HOW TO FIND AFFORDABLE AND TRUST-WORTHY ACCOMMODATION ?
Finding accommodation in the major cities is becoming increasingly difficult. Accommodation prices in Paris are twice as expensive on average, than outside of the city of Paris.
There are specific networks set up to help students find furnished accommodation, which will usually be in a university hall of residence or HLM (rent-controlled housing). Students who receive a French government grant administered by the CNOUS will benefit from special assistance from their local CROUS who will provide them with assistance to look for an accommodation (where there is a limited number of places available, they will be considered as priority for obtaining a place in halls of residence).
Some student organisations will find private advertisements for their members. The Centres d’Information et de Documentation Jeunesse (CIDJ) publish accommodation advertisements on their bulletin boards, which are displayed on their website: www.cidj.com.
Lastly, social networks and word of mouth are often good ways of finding accommodation. Like facebook groups for finding accommodations in various parts of France such as Accommodation in Paris, Apartments in Paris, Paris Colocation etc.
In every possible scenario, you are advised to exercise prudence insofar as there are a number of agencies (in both Paris and other regions) who have been reported to offer lists of false accommodation in return for payment of a fixed fee.
Renting on the private housing market
This is the option that offers the most independence and flexibility. The private rental market offers a wide choice of options, such as living close to the social and cultural attractions of France’s lively city centers. Private rentals are most suited to students who are independent and already well-adapted to French life.
You may rent space directly from a property owner or through a rental agency.
If you rent through an agency, you will have to pay fees equal to a little more than a month’s rent. Apartments may be rented empty or furnished. Unless you have a friend, family member, or other contact in the area in which you intend to live, it is usually very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to find a suitable rental before you arrive in France.
Once you arrive, you can ask the housing office at your new institution or one of the international student support services found in many university cities to help you in your search for housing.
You can expect to be asked to sign a 1-year rental contract. You may cancel your contract early provided you give at least 3 month’s notice for an unfurnished apartment or 1 month for a furnished apartment.
The need for a guarantor is a problem for many international students. In some cities and regions, nonprofit organizations and local governments have devised arrangements that provide property owners with the necessary guarantee
Property owners with space available often post notices in the housing offices of local educational institutions, with the city’s international student service office, or with CROUS, the regional student service agency.
Shared rentals, in which groups of students get together to rent a house or apartment are becoming increasingly common. Such arrangements are often cheaper than individual rentals and may make it easier to meet French students and other international students.
Each participant in a shared rental is eligible to apply for housing assistance, provided his or her name appears on the rental contract.
There are various websites you could consult for accommodation possibilities; you would need to find out if a guarantor is required and you must speak French in order to understand the information that you can find through these links. Some online flat sharing proposals:
On-campus housing at grandes écoles and private institutions
The grandes écoles and some private institutions maintain their own on-campus student residences. These institutions make an effort to reserve housing for the international students they admit. Rents are generally between €250 and €350 per month. For full information, consult the websites of the institutions you are considering. Reserve your room as soon as you receive your offer of admission.
University residence: CIUP, CROUS
You are advised to make contact with the CROUS from the month of December, to find out the exact admission conditions and formalities for the following academic year. Students can apply by logging on to the CROUS website of the local education authority where they will study (under the section entitled “international”), between 15th January and 30th April in the year before the start of the relevant academic year. The CROUS will send a paper copy of the application form to be completed. The application form should be sent to the CROUS with the requested documentation. The CROUS director will allocate accommodation following consultation with the admission commission made up of student representatives. The CROUS will inform you of the outcome of your application
The CIUP – Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris provides single and double room accomodations in their houses allocated for different countries. You can apply through the CIUP Website. You can use the accomodation documents from CROUS and CIUP for your visa application process.
CAF – Just like French students, international students are eligible to apply for housing assistance under a system set up to deal with the relatively high cost of housing in France.
– Assistance amounts are computed case by case, based on the rental amount and the student’s resources. The benefit is not automatic or assured. If you intend to apply for student housing assistance, make sure to meet the following conditions.
– be in possession of your lodgings and can provide your address and the amount of your rent.
– Be enrolled in the mandatory student health insurance plan.
– Have a bank account in France, as housing assistance is deposited directly into beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
– If you are sharing a house or apartment with a group of students, all members of the group may apply for assistance, provided their names appear on the rental contract (lease). Each student must apply individually. Married couples submit just one application.
– Applications for assistance must be completed on the website of the family assistance fund (CAF, Caisse d’allocation familiale) within 3 months of taking possession of your lodgings.
– FYI – the one document that you would need from India with your Birth certificate comprising of
1) Your Name
2) Stamp by the Home Department of the state where you were born
3) Apostilled by the Ministry of External Affairs
4) Translated by a Swork Translator ( one at Alliance Francaise )