9 Step Guide to Find Student Accommodation in France

One of the final steps towards realising your dream of studying in France is finding student accommodation. It is no exaggeration to say that finding accommodation in France is the most difficult step of your journey, even Campus France mentions the same. So to make this a seamless process for you, in this article we tell you everything you need to know to book your accommodation in France.

Here’s what we will cover in this article.

  1. Overview of student accommodation in France
  2. Types of accommodation available for students
  3. Where to live during your stay?
  4. Gathering your Documents
  5. Finding the guarantor
  6. Booking platforms and agencies
  7. Scams to beware of
  8. What to expect in French rental agreement?
  9. Acknowledge condition and inventory of the property

1. Overview of student accommodation in France

France is known for its culture and prestigious education systems in the world, which is of no surprise considering the fact that they are one of the few countries which heavily invest in research and education. Which is why 35 of their universities are included in QS World university ranking 2019. France is the fourth most popular country in the world for international students, around 300,000 international students are enrolling in French higher education every year. It is due to this disproportionate influx of students finding accomodation is a challenge.

Finding accommodation in France is complicated as it is and if you are an international student  from outside the European Union  countries, it just gets a lot harder. As you know it is mandatory for international students to book an accommodation for a minimum of 3 months to even apply for VISA/before coming to France. The booking process is very complicated due to the lack of information available online on documents required, booking charges, high demand for accommodation and especially signing the contract even before you have  physically seen the apartment.

The booking process is complicated but the good thing is there are several options available for students. You can choose anything from accommodation provided by college, simply rent an complete apartment with other students or your friends, to staying with a local family. So let’s get into the details of every step of finding your accommodation.  

2. Types accommodation available for students

To decide what type of accommodation you need, you need to ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want to live. If you like to socialise, party, and make new friends from different countries and cultures then student residence is the perfect option for you. Alternatively, if you like to live alone, live independently, read books, and cook only for yourself then renting an studio apartment would be the best option. There are many advantages of living in student residences as well as staying alone. You need to decide which works better for you. There are few more options as well which are as following -

 

3. Where to live during your stay?  

Deciding where to live is a confusing task for international students due to lack of information. It is important to make the decision carefully as where you live has an indirect effect on your studies.  First you need to decide whether to live on campus or off campus. Both have its pros and cons so we make a list of the following points to help you decide which is more suitable for you.

4. Gather your documents  

Before you start searching for your accommodation it is important to gather all the documents, which will be required to book it. Documents required depends on the type of accommodation and owner’s requirements, but typically you would need the copies of the following documents ready -

5. Finding the guarantor

Guarantor is a third party, who is ready to take the responsibility of you in case you are not able to pay your rent or there is huge damage to the apartment which you will not be able to pay. The guarantor has to have income 3 to 4 times of the rent amount. Also, the Guarantor should be from France for matters of convenience. It is difficult for international students to find a guarantor due to these conditions as they hardly know anyone in the country as they are going for the first time.

If you don’t know anyone who can be your guarantor, you have other options where an organization can be your guarantor. Visale is one option provided by French government. Visale acts as your guarantor for free but it works for very limited options. Private organizations such as Garantme also provide guarantor services but it costs you around 3 to 4 % of your rent per month. There are some more options as well, to get detailed information see our article on How to find guarantor at minimum cost?

6. Booking platforms and agencies

This is where it gets complicated. First thing you need to do is ask the staff of your educational institute to assist in finding accommodation. Some institutes keep a set of accommodations or provide a list of contacts of landlords/house providers. If they don’t do not worry as you have several options to find accommodation which are as follows -

The only downside to CROUS is getting accommodation is very difficult. Due to very limited accomodations available it gets booked very quickly. There are selected CROUS residences per educational area. So while applying for it, make sure you apply for residence affiliated with your university.

 

Following websites will be helpful for renting an apartment from private landlords without paying any agency fees -

             

            The real estate agencies which help you find apartment according to your                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

            requirements are as following -

Company websites offering Homestay

Scams to beware of

Unfortunately, we have come across many cases where students get scammed in the process of finding accommodation and lose a big amount of money. Scammers try to take the advantage of international students desperate to book accommodation. Scammers use the fact of high demand for accommodation and lack of information about the market to cheat you.  So it is our responsibility to inform you about how to identify and avoid scams during the accommodation booking process.

Most of the scams happen in the online accommodation booking process due to less risk of getting caught. Scammers Advertise fake apartments and try to lure you into sending money online. So watch out for following commonly used tricks -

                                             

What to expect in French rental agreement?

           

Before signing the lease agreement you should be aware of several important points to avoid any problems in the future. The lease agreement, commonly called Bail and formally called contrat de location. The lease agreement states terms and conditions agreed by the tenant and the landlord of rent and rental amount.

Most of the landlords will use the standard lease agreement. Some might write the lease agreement by themselves. So carefully read the terms and conditions mentioned on the lease agreement and ensure everything is clear. As the contracts will be in French take your time to understand it.

Tenants and landlords both need to sign the lease agreement. And both should have a copy of it. The standard lease agreement should include following things -

House insurance

In France, it is also mandatory by law for tenants to have house insurance. The landlord has the right by law to ask for house insurance. It is for the safety of both parties. The cost of house insurance is low and some of the agencies provide house insurance for free. The average cost of house insurance in France is 365  and for an apartment it is considerably lower at 225 .

Acknowledge the condition and inventory of the property

Once you sign the lease agreement, the most important thing you need to do is write and sign the condition and inventory document (État des lieux) with your landlord at the time of check-in. Best way to ensure you and your landlord are in agreement with the condition of your accommodation is to go through each and every single thing provided with accommodation.

The same process will be repeated at the time of check-out to make sure there is no damage during your stay. If there is anything missing or damaged you will be held responsible for it and money will be deducted from your deposit. We have come across some cases where landlords try to overcharge tenants when they leave so it is best to have legal documents to avoid such incidents.