GARANTIE / SECURITY DEPOSIT: an amount corresponding to 1 or 2 months’ rent paid to the landlord upon signature of the lease as a guarantee ; returned within 2 or 3 months after departure from housing unit.
  • CAUTION SOLIDAIRE OU GARANT / JOINT AND SEVERAL SURETY OR GUARANTOR: the person or people who guarantee the payment of your rent. They must reside in France or in the European Union.
  • CHARGES LOCATIVES / RENTAL FEES: collective costs for whole apartment building (ex. maintenance of common areas, operating costs of lift, sometimes water, heating or tax on furnished accommodation).
  • CHARGES COMPRISES (CC): indicates that rental fees are included in the rent (may not include electricity or gas).
  • CENTRE REGIONAL DES OEUVRES UNIVERSITAIRES ET SCOLAIRES (CROUS): French national organization dealing with student accommodation, student cafeterias, etc.
  • F1 (or T1): apartment with kitchen, bathroom and 1 room (living room and bedroom in one)
  • F2 (or T2): apartment with kitchen, bathroom, 1 living room and 1 bedroom
  • F3 (or T3): apartment with kitchen, bathroom, 1 living room and 2 bedrooms
  • HABITATION A LOYER MODERE (HLM): rent-controlled social housing
  • LOYER / RENT: monthly payment for the rental of your accommodation (tip: ask if rental fees are included in rent).
  • PRÉAVIS / NOTICE OF DEPARTURE: a letter sent by registered mail (lettre recommandée) to landlord to warn him/her of your departure from the accommodation (must be sent 1 to 3 months before departure – check your lease for details).
  • RIB: slip provided by your bank with your French bank account details.
  • TAXE D’HABITATION / TAX ON FURNISHED ACCOMMODATIONS: tax applied to any person living in a housing unit, on the accommodation occupied (takes into account size, location of accommodation, etc.). CROUS: university housing is exempt from this tax.
  • TTC: indicates that tax is included in the price.