Moving to France as an expat is one of those life changing decisions which you would always be glad you made; be it for work, further education, retirement or just for a new lease on life. France offers a variety of locations each with its own standard of living and real estate style giving you a choice of everything from large villas with a view of the sea, to houses with gardens and white picket fences to beautifully styled apartments in modern building complexes.

Whatever your reason for moving to France, your choice of city or town and even your accommodation preferences, there is a fundamental need for expats to provide a guarantor so as to secure a long-term rental property in the country. The role of a guarantor is to assure the property owner that the required rent and similar charges will be paid as and when due. This means that in the event of any default by the tenant, the guarantor is responsible for, willing and able to pay the outstanding rental costs.

Expats can obtain French guarantors who are either individuals or institutions such as companies, banks and government agencies. Each of these forms of guarantors have specific requirements which the expat (tenant) and the guarantors themselves would need to fulfil to secure the guarantee, these are discussed below.

Individual guarantor for expats in France

Every expat or tenant can obtain a guarantee for a long-term rental villa, house or apartment from any French resident who is above the age of 18 years and meets all the other requirements.

In order to be a valid guarantor for expats in France, the individual would need to provide

1. Copy of a passport or similar identification documents.

2. Proof of accommodation and address confirmation such as utility bills within the previous three months, receipt of rent payment or most recent property tax notices.

3. Proof of income which is at least 3 times the rental costs which can be verified through an employment letter stating the employment income or most recent payslips and tax notices.

A more comprehensive list of the requirements for a personal guarantor in France is available as some landlords may request documents such as the guarantor’s bank statement which are not required for the performance of the role of an individual guarantor for expats in France.

An insurance company as a guarantor for expats in France

In a bid to provide solutions to the rising need for guarantors, a number of insurance companies have developed partnerships with other private companies or even incorporated some affiliate companies with the sole purpose of standing as a guarantor for expats in France who require long-term leases. These companies strive to simplify the process of obtaining a guarantor using online portals and effective customer service. The tenant is expected to create an online account with the company and submit the requested documents which generally include an official identification, bank statements and other documents as proof of income (these may vary depending on the company). The tenant is then given a guarantee certificate, which is initially for free and provided typically within 24 hours. This guarantee certificate can be presented to property owners and landlords indicating that the company will serve as a guarantor for the expat in France. When the tenant has received the approval from the landlord and the terms have been agreed, the company then commits to making the rental payments in the event that the tenant defaults in such obligations. This guarantee is provided at a cost which can either be a fixed fee or a rate of about 3.5% of the monthly rental amount. It is important to note that each company has its own specific regulations, documentary requirements and may provide a maximum rental amount which it is willing to cover. These companies generally do not request any upfront payment of the rental costs from expats in France, making it relatively easy to utilize the guarantor service.

Bank guarantor for expats in France

A number of banks offer some form of guarantor services as an alternative to obtaining an individual guarantor for expats in France. The specific requirements for this service vary depending on the bank involved, however, the process is implemented on a fairly simple basis. The expat or tenant is to open an account with the bank and deposit an amount as decided by the bank, this amount usually corresponds to the rental cost of up to 12 months (covering the entire long-term rental period). This amount is then blocked by the bank for a stated period so as to ensure that it is available, if necessary. The tenant can then obtain a bond confirmation from the bank which proves that the bank will serve as a guarantor for the expat when concluding the long-term lease contract with the landlord. The tenant would be required to pay the applicable charges and fees for the management of the funds and the provision of such guarantee by the bank. A number of banks also provide a similar service as a guarantor for students in France who are unable to obtain other guarantors for their long-term rental contracts.

It is now quite feasible to obtain a guarantor for expats in France as these options give room for flexibility and allow expats to choose the most convenient form of guarantee be it an individual, a bank or a company guarantor. It is advisable to get more information about the most suitable form of guarantee from an industry expat who would be able to provide the appropriate referral based on your specific property and long-term rental needs. As an expatriate, you can now get long-term leases on villas, houses and apartments in France at any suitable price without much concern about a guarantor.