Cheat Sheet

Anything obscure? You might find it here! 

 

Student housing in France

CROUS

It stands for Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires, which roughly translates to “regional center of academic charity”. In a nutshell, it’s a public organization offering services aiming to simplify student life, such as housing in residences, student canteens with very affordable meals, scholarships...

CAF 

It stands for “Caisse des Allocations Familiales”, which can translate to “Family Allowance Fund”. It’s the organization that allocates housing allowances to tenants.

APL

It stands for “personalized housing allowance”. It’s the most common housing allowance, and it’s allocated by the CAF for government-regulated
dwellings.

ALS 

Standing for “social housing allowance”, it’s allocated by the CAF for non government-regulated dwellings.

The basics

Lessor

It’s the person or organization renting you accommodation and signing a binding lease agreement with you. Your lessor can be a private owner, a student residence or a real estate agency.

Lease agreement

It’s the written contract that defines your commitments and those of your landlord in regard of your rent. It states you have to pay rent, for instance. It’s the most important document from your rent, it’s important that its clauses are clear for you.

Rent application

The comprehensive documents you submit to a landlord when you’re searching for your apartment. They’re used to know your identity and to make sure you’ll be capable of paying rent.

Unfurnished rental (location nue) 

Property rented without furniture. (did you really need that one?)

Furnished rental (location meublée)

Property rented with the adequate amount of furniture and equipment allowing you to eat, sleep and live properly.

Proxy (mandataire)

It’s a trusted individual whom you ask to act on your behalf when you can’t. For example, you can ask them to conduct an inventory of fixtures in your place. For that, you’ll need to give him a power of attorney.

Power of attorney (procuration)

It’s the written document in which you appoint your proxy to act on your behalf. 

Prior notice (préavis)

It’s the legal delay you have to respect when informing your landlord you’re leaving the place. This delay is written in your lease agreement. If you’re renting an unfurnished apartment, you have to inform your landlord 3 months prior your leave. If you’re renting an empty apartment or if your place is in a zone tendue, you have to inform him one month before leaving.

Zone tendue

A city located in a "tense zone" (zone tendue) is a city in which the housing supply is insufficient. In these places, your prior notice is reduced to a month whatever the kind of accommodation you’re renting.

Financial stuff

Guarantor

A relative with sufficient means who accepts to pay your rent if you fail to do so - which explains why landlords generally require you to have a guarantor. If you’re renting using Studapart, we can be your guarantor!

To be solvent

To be financially capable of paying rent

Security deposit (dépôt de garantie)

It’s the amount you pay your landlord upon signing the lease agreement, and which covers risks associated with rental. It can’t be higher than 2 months rent, excluding service charges. Once the amount is established in the lease, it can’t be adjusted.

Rent receipt (quittance) 

It’s a receipt for your rent. Your landlord gives it to you and it proves you’ve paid rent on a given period.

Housing tax (taxe d'habitation)

It’s a tax you have to pay when you’re staying in a dwelling. It’s paid by the person who was occupying the place on the 1st of January. You receive it by mail in the autumn. As an international student, your landlord might not ask from you that you pay it, though.

Franchises

As part of your home insurance, franchises are the amount that’s yours to pay following the damage and won’t be reimbursed by the insurance company, even though you’ve been partly compensated. The cheaper your insurance, the higher the franchises.

Around rental expenses

Joint tenancy (copropriété) 

In a building, there are several apartments who generally belong to several different owners. The whole of these owners form the joint tenancy.

Building management office (syndic de copropriété) 

It’s an organization or a group of owners accounting for the joint tenancy. They’re in charge of invoicing service charges, hiring contractors for renovations, ensure maintenance, sign contracts...

Service charges

Service charges cover maintenance and repair work in communal areas. The more facilities in your building, the higher they amount to. The landlord pays them and asks his tenant to pay part of them back.

Provision for charges

It’s one of the two possible methods of payment for charges. It’s an advance estimating charges the lessor will receive. You pay a little part of this advance every month, in addition to the rent. Once a year, the charges are adjusted.

Paying charges with a forfeit (forfait pour charges)

The second method of payment for charges. Just like the provision for charges, it’s an estimation of the service charges you’ll be accountable for, except there is no adjustment. You can only ">pay your charges with a fixed fee forfeit if you’re renting a furnished apartment or if you have flatmates.

Flat rate charges (charges forfaitaires)

It’s the estimate amount that’s supposed to cover expenses related to rent, defined when signing the lease agreement. When you pay your charges with a forfeit, you pay this estimate amount rather than the actual amount of charges.

Actual charges (charges réelles)

This time it’s not an estimate, but the actual amount of rental charges. When you pay your charges with a provision for charges, you pay the actual charges.

Adjustment of charges (régularisation)

It’s the difference between the provision for charges you’ve paid your landlord and the real amount your landlord actually paid as regard for service charges. If your landlord paid less charges than covered by your monthly provision, he gives you the difference back, and conversely if the provision for charges didn’t cover actual expenses.

In case things go wrong...

Dispute (litige) 

A disagreement between you and your landlord, relating to binding matters covered by the lease agreement or other legal documents.

Bailiff (huissier de justice)

A law officer in charge of making sure decisions of court are obeyed. Bailiffs can help you in the event of a dispute. For instance, you can call on a bailiff to conduct the check-out inventory of fixtures in case of disagreement - or sometimes simply when you and your landlord can’t agree on a date for conducting it.

Formal notice (mise en demeure) 

It’s letter giving an ultimatum before taking legal action, that you send when several reminders have remained unanswered. You might need to send your landlord a formal notice in case he unfairly kept your security deposit or if he didn’t give you back the difference after adjustment of charges.