Choosing your accommodation

Should you choose a private rental, or go through an agency?

The first decision you must make when looking for accommodation is whether to look through an agency, which offers a wide selection of options, but whose processing fees are sometimes excessive? Or should you look more closely at private housing offers offered by private individuals?

The important thing is to be wary of any proposals that are either too expensive (for example, a studio apartment at €800 per month is far too expensive for the city of Lyon), or offers which are too cheap, which could be a scam. Sometimes, it is much easier to go through an agency. However, this will increase your costs, and some practices may be fraudulent: you should never pay to get a list of available apartments, this practice is illegal!

You should consider what you want, your budget, and the availability of apartments.


Apartment-sharing allows several unrelated tenants to live together. It has many advantages, especially in terms of living expenses.The rental fees, housing tax, deposit and even food shopping costs can be shared.However, you must be prepared to live with others. There are of course many benefits to living together, but everyone is also responsible and must share expenses.

You can find examples of apartment-sharing offers on the sites or

Do not hesitate to post a request on your universities’ Facebook groups!

Public or private student housing

The Crous is a public service which offers low-rent student housing, amongst other things.A room of 9 m² (100 sq. ft.) costs approximately €170 per month, all-inclusive; with a shared bathroom and kitchen.Keep in mind that the Crous accommodations are in high demand, and applications are made during the month of April preceding the start of the academic year.

A number of private student housing offers are available, with higher rents. Their advantage is that the studio apartments are often relatively new and contain everything you need.

The benefit of student accommodation is being in the heart of a student community, while having your own private space!

Solidarity housing

Apartment-sharing is for all ages! Several organizations invite students to try “intergenerational housing”, where you rent an unoccupied room in a senior citizen's home.Why? Cheaper rent and a beautiful living and sharing experience. Find out more on the organization's website Le Pari Solidaire or in our contacts list (see below).

Understanding the procedures / advice

Guarantors VISALE

To secure an apartment, you will need one or more guarantors – the guarantor agrees to pay your rent in the event that you are unable to pay. This is an additional guarantee for the landlord.

VISALE is a guarantee granted to the tenant by Action Logement, which will pay the rent and all rental expenses related to the main residence in the event that the tenant is unable to pay. This scheme makes it easier to access new accommodation, by reassuring the landlord.It replaces the CLE (Student Rental Caution) which was previously managed by the Crous and had a similar purpose.

With this guarantee, tenants can secure a home more easily by reassuring their future landlord. It is a simple, fast and free online service.To find out if you are eligible and to apply for a VISALE, visit the website

Entering an apartment: deposit and inventory

Upon entering an apartment, each tenant must pay a deposit, equivalent to one month's rent. This amount is retained until the end of the lease and may be used if the accommodation has been damaged by the tenant. If this is not the case, it will be returned to the tenant within three months of leaving the accommodation.

It is therefore extremely important to pay attention to the inventory when you enter the apartment: before taking up occupancy, you will conduct a survey with a professional, in order to record the accommodation’s existing wear and tear. Pay close attention, as the initial inventory is usually done rather quickly, whereas the exit inventory is extremely thorough, and each defect/fault will be recorded. Therefore, it is important to make a note of all the things that seem unusual to you, no matter how small, and to record even the most minor of faults. Bring a friend or trusted person with you if you need to!

Please note that when taking up occupancy, you have several weeks to amend the inventory, if you notice any other abnormalities at the beginning of your tenancy.

Housing tax

Housing tax is a tax paid to the city. It is to be paid in November and is applicable to all the tenants who occupied the accommodation as of January 1 for that year, even if they have relocated during that year. Its amount is approximately one month's rent, but may vary depending on your accommodation and its environment, i.e. the size of the apartment, its proximity to public transport, amenities, etc. Remember to set some money aside on a regular basis in anticipation.

Home insurance

Similar to your health, it is imperative that you insure your home against various risks (weather, water damage, etc.). On average, this insurance costs less than one hundred Euros per year, and can be taken out with different organizations: private insurance, banks etc.

Tenants' rights

Renting an apartment comes with responsibilities – paying the rent on time, maintaining the apartment, not causing damage, respecting neighbors – but it also comes with rights, which are sometimes overlooked. For any questions or disputes concerning your accommodation or interactions with your landlord/agency, you can get in touch with the ADIL, an organization of lawyers who will guide you and answer your questions for free.

Housing benefits: APL – Caf

The Family Allowances Office (Caf) is the organization which issues the A.P.L.(Personal Housing Allowance).This is the main type of aid offered to tenants in order to help them pay their rent.Its amount is calculated based on your financial resources, your apartment’s rental fees, its size and its location.

You can apply for an allowance online, on the website.

It is important to note that the first allowance installment will not be paid immediately; you will have to wait one full month after taking up occupancy.For example, if you move in on September 15, you will have to wait until early November to receive your A.P.L., since you will have to prove one full month of occupancy; in this case, the month of October.