What are housing subsidies?

CAF, APL, ALS, ALF, ... These acronyms might ring a bell, without really knowing what they stand for. However, they can be of great help! Studapart is here to help you see more clearly into the world of housing subsidies.

caf apl als aides logement
Housing allowances


What are CAF, APL, and ALS? 


The welfare fund, or CAF 


Everyone has heard of the CAF at some point: it’s a well known institution in France. Nearly half of the French population was covered by the CAF in 2017, i.e 31.6 million people. This figure increased by 0/9% compared with the previous year.

This organism is, among other things, responsible for allocating housing subsidies to eligible tenants. 

Personalized Housing Welfare, or APL (Aide au Logement Personnalisée)

The APL has become common language. It is the most commonly paid aid among housing subsidies. Around 6 million people received this aid in 2017, which is 1.5% more than in 2016. 53% of APL was paid to tenants living alone in their accommodation. 

Social Housing Allowance, or ALS (Allocation Logement Sociale)

The SLA is a less well-known form of housing assistance than the APL, but it is still quite common in the rental sector. It is often paid in case of ineligibility for the APL. Nearly 4 million French people received this aid in 2017, showing an increase of 0.5% compared to the previous year. 

The Family Housing Allowance, or ALF (Allocation Logement Familiale) 

The third and final housing assistance that the CAF can pay to tenants is the ALF. But you shouldn’t have to worry about it as it is uncommon, especially in student rentals. In 2017, only 1.5 million beneficiaries were concerned, a decrease of more than 1% compared to 2016.

How these aids can help

Whether students or young workers, tenants allocate a large part of their budget to paying the rent, and it might be difficult to meet ends. Housing aids helps them live decently despite the monthly rent payment. To give you an idea, tenants received an average of 230€ per month of APL in 2018. This amount depends on several parameters that will be detailed later. For example, the city of residence greatly influences this amount. A student living alone in a furnished apartment in Paris and paying a rent of 800€ will get approximately 210€ of APL. For the same accommodation in Rennes with a rent of 500€, this amount will be more around 150€. 

Eligibility for housing allowances


Eligibility conditions for the APL

You can’t combine the three different housing allowances. If you are not eligible for the APL,  refer to the ALS. And if you are not eligible for the ALF, then refer to the ALS.  

You’re eligible for the APL if: 

  • you are a tenant (or subtenant under 30 years old)
  • The accommodation you are renting is decent
  • Your rental is under a lease agreement
  • The accommodation you are renting is a furnished apartment, a hostel, a hotel room or a university residence 
  • Your resources and those of people living in the same household as you (for a shared flat) respect the threshold set by the CAF 
  • The lessor is not a member of your family, your husband/wife or concubine 
  • The accommodation you are renting  is your main residence and is occupied at least 8 months a year

There is no minimum age for receiving the APL. A minor can benefit from it provided the lease agreement is signed by the parents. 

The best way to find out if you are eligible for the APL is to make a simulation on the CAF website

Eligibility conditions for the ALF 


If you are not eligible for the APL, you can still benefit from the ALF. This aid is rarely intended for students and young workers as the people concerned usually have children. 

Conditions for the allocation of ALF are numerous and match with a multitude of specific cases. The simplest way to find out if you are eligible for ALF  is to use the CAF simulator

Eligibility conditions for the ALS

If you are ineligible for both the APL and ALS, the last option is the ALS. It’s quite uncommon and its mostly allocated for particular circumstances. Once more, the CAF simulator is the best way to find out if you are eligible for the ALS. 

How to: amount of housing aids, CAF simulation and receiving the payment


Knowing your eligible amount of APL, ALF and ALS

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). 

The main factors that determine the amount of your allowance are: 

  • your employment and family status 
  • the nature and characteristics of the accommodation (furnished, type of lease agreement, shared or not, in a hostel or in a residence, etc.)
  • the city 
  • the rent 
  • your resources and tax situation 

Calculation of housing subsidies


To find out the amount of housing subsidies and whether you are eligible for them, go to the CAF website and use the simulator. Before the simulation, make sure you have these at hand: 

  • your lease agreement
  • Proof of your current rent, address, or current 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. You can easily find it on this site. 
  • Your student visa

If you can, try carrying out the simulation with one of your parents. This will allow you to answer questions with as much precision as possible. 

Receiving housing allowances


After completing a simulation, the CAF will tell you the steps how to perceive the aids you have requested. To file your request, you will probably have to send supporting documents by to the CAF of the town of accommodation. For example, you might need to send a rent certificate filled in by your landlord. This can take more or less time, but if there is a delay in the payment of the aid, it will be compensated later on. 


Studapart and housing allowances

Resources for a better understanding


Terms related to housing allowances and procedures around it are sometimes difficult to understand. Studapart provides you with a series of articles about different notions that you may come across during your steps with the CAF. Consult our glossary during the simulation if a term isn’t clear to you. 


Our team is here to help

Feel free to contact us if you can't find what you're looking for among the information available on Studapart! Our team speaks several languages and is available 6 days a week if you have the slightest doubt. For example, when you leave your accommodation, it is compulsory to declare a change of situation on the CAF website. Otherwise, you risk receiving aid to which you are not entitled and you will have to reimburse it! We are here to tell you what to do if you are lost. 

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