Searching on Your Own & Housing Resources

The Parisian housing market can be difficult to navigate for international students; there is much higher demand than availability. Tenant rights are also afforded great protection in France, which means that landlords can be extremely selective when choosing a tenant. There are, however, a variety of resources available to both international students and residents and an increasing number of options for securing rentals in Paris. While the Housing Office is not able to intervene directly in students’ independent or external searches, we remain available to provide advice and insight on the search process, review leases with students, discuss best practices, and connect students to resources should they have a housing issue.

Housing Search

The most important part of looking for apartment rentals in Paris is the dossier (file) landlords and agents expect you to have. The dossier needs to include a copy of your passport, visa, student enrollment certificate and financial guarantor. In France, tenants need to have a French financial guarantor (meaning a person who pays taxes in France) who agrees to be financially responsible for your rent if you do not pay it; they often have to show a salary equivalent to three times the rent. As most of our students are international, they often obtain financial guarantors either through their bank or through third-party providers (see resources below).

There are a variety of agencies and websites that you can use to start your apartment search. The more traditional French websites, used by both French agencies and landlords directly, will be more rigid in requiring the typical French dossier – it may be difficult for a student without a French guarantor to secure housing through those resources. Student-centered housing search engines may have options that cater more to international students and accept guarantor services. Finally, a few websites and services cater specifically to international residents and expats, and may often accept international guarantors, though they offer more expensive options as a result.

As you review offers, please be cautious and vigilant before responding to a listing. If the offer looks too good to be true, it usually is. Below are some general tips to avoid scammers:

  • You should not make any payment before having an actual rental agreement with the landlord or agency. Listings that require a security deposit or rent payment before accepting your application (or to schedule a visit) are typically scams.
  • It is not unusual for agencies or landlords to require documentation (guarantor salary slips, tax revenues, proof of previous rent payments, etc.) to screen applicants before scheduling a visit. It is entirely your decision, however, which listings you feel comfortable responding to with paperwork and which you do not. Be selective when sending your dossier to landlords and agencies.
  • Large and luxurious apartments available in the center of Paris for very low rent are almost always scams. The reality is that the Parisian housing market is an expensive one, and any legal gems you may find will also be found by other applicants looking for housing, most of whom will likely have a French guarantor and thus a preferable profile to landlords or agencies.
  • Some agencies or landlords may ask you to “block” an amount equivalent to a few months’ rent in your bank account as a substitute to having a French guarantor, or to pay that sum in advance. This is not advisable, especially if you are not familiar with the agency or landlord.
List of Agencies

Please note that none of these agencies are affiliated with the housing office or with the American University of Paris. This is a list of resources that students have used in the past and recommended to their peers. AUP and the housing office cannot make any guarantees regarding the services of the agencies listed below.

International and Student-Centered Agencies
Traditional French Websites

These sources will provide you with a range of options, locations and prices, but as these are public websites you need to be careful with the reliability of the apartment listings. The best way to go about this is to never pay a deposit prior to visiting an apartment and signing a lease.

The Rental


Most lease agreements (bail) for furnished apartments have a duration of nine months to one year; however, the contract can be terminated with one month's notice given in writing and sent by registered mail. Please be sure to check your lease as the landlord may require advance notice of up to three months. 

The standard security deposit (caution) consists of one month’s rent which, by law, may be returned up to two months after the student's departure. Under some circumstances, the landlord may request a deposit equivalent to two month’s rent. When you move in (and out), an inventory meeting (état des lieux) must be scheduled and a form filled out and signed by the student and landlord. The inventory is for your mutual protection and will be used to determine if any damages will be deducted from your security deposit upon departure.

Be sure to review all the clauses of your lease before signing it: there are standards set by French law that cannot be circumvented by a lease, even one signed by both parties. While we are not able to offer legal expertise, please feel free to reach out to the Housing Office should you wish for us to review the lease, and flag any potential concerns that may require follow-up on your part.


It is your responsibility, as a tenant, to ensure that maintenance issues threatening the integrity of the accommodation are properly flagged to the landlord or to the managing agency. The resolution of those maintenance issues will depend on the type of rental (furnished or unfurnished) and insurance you have. Typically, issues that arise after move-in such as clogged drains, damaged furniture or malfunctioning appliances will be the responsibility of the tenant. Leaks resulting from structural issues and electrical or plumbing problems not resulting from misuse will be the responsibility of the landlord. In most cases, however, tenants must work to provide access for necessary interventions, even if they are coordinated and paid for by the landlord. You will find more details about tenant and landlord responsibilities in our Housing Resources section.


Upon moving out, you should always schedule a walkthrough with your landlord to review the inventory and condition of the apartment. Both parties need to sign the walkthrough: the signature signifies that you are both in agreement about the details listed, and that any damages or missing inventory are to be deducted from your security deposit.

In France, landlords have two months following the move-out date to assess repairs (based on the damages or missing inventory agreed upon during your walkthrough), schedule interventions, and secure the bills. The final amount deducted from your deposit should be equal to the cost of the repairs and purchases required – it always good practice to ask for official bills documenting those repairs.

Housing Resources

Guarantor Services
  • Garantme: Students can apply online and receive a certificate within 24 hours – that certificate will attest that the student is using the service as an alternative guarantor for their housing search and rental.
  • Visale: Visale is a free government guarantor service for renters between 18 and 30 years old. Please note that this resource is in French.
Housing Insurance

In France, it is a legal requirement to subscribe to home insurance that covers you from potential damages that can happen during your stay, such as leaks, break ins and robberies, fire etc. Housing insurance can be provided by numerous companies, including ACSAxaADH or StudyAssur

For more information, please see the instructional video below on how to obtain student housing insurance by ACS:



If you are interested in applying for the CAF, and if you have signed a lease and your apartment is eligible, please book an appointment with the Housing Office. The CAF is a governmental subsidy program that offers housing benefits called Aide personalisee au logement (APL). For a full-time student with no income, you can receive €200 to €300 per month from the CAF. Nonetheless, it is important that you do not count on the CAF to pay your rent, as the process is quite lengthy; though the subsidy is applied retroactively, you will likely not start receiving it until well into your rental period

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