Housing allowance in France: CAF, APL and ALS
What is it?
Life can get pricey when you’re a student. Especially when it comes to paying rent! There are ways of alleviating the load, though. The CAF’s housing allowances are one of them.
There are 3 types of allowances:
the APL, standing for “Aide Personnalisée au Logement” (personalized housing welfare)
the ALS, standing for “Allocation de Logement Sociale” (social housing welfare)
and the ALF, standing for “Allocation de logement familiale” (domestic housing welfare).
The most common one is the APL, reaching up to €398/month. Usually, the allowance is paid directly to your lessor who then reduces your rent, but it can also be transferred to your bank account.
Am I eligible for benefiting from CAF allowances?
Whether you live in private or public housing, in a flatshare or sublease, or in a student residence, you can request the allowance as long as your income doesn’t exceed a certain amount. Also, your lessor can’t be a member of your family.
Your accommodation must be government-regulated for you to get the APL. Whether it is or not is written on your lease agreement.
The 3 allowances can’t be combined. Start by checking whether you’re eligible for the APL. If you are not, refer to the ALS. The ALS is paid when you don’t qualify for the APL.
To check which type of allowance your situation applies to, you can use the CAF simulator:https://wwwd.caf.fr/wps/portal/caffr/aidesetservices/lesservicesenligne/estimervosdroits/lelogement/
as a foreigner, you must provide a valid residence permit to receive CAF allowance. Residence permits aren't granted to students under 18.
How much does it amount to?
It mostly depends on your family’s resources, the cost of your rent and the location of your accommodation.
If you’re in a flatshare, it will depend on each and every one’s resources and on the amount paid by each of you (on the basis that you and your flatmates divide the rent in equal parts).
What’s the way to proceed?
You will have to make your request on the caf.fr website, using their teleservice.
For your first request, make sure you have these on hand:
your lease agreement
Your income (if your income is 0€, you will declare 0€)
Your bank details
if your lessor isn’t a private owner (for example, a real estate agency or a student residence), its SIRET number
Your student visa
That’s plenty, but hang in there!
When will I receive my first payment?
We knew that one was coming! Don’t worry, it’s pretty fast: once your request is accepted, you will receive the allowance on the 5th of the following month, then every 5th of the month.
Try making your request as soon as possible: you won’t be able to get the allowance retroactively.
What do I have to do when I leave the place?
When you leave your place, all you have to do is to report your address change on the CAF website (there’s a section dedicated to declaring situation changes, called “déclarer un changement de situation”). Don’t forget to do that, otherwise you’ll end up having to reimburse the overpayment!