Phrases related to housing

Phrases and customs for renting a room or a flat can vary from one region or country to another. Here is an overview of some of the key concepts you should remember when looking for accommodation in Ile-de-France.


Le bail (lease agreement)

The lease agreement describes the rights and duties of the landlord and the tenant. Part of the information is required by law. The rules depend on the type of accommodation --either furnished or empty.

Le garant (guarantor)

The guarantor is a person who undertakes to pay the tenant's debts to the landlord. In case the tenant doesn’t pay the rent and additional charges, the guarantor is required to pay them. The guarantor may be either a physical person or an organization.

Two organizations can deliver the certificate of guarantee:

  • Visale is a free guarantor for private or social housing or for collective housing (dormitories). The application is done online
  • Garantme is another possible guarantor. However, it is not free of charge.

Charges (additional charges)

Rental prices are indicated either excluding charges (HC or HT) and/or with charges included (CC or TCC). Monthly rental charges usually include building maintenance and rental taxes. Generally, these charges include cold water (ask for confirmation) and sometimes heating - this is called “collective heating”- as well a wifi access.

Le délai de préavis (notice period)

Before leaving your home, it is essential to notify the landlord within the time limit set by law, called “notice period”. This period is set at 1 month for rentals in Paris and its suburbs.The letter indicating your departure from the accommodation must be sent by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt (courrier recommandé avec accusé de réception). The landlord will be entitled to claim the months of rent you owe them.

The security deposit (dépôt de garantie)

The security deposit is a sum of money to be paid at the time of signing the lease. This sum is normally returned at the end of the lease unless there is damage to the accommodation. Its amount can vary between one or two months of rent depending on the type of home, lease...

L’état des lieux (inventory of fixtures)

These two documents are written on your first arrival at the accommodation (incoming inventory) and when you hand it over (outgoing inventory), in the presence of both the tenant and the landlord. The document describes precisely the general state of the apartment (cleanliness, electrical network, heating, wall paintings, floors, sanitary facilities, etc.). Be careful, the comparison of these two documents will be used as a reference to determine possible damage and determine responsibilities. The owner will decide on this basis to return all or part of the security deposit when you leave.

m2 (square meter)

Unit to calculate the living space. The loi Carrez is the name of the law detailing how to calculate living space in France.