When searching for accommodation, you may encounter specific terms and vocabulary that you are not familiar with. To facilitate your housing search and procedures, you will find here definitions of the most common terms relating to accommodation.

Accommodation terms

  • “Bail” or “contrat de location” (lease, or rental agreement): the contract signed by both the tenant (“locataire”) and by the landlord, or lessor (“bailleur”).
    It summarizes the obligations of each party and the terms of the rental (duration, price, monthly rental charges, amount of the security deposit, terms of contract renewal).
  • “Caution”: a document in which a person (the garantor) personally guarantees through a signature to pay on behalf of the tenant in case latter were insolvent or defaulted on rental payments.
    The “caution solidaire”, often seen in shared accommodations, means that each joint tenant and his/her guarantor are liable for all of the sums payable to the landlord (rent and service charges). As a consequence, each joint tenant (or his/her guarantor) undertakes to pay the share owed by the other joint tenants if they do not pay it.
  • “Charges locatives mensuelles” (monthly rental charges): these correspond to expenses linked to the place of accommodation: 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.
    These charges should not be confused with the costs of energy consumption such as water, electricity and gas, which are invoiced by independent bodies.
  • "Dépôt de garantie" (security deposit) : payment required when signing the lease, used as a guarantee to cover for any damage caused by the tenant (unpaid rent or charges, damage to the property). At the end of the contract, the amount of the security deposit is returned to the tenant if no damage is found during the outgoing inventory of fixtures.
  • "État des lieux" (inventory of fixtures) : visit made with the owner (or lessor) when entering and leaving the property. Its purpose is to check the state of the accommodation on arrival and will serve as a reference on departure for the return of the security deposit.
  • "Honoraires" / "Frais d'agence" (fees / agency fees) : if the owner uses a real estate agency or a professional for the inventory of fixtures, a fee will be charged for the signature of the lease and the inventory of fixtures.
    These fees are regulated by law: a maximum of 10€/m² in Grenoble and 8€/m² in Valence, to which may be added 3€/m² for the ingoing inventory of fixtures.
  • "Meublé" (furnished): Properties referred as « meublés » are already furnished. Even though the rents for such properties are often slightly higher, this avoids buying furniture and other items locally. It can end up being more practical and cheaper if you are only staying for a short period. They must contain, as a minimum:
    • A bed with duvet/quilt or blanket
    • Cooking hobs
    • An oven or microwave
    • A refrigerator
    • A storage cupboard outside the kitchen
    • Crockery, cooking utensils, etc.
  • "Quittance de loyer" (rent receipt) : document issued by the owner to justify the payment of the rent, which can be used as proof of address for some administrative procedures. It is issued free of charge upon request (the sending of the document may be charged however).

Housing ads terms

Some housing ads use specific abbreviations or terms to describe the accommodation.
Here are the main ones:
  • Asc. : for "ascenseur" (elevator or lift)
  • Balc. : for "balcon" (balcony)
  • C.C. : for "charges comprises" (charges included), meaning the monthly rental charges are included in the price published.
  • "Chambre chez l'habitant" (room at the inhabitant's house) : room with access to the sanitary facilities at a owner's house. Access to the kitchen is not always included.
  • "Cuisine équipée" (equipped kitchen) : it includes at least one hotplate and a refrigerator.
  • Kitch. : for "kitchenette" (small kitchen)
  • Rdc : for "rez-de-chaussée" (ground floor (or first floor(US))
  • Sdb : for "salle de bains" (bathroom)
  • Studio : single room including a kitchenette. Bathroom and WC must be separated from the room.
  • TCC : for "toutes charges comprises" (all charges included)
  • F1 / T1 : apartment with 1 room, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom
  • F2 / T2 : apartment with 2 rooms, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom
  • F3 / T3 : apartment with 3 rooms, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom
Updated on April 22, 2021