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Small Glossary of Accommodation terms

Assurance multi-risques habitations' (multi-risk accommodation insurance): insurance covering possible damage risk (water damage, fire, etc.) occurring in the accommodation or adjacent accommodation. This is obligatory for all types of accommodation. It is possible to take out such an insurance policy with an insurance company, with a bank or with the student mutual cooperative organizations, referred to above.

Bail or contrat de location (lease or rental contract): this must be signed by the tenant (locataire) and by the lessor (bailleur). This specifies the obligations of each party and the terms of the rental agreement (duration, price, monthly rental charges, the amount of the deposit (caution), terms of renewal of contract). In the case of a joint rental (colocation), either a single contract is signed by several people, or the proprietor issues several individual contracts.

Caution solidaire or Garant: a document in which a person personally guarantees through a signature to pay on behalf of the student tenant in the case of the latter's insolvency or defaulting on payments. This guarantor (garant) must provide evidence of his or her resources (either through furnishing three recent monthly pay slips or through furnishing the most recent tax notice). Moreover, it is required most of the time that the 'garant' resides in France or in the European Union.

Cessation de bail (cessation of lease): the tenant (locataire) can terminate the lease at any moment on condition that he or she respects the length of notice (preavis) which is stipulated in the rental contract.

Charges locatives mensuelles (monthly rental charges): these correspond to expenses linked to the place of accommodation: the maintenance of the elevator (lift), or the upkeep of green spaces, caretaker costs, cleaning of common areas, etc. These charges may either be included in the overall rental price or specified separately in the rental contract. N.B.! These charges should not be confused with the costs of energy consumption such as water, electricity and gas, which are invoiced by independent bodies.

Colocation: sharing furnished or unfurnished accommodation, and therefore sharing the rental and all charges, with other persons (colocataires). There exist two types of lease in the case of colocation:
- The tenants appear all on the same lease agreement. This can apply to a furnished or unfurnished rental. The proprietor can add a solidarity clause stipulating that if there are outstanding payments overdue from one of the tenants, the other tenants are held responsable and must pay the outstanding rent.
- Each of the tenants signs a separate contract for the rental of a room in an apartment. Juridically speaking, this is not considered to be a colocation. There is no solidarity clause.

Dépôt de garantie or "caution": (Not to be confused with the “caution solidaire”) : this is the sum of money which is paid to the lessor when the contract is signed. It will be returned within maximum two months after the departure of the tenant. The amount cannot, without the charges, be more than 1 month rent for non-furnished accommodation, and 2 months rent for furnished accommodation. It can be cashed by the lessor. If damage is noticed and recorded at the time of the inventory inspection upon departure of the tenant, the costs are invoiced to the departing tenant and the sum is deductible from the guarantee deposit.

Etat des lieux d'entree (the taking of the inventory of fixtures on arrival of tenant): this inventory is drawn up by the bailleur (the lessor, who is usually the proprietor or the agent representing the proprietor) at the beginning of the rental agreement. The purpose is to record the state of the apartment/lodging at the beginning and the end of the rental contract. It must be carried out in the presence of the tenant as well as the lessor, and signed by both of them.

Etat des lieux de sortie (an inventory inspection at the end of the stay) : in order to verify that there has been no deterioration in the property and its fixtures during the period of the rental. If damage is recorded, the lessor can hold back part of the “dépôt de garantie”, all of the “dépôt de garantie”, or more depending on the damages (on submission of the quote or bill). Both the lessor and the tenant must be present when doing this exit inventory, and it must be signed by both.

Garant (the guarantor): name given to the person who undertakes to act as a guarantee for the possible default of the locataire and signs the caution solidaire (see above). The guarantor must give proof of his or her resources either through submitting the three most recent salary slips or by furnishing the most recent tax declaration.

Quittance de loyer: a monthly receipt signed by the lessor to show that the rent has been paid. This can serve as proof of residence for other administrative matters. The receipt is delivered without charge (although sending the document can incur a charge).

Taxe d'habitation (housing tax): this tax is linked to your place of residence. Its amount varies according to your situation (single, couple, waged, etc.) and the characteristics of the lodging occupied on 1st of January. Even if you move out of the lodging during the year, you have to pay this tax. You are notified of the tax in the autumn, sent directly by post to your address. Remember to give your new address to the lessor and to the tax office if you have moved in the meantime because you are still liable to pay the tax. This tax only applies if you are renting in the private sector. The tax is not payable by students living in CROUS residences.


French words used for types and size of apartments

  • Studio: one main room with a small kitchenette area, a bathroom and WC. Average size: 20 m2.
  • T1ou F1 bis: one room, a kitchen, a bathroom and WC. Average size: 30 m2.
  • T2 ou F2: one living room, one bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and WC. Average size: 40 m2.
  • T3 ou F3: one living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and WC. Average size: 55 m2.
The kitchen can be in one of the rooms, or separate from the other rooms.

Updated on June 6, 2018

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