Housing and administrative procedures

The different solutions for finding housing

Finding housing can be complicated for many international students. There are several ways to find housing, all with their advantages and, sometimes, their disadvantages.

There are two types of student housing in France:

  1. Residences: with very competitive rents and furnished rooms, they are very popular with students. Check out our dedicated page to learn more aboutresidences for international students.
  2. Private housing stock includes all housing owned by private individuals or private landlords : apartments, studios... It is in these accommodations that you can share with other students or "live in" by renting a room in an apartment. Check out our dedicated page to learn more about private housing opportunities.

Find your housing with Studapart, the official housing partner of Aix-Marseille University.

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The administrative steps

Renting a property in France also requires many administrative steps. Let's see together what are the main steps of this process and the documents that are usually requested.

Step 1: Constitute your file
Step 2: Sign the lease or rental agreement
Step 3: Do the inventory of fixtures
Step 4: Subscribe to home insurance
Step 5: Take out a gas and/or electricity subscription
Step 6: Apply for housing assistance

Create your application

The list of documents will vary depending on the type of housing and the requirements of your future landlord, but in general, you will need to provide copies of the following documents:

  • Your identification document,
  • Your residence permit (VLS-TS, carte de séjour) if you came to France with a visa,
  • Your student card or school certificate for the current year,
  • A letter from your guarantor, his ID, his last 3 pay slips, his last tax form.

Find a guarantor 

A guarantor is a person who stands surety for you. This means that he or she agrees to pay your rent once you are no longer able to do so.
In France, almost all landlords, whether you are French or foreign, will ask you for a guarantor. It is a way for them to ensure that they will receive the rent, no matter what.

Your guarantor must be French (he or she must present his or her pay slips and tax form). If no one can vouch for you (be your guarantor), fortunately, other solutions exist. 

  • The VISALE scheme, for example, is a free rental deposit set up by the government that you can sign up for To make it easier for you to find housing in France, we recommend that you take the VISALE steps even before you arrive in France. It is not necessary to know your address in France to obtain your VISALE eligibility certificate (called "VISALE visa").
  • The university's housing partner STUDAPART can also act as a guarantor for you for the duration of your rental. For more information write to: booking@studapart.com

The signing of the lease or rental agreement

The lease agreement or rental agreement is the document that you and your future landlord will sign in order to define the conditions under which you will have the right to occupy the accommodation. Most of the time, the information below appears in the contract :

  • The amount of rent and charges (charges are fixed monthly fees including trash pickup, cold water, maintenance of common areas... It does not include electricity, hot water or your internet access.)
  • The amount of the deposit (the deposit). The security deposit is the amount you will pay to your landlord in addition to the first rent to cover any damage you may make to their accommodation. It is equivalent to one month's rent and cannot be more. This sum is legally reimbursed to you in its entirety at the time of your departure and after an inventory of fixtures if you return the accommodation in its original condition.
  • The length of the notice of departure. Generally equivalent to one month, this is the period within which you must notify your landlord of your departure. As an example, for a departure on July 1, you will have to send your notice of departure (by registered mail with return receipt no later than June 1).

When you sign your lease, you will be asked to pay the first month's rent as well as the deposit. So plan on having enough money to pay the equivalent of two months' rent at once.

The inventory of fixtures

Before you can move in and once your lease is signed, you will have one last step left: making the inventory of fixtures of your home. Very important, this is the moment when you will have to construct with your landlord the state of the accommodation : be vigilant and attentive to all the details when you review the rooms and fittings (cupboards, sanitary facilities, etc.). Do not hesitate to point out and make note on the inventory of fixtures all the small dysfunctions before signing it. It is on this same document that your landlord will base himself to make your inventory of fixtures of exit and verify the state in which you return his housing. 

Home insurance  

Whatever type of accommodation you choose, you will have the legal obligation to take out a home insurance policy covering water damage, fire and theft and vandalism.

This is insurance that covers the premises, their contents (equipment) and sometimes the civil liability of its occupants. You can contact the student mutual insurance company Heyme, the housing service of the CROUS or your bank (from 1 to 30 € approximately / month for a room in a university residence).

In the case of roommates, either all tenants have the same insurance (all names are listed on the same insurance contract), or each tenant subscribes to their own home insurance.

Liability insurance

Just like homeowners insurance, liability insurance is mandatory and covers all bodily injury and property damage caused by you to another person during an accident.

The gas or electricity subscription 

If you are renting your own apartment in the private park, you will need to take out an electricity and/or gas subscription. There are several energy suppliers in France, so don't hesitate to compare their offers.
If you rent a room in a university residence, in general, the price of electricity and gas is already included in your rent and you will not have to take an additional subscription.

Housing aid from the CAF 

Students can receive financial aid for housing (APL / ALS) by making an application for housing allowance with the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF)by Internet. The amount of aid varies according to the amount of rent and the student's status. 
Everything is done on the internet, do not hesitate to make a online simulation to see if you qualify and how much you could receive each month.