​​Applying for social housing: how to do it?

Applying for social housing in public housing is a very simple process, especially since it can now be done online. Social housing is for people on low incomes. Studapart explains everything about the conditions and how to apply for social housing.


What is social housing?


Social housing is housing intended for tenants with low incomes. HLMs, low-rent housing, are built by specific offices (or in some cases so-called social enterprises) which are then responsible for their administration and maintenance.


The tenants are selected on criteria related to resources and the number of people in the home. Allocations are decided in committees and are governed by the Construction and Housing Code.


The rent is supposed to be moderate (as its name suggests), but it varies according to the buildings, the type of accommodation and their geographical location.


How to apply for social housing?


The request to apply for access to social housing is made to the town hall, the prefecture or any public service related to housing. You can apply for accommodation online, send it by post or drop it off at the counter.


Who can benefit ?


The application is open to anyone residing in France, whether of French nationality, a national of a Member State of the European Union or from any country in the world. In the latter case, he will be asked for a residence permit.


What information is needed?


The accommodation request requires information:

  • the municipalities in which you wish to reside (8 municipalities maximum),
  • the number of people who will live in the accommodation (direct family ties)
  • your identity papers (identity card, passport, residence permit, etc.),
  • your last two taxable incomes (the last two years),
  • your income at the time of your application.


Where do I file my statement?


For the online declaration, you can ask to be assisted by an advisor over the phone. You must call 0 806 000 113 (price of a local call from a landline) between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday.


If the application is made on paper, you must complete an application for social housing (CERFA 14069-04 form) using the explanatory note. The form can be sent by mail with a copy of your identity document. It can also be filed with the town hall, the prefecture, the department and organizations dedicated to housing, such as Action Logement, and other social services.


What happens after I submit my application?


Your file is processed, following which you will receive a notification within one month indicating whether your request has been accepted or rejected. In case of refusal, the reason will be indicated. You can then correct your file and submit it again.


When your request is accepted, you will receive a certificate of registration of the request, proof of acceptance of the file. This certificate provides a unique registration number (or application number). Its period of validity is eleven months and operates throughout the department. The date of your request is specified as well as the date on which you will have to renew your request if no accommodation has been offered to you.


You will also receive a list of the donor organizations which have received your file and which manage the accommodation in the municipalities for which you have requested. You will also find on the registration certificate various points on the procedures to be followed as well as the supporting documents to be kept. You must also report any change in your situation: postal address, number of people, income, type of accommodation desired, etc.).


When one of their accommodations is available, the donor organizations that have received your file will contact you. You will need to show them your proof of identity and income. Your file is transmitted. The allocation of housing is then determined by a commission. This distributes the accommodation in an order of urgency according to the files processed. The waiting time is taken into account but also the situation of the people, in particular in terms of disability and precariousness.

The waiting time therefore depends on the availability of accommodation and your situation. All the explanations for applying for social housing (HLM) are given to you on the public service website.


What are the criteria for the allocation of social housing?


The main criteria for obtaining social housing are income and the number of people. The total income of all people occupying the accommodation must not exceed a ceiling of resources, or maximum amount.


The income that is recorded for the request is the reference tax income for year N-2 (For 2022, for example, the tax income of 2020 is taken into account, i.e. that which is entered on the 2021 tax notice).


The persons occupying the accommodation taken into account in the calculations are the direct parents, the dependent children (tax shares), the spouse or cohabitant or civil union partner, etc. The cousins, uncles and aunts and more distant families cannot be included in the same application. They can become your roommates, but their request must be the subject of a separate file.


Obtaining social housing does not deprive you of the housing aid offered by the State. Once you have obtained your HLM housing, you can apply for APL (Personalised Housing Assistance), ALF (Family Housing Allowance) or ALS (Social Housing Allowance). Applications for housing allowances must be sent to the CAF (Family allowance fund) or the MSA (Mutualité sociale agricole).


Ceiling on resources to obtain social housing


The resource ceiling, or maximum amount, is defined each year by the State. To obtain housing, the total household income must not exceed this ceiling. This also takes into account the number of people in the household and the geographical location of the accommodation.

The resource cap for the year 2022 has not yet been defined by the government. By way of example, we publish here the cap for 2021, to be compared with the tax income for 2019 present on the tax notices for 2020.


CAP 2021
  • Family of 1 to 3 people,
  • or single person with dependents,
  • or household without dependents,
  • or 2 people including one with a disability.
  • Family of 4 or more,
  • or single person with 2 dependents,
  • or 3 people, at least one of whom is disabled.
Paris (1) 47 247 € / year 56 410 € / year
Ile-de-France (2) 43 325 € / year 51 897 € / year
Province (3) 33 670 € / year 40 648 € / year


(1) Paris and its peripheral cities, which are Aubervilliers, Bagnolet, Boulogne-Billancourt, Charenton-le-Pont, Clichy, Fontenay-Sous-Bois, Gentilly, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Ivry-sur-Seine, Joinville-le-Pont, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Les Lilas, Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, Levallois-Perret, Malakoff, Montreuil, Montrouge, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Nogent-sur-Marne, Pantin, Puteaux, Saint-Cloud, Saint-Denis, Saint-Mandé, Saint-Maurice, Saint-Ouen, Suresnes, Vanves, Vincennes. 

(2) Paris region outside Paris and neighboring municipalities.

(3) Province: territories of metropolitan France and Corsica.


For the year 2022, it will of course be necessary to refer to the tax income of 2020 present on the tax notices of 2021.


Get social housing in Paris


To obtain social housing in Paris or in the surrounding municipalities, you can obtain all the necessary information on the website of the city of Paris on its dedicated page: Asking for social housing in Paris.


Obtaining social housing in Île-de-France


To apply for social housing in Ile-de-France (i.e. outside Paris and surrounding municipalities), information can be found on the website of the DRIHL, regional and interdepartmental directorate for accommodation and housing.


Obtain social housing in the Province


To apply for social housing in the territories of France, outside Paris and its region, you can also find information on the website of the Ministry of the Interior: What are the conditions for obtaining social housing?


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