As a student, moving to a new country, city or even a new apartment can be quite stressful and overwhelming at times. Finding an apartment or room to rent may be even more difficult in some cities or countries especially in those places where there are requirements that you never even considered. One of such issues may occur when you choose to find an apartment or room for long-term lease in France as there is the need for a French guarantor when getting such a long-term lease apartment. The importance placed by property owners and landlords on the need for a guarantor especially when a young and/or international student would like to enter into a long-term rental contract, cannot be overlooked. French guarantors provide some form of comfort or respite to landlords and property owners as they sign an undertaking that they will be able to pay the rent and any associated charges at the right time specifically when the tenant (the student) is unable to make the payment. This has led to several challenges as such students may not be able to secure a French guarantor who meets the specific requirements necessary for any long-term rental contract in France. A number of students find it easier to get a family member or relative as a personal guarantor for long-term rentals in France.

Individual guarantor for students in France

The fundamental requirements for a personal French guarantor include an individual above 18 years of age whose credit ratings are relatively high thus making them trustworthy in the view of the landlord or property owner. It is for this reason that the guarantor is expected to have an income which is at least 3 times higher than the rent costs, this is evident in the employment contract, relevant payslips or tax returns provided to the landlord upon signing the long-term rental contract. Additionally, for this individual to be acceptable to the property owner as a guarantor, it is expected that they are resident in France so that they are easily accessible to the landlord if the student is unable to make the rent payments.

Institutional guarantor for students in France

Apart from direct negotiations with property owners, there are a few other options which can be explored in lieu of personal guarantors for students. Such options include the use of an institutional guarantor for students, in which case students may be able to engage the services of private companies who specialize in the provision of such guarantees upon fulfilment of requirements stated and usually for a fee.

Some banks in France offer guarantor services for students in the country which makes it relatively easy to secure a long-term rental apartment legally. This guarantee is provided when the student opens an account with the bank and deposits the total rental costs for about 1 year; the bank then blocks the amount deposited for the duration of the rental period. In this case, the bank stands as a guarantor for students in France and may charge a management fee for this service.

There is also the option of the “caution locative étudiante” (CLE) which refers to a provision made for students who are unable to find an individual guarantor to secure a long-term rental agreement in France. To qualify for this guarantee, the student must be below 28 years old except for doctoral or post-doctoral students who are not bound by age. The student is also expected to prove that they have suitable income for their study which could be in form of a scholarship or other private funds. Upon fulfilment of the above conditions, the student can then make a claim for the student rental deposit by applying online through the official Lokaviz website. The application will be reviewed and if approved, the student can then utilize this as a guarantee that the landlord would be paid if the student defaults in which case, the appropriate notices need to be filed so as to make the payment to the property owner. This guarantee is provided to a maximum amount depending on the location of the rental property as this is capped at €700 within Paris, €600 in Ile-de-France and €500 for other regions. Students should also note that beneficiaries of the CLE are expected to contribute up to 1.5% of their rental costs which corresponds to €10.5 per month within Paris, €9 monthly in Ile-de-France and €7.5 per month in other regions.

Another similar scheme is the Visale guarantee which is focused on individuals below age 30 and newly employed individuals above 30. The Visale scheme also has its eligibility criteria including family ties as only one individual per family can be provided with this grant. Additionally, the total rent and charges it covers is up to a maximum of €1500 for properties in Paris and €1300 outside Paris. This Visale scheme is focused on individuals who are in real need of support to help them secure such accommodation.

It is also possible for international students to take advantage of opportunities offered by the universities as they may have partnerships and agreements with such private companies who provide a guarantor for students. Some universities may also have agreements with property owners and associations to provide properties for rent which do not require a guarantor for students. Students should contact their university accommodation or international student services to find out if such services are available to provide a guarantor for students.

Other forms of guarantors for students in France

Getting a French guarantor may be particularly difficult for international students especially as they may not have family or other relatives resident in France who meet the above stated requirements. In a bid to make these long-term rental contracts easier for both property owners and students, some landlords make concessions such as accepting an international guarantor who is a qualified guarantor but may not be resident in France, however they are expected to meet all the other requirements. Some landlords may also accept the payment of the rental costs in advance thus requiring a lump sum payment of all or at least a significant part of the rent for the entire period of the contract which may be deemed illegal. For example, if you enter a long-term lease contract for a period of one year and you are unable to provide a qualified guarantor for students, the property owner may request the payment of 6 months rent in advance as a form of guarantee. These options and alternatives can be negotiated with the landlord or property owner to find a suitable resolution for both parties, however, when working with an agency these terms may not be as easy to negotiate. It is important for the student to explore other more formal means of obtaining a guarantor in France as some of these negotiations may not be transparent or totally legal.

Students in France can now take advantage of these opportunities to help secure a qualified guarantor thus overcoming the obstacles they would have encountered in search of such a guarantor. It is now possible to easily obtain a guarantor for students considering a long-term rental apartment in France.