There are five types of accommodation for international students
University halls of residence
Managed by the CROUS (the regional school and university centres), halls of residence boast a total of 150,000 student flats or rooms in France. These flats are good value, and are reserved for students with limited means and for international students. They can help you meet people and live near the place where you are studying.
Flats to rent
This is the most usual type of rental. You can either discuss directly with the landlord or go through an estate agent. If you decide on the second option, you will have to pay agency fees and a security deposit of one month’s rent (2 if the flat is furnished). Watch out for scammers! Some agencies sell lists of classified ads and promise they can find you a flat very quickly. It can cost you a huge amount!
Sharing a flat with other students can work out cheaper, and be more convenient and convivial. It is also more flexible if you are only staying a short time. But make sure your name is shown on the lease agreement. Without the landlord’s agreement you could be breaking the law.
A furnished room in someone’s house
Renting a room in someone’s house is an easy solution and prices are really good: only about €200 a month. It’s usually a furnished room where you can live actually in landlord’s house or flat. You should have access to part of the rest of the house: bathroom, kitchen and sometimes even the living room.
Furnished student residences
Student halls of residence have a number of advantages: your accommodation has plenty of services and is flexible about the length of your lease. It’s rather like a hotel, with wifi, furniture, a laundry service and a caretaker. You have everything you need and you can meet other students, all at a very moderate price.
What you will need to apply:
In any rental agreement, the lease sets out the tenant’s and landlord’s rights and obligations. In addition to the lease, you will need the following documents:
- A photocopy of your proof of identity
A photocopy of the last three pay slips of your guarantor and your last tax assessment
A bank account identification form
The amount of the deposit. This deposit is a guarantee, usually one month’s rent. The money will be returned when you leave if the apartment is in good condition.
The guarantor is a person who agrees in writing to pay your rent if you are in financial difficulty. This person must have a monthly income three times the amount of the rent. Students generally choose their parents, but this is difficult for international students. If you are an Erasmus+ student living in a university hall of residence managed by CROUS, your university will guarantee you.
Once the lease has been signed
The inventory is the last stage before you move into your new accommodation. This indicates the conditions of your flat on your arrival (the state of the walls, the furniture, etc.). Make sure that all defects are noted down. This will prove that you are leaving the flat in the state in which you found it on arrival, and enable you to recuperate your deposit.
When you are at last settled in, you must call certain utilities to obtain gas, electricity and water, and also to obtain a phone line and/or Internet access.
- GDF (gas): 0 810 60 20 20
EDF (electricity): 0 810 333 069
Veolia (water): 0 810 000 777
Orange (telephone): 1014
Housing benefit you are entitled to
Whatever the type of place you live in, you can obtain housing benefit as an international student from the European Union or if you have a residence permit valid for more than 4 months.
- APL - individual housing benefit: students must be renting a ‘state-endorsed’ accommodation. For students, a flat-rate minimum income threshold determines the amount of this benefit.
ALS - social housing benefit: this is allocated on a means test basis.
You can estimate the amount of benefit on the housing benefit (CAF) website:
The CAF has a direct phone line specially for students (0 810 29 2929) from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4.30 pm.
What to do before leaving your apartment:
- Send a registered letter to your landlord 1-3 months before you leave to warn him you are leaving (this may be different if you are in furnished accommodation and can change from one town to the next).
- Make sure you cancel your gas, electricity, water and phone/Internet contracts.
- Do the departure inventory. If everything is in order, you will recuperate your deposit.
- If you occupy accommodation on 1 January, you will have to pay housing tax. You are exempt from this if you lived in a CROUS residence or if you are renting a room in someone’s house.