Understanding French Housing Terms
As you look for housing in France, you will encounter certain formalities which may seem unfamiliar at first. Here is a glossary to help you understand the key concepts of housing in France.
Acte de caution - Guarantor form
The guarantor form is a written document which involves three parties: the tenant (who has to pay the rent), the lessor (the Real Estate agency or the landlord) and the guarantor. This document states that the guarantor assumes liability if the tenant fails to fulfill his/her tenancy obligations. Please note that if you find an apartment through Science Accueil, you will not need a guarantor.
Assurance habitation - Household insurance
Real Estate agencies or landlords ask tenants for a household insurance certificate. It is compulsory, regardless of how long the tenant stays in the apartment. If the tenant has not taken out insurance, the Real Estate agency or the landlord may terminate the lease at any moment. You can find an insurance company in the Pages Jaunes. Please note that the French insurance company MAIF is used to working with CEA employees.
Bail or contrat de location - Lease
The lease is a contract that must be signed by the landlord or Real Estate agency and the tenant. If you sign the lease with the landlord, you will not have to pay extra fees. However, if you found the apartment through a Real Estate agency, you will need to pay agency fees when you sign the lease. The maximum legal amount equals one month of rent.
Bailleur - Lessor or landlord
A person who owns a property which he/she rents to a tenant, in exchange for a specified amount of money, and for a specified duration.
Caution - Guarantor
The guarantor is a relative or a friend who ensures payment if the tenant is unable to pay the rent. In most cases, landlords ask for a guarantor who lives in France.
Dépôt de garantie - Security deposit
The owner is entitled to ask for a security deposit. It is the landlord’s monetary guarantee if the tenant defaults on the lease (property damage or rent default). The amount of the security deposit equals about one month of rent. Please note that if you found an apartment through Science Accueil, you will not need to pay a security deposit.
Etat des lieux - Initial inventory
When you move in, you must establish the initial inventory together with the landlord or Real Estate agent. The document details the overall condition of the apartment (cleanliness, wallpaper, floor, bathrooms, etc.). Make sure to write every detail carefully and to check everything as it will be compared to the exit inventory. If you fail to write a specific detail in the inventory, or if you damaged the apartment, the landlord may decide to keep part or all of your security deposit when you move out.
Garant - Guarantor
Locataire - Tenant
A person who occupies real property owned by another, based upon an agreement between the person and the landlord, in exchange for rental payments.
You may live in a “government-regulated” apartment (logement conventionné) which means your landlord has previously signed a convention with the French government. By this agreement, the landlord promises to rent his apartment for the whole duration of the agreement with a maximum authorized rent. In compensation, the French government pays a part of the tenants’ rents by means of the allowance called “aide personnalisée au logement (APL)”.
Loyer - Rent
The amount of money you are requested to pay every month to occupy the apartment.
Most common French housing expressions and abbreviations
|AL, à louer||for rent|
|APL or ALS||state financial assistance for accommodation|
|Agence immobilière||Real Estate agency|
|asc., ascenseur||lift, elevator|
|assurance habitation||household insurance|
|AV, à vendre||for sale|
|bail||lease, rental contract|
|CAF, Caisse d’Allocations Familiales||French Family Allowance Fund|
|CC, charges comprises||rent including community and certain utility expenses|
|charges||community and certain utility expenses|
|chauffage central||central heating|
|cuisine équipée||fitted kitchen (please note that a fitted kitchen usually means built-in counters, cabinets and a sink and that you may still need to supply the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the stove, etc.)|
|dépôt de garantie||deposit|
|double vitrage||double-glazed windows|
|durée du contrat||rental period|
|état des lieux||initial and final inventories|
|FAI, frais d’agence inclus||includes agency fees|
|gge, garage||covered parking|
|haut standing||high quality|
|lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception||registered letter with acknowledgement of reception|
|ling., lingerie||linen room|
|mansarde||usually a small under-roof service room|
|proche, prox||close to|
|responsabilité civile||third-party liability|
|salle à manger||dining room|
|sdb, salle de bains||bathroom|
|studette||little studio or service room|
|taxe d’habitation||local taxes|
|TBE, très bon état||good condition|
Find more information about housing in the Euraxess Housing Guide.