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In order to find an accommodation, you’d better be familiar with the following steps of renting process & french expressions :

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What you need to know : when you're visiting an apartment

The documents to prepare for the owner :

  • photocopy on both sides of your identity card and that of your «garant» (surety - see below)
  • photocopy of the last three pay rolls of your «garant» (or yours, if you work) and/or your scholarship certificate
  • your garant’s proof of residence
  • particulars of your bank account (RIB) We advise you to prepare your file before coming to France.

Le “garant”, also called “engagement de caution solidaire” (= the surety) :

The «garant» is the person who will pay for your rent if you are no longer able to do it yourself

What you need to know : when you're moving in

Le «loyer» et les «charges» (the rent and expenses) :
Rental expenses («charges») are added to the amount of the rent. They are used to pay for the maintenance of the building and garbage collection.

Le «contrat de bail» (the lease contract) :
Before moving in, you have to sign the «contrat de bail» (lease contract) which is drafted by Land Lord/Land Lady. It specifies the amount of the rent, the duration of the lease (rental duration), the conditions of payment of the rent etc

La “caution”, also called “depot de garantie” (the safety deposit) :
At the moment of signing the contract and before giving you the keys, the owner will certainly ask you to pay a safety deposit amounting to one month rent. This sum will be given back to you when you leave the apartment once the owner has checked that the place is in good condition. At the same time if all goes well, you will also receive the deposit.

“L’état des lieux d’entrée” (the inventory at the entrance):
It’s an inventory of fixtures with you : you will mention together the state of repair of the apartment (stains on the walls, tiling in bad repair etc…)

“L’assurance habitation” (Householder comprehensive insurance policy) :
You must give your owner a householder insurance certificate. The Student Housing Office (21 rue du Val de Grâce in the 5th district), offers an insurance for 10 euros per year. Students Health Insurance Companies (LMDE and SMEREP) also offer insurance policies at very interesting prices.

Telephone and electricity :
At your arrival, you must ask EDF Electricité de France - (or another company) to put the electric meter in operation and France Telecom (or another company) to open your phone line.

What you need to know : before your departure

Le “préavis de depart” (Advance notice) :
Before leaving your housing, you must give your owner at least three months notice (expect for furnished flats where it’s one month) and inform him of your departure by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

Inventory at the moment of departure (“état des lieux de sortie”) and refunding of the deposit (“caution”) :
It’s an inventory of fixtures. The owner will compare the inventory at the entrance and the inventory when you leave.If the housing has not been damaged, you can have back your deposit paid.


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My son who is studying in France is inquiring if I can be his "garant" ...I am living outside of France. Can I still be his "Garant"?

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