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Finding housing in Lyon on your own

Some of the difficulties that students encounter when trying to rent an apartment revolve around the fact that most apartment owners require:
  • a year’s lease or a “garant” (a guarantor person from France or the European Union)
  • and a “caution” also called “dépôt de garantie” (deposit money).

Landlords are often reluctant to rent their flat for a short period of time like one or two semesters. In addition to the above, if you are using a rental agency, the fees are usually equivalent to one month’s rent. A rental agency can be trusted if they make you pay only once you have found an accommodation ; never pay just to have access to a list of offers.
Of course it is possible that you know a landlord who will not require that you rent for an entire year or who will not need a guarantee but, even when renting a dorm room, a deposit is required and housing insurance is required in all cases.

If you decide to find a place on your own, here are some helpful websites where you can search for people who are looking for a roommate or are renting their apartments:

Useful information when renting an apartment in Lyon:
  •  “Garant”: or guarantor will be requested by your landlord: it is a French or European Union person whose name will be on your rental contract and this person would have to certify that they will pay your rent for you in case you could not do so. If you cannot find a “garant”, your landlord may request that you pay all your rents at once in advance.
  • “Caution” or “dépôt de garantie”: This deposit is an amount of money equivalent to one (in case the flat is not furnished) or two month’s rent (in case the flat is furnished) which you pay in order to secure your booking. This money is held by the landlord as long as you live in the accommodation and is to be given back to you within 2 months after you have left. The landlord can withhold this money in the event that you leave your apartment before the contract expires or if damage or cleaning expenses are incurred.
  • Rental contract: (bail de location): this document is extremely important, both the landlord and you sign the rental contract, it has a legal value.
  • État des lieux: it is an inventory you do with the landlord on the first day when you arrive in your accommodation and on the very last day just before you leave. Together you check the state of your accommodation.
  • Keep in mind that after you have left: some or up to the whole amount of your deposit money can be withheld by the landlord if you have left things dirty or broken.
  • Your key: your accommodation key is given to you by your landlord when you have signed your rental contract and done the “état des lieux”. When you finish your rental contract you must hand in your key as soon as you have done the exit “état des lieux”.
  • Housing insurance (Assurance multirisque habitation): compulsory for anyone renting an accommodation in France. It may be requested that you show a proof that you purchased your housing insurance before you can get your key (like in residence Allix and Delessert). It has to be bought no later than 8 days after your arrival in your new home and you must show the proof of this insurance to your landlord. It will cover burglary, fire, water damage, liability insurance… But remember: you need to lock your room door at all times (and leave your windows shut when you leave) even if you have bought housing insurance.
  • “Charges”: are service charges which you may have to pay on top of the rent price. These may include expenses for the use and maintenance of a lift, if there is a caretaker, for the care of the garbage… 
  • Always check if there are “charges” to be added to the price of the rent.
  • Electricity and water: check in our information in the housing booklet provided by service logement or on your rental contract whether they are included with the price of your rent..
  • In France rents must be paid at the beginning of each month. Each time a full month is to be paid (even if you move in after the 1st day of the month or move out before the last day of the month).
  • Noise: wherever you will be living you will have to make sure you keep the noise level to a minimum, especially between 10pm and 7am.
  • Leaving notice: depending on the rental contract you have, and in order to end your rental contract, you have to send your landlord a registered letter from 1 to 3 months before you leave your accommodation. 
  • Taxe d’habitation (Housing tax): the payment of this tax will be requested from the French Tax Services from anyone who has a rental contract valid on January 1st. No matter how long you are staying in your accommodation. The taxe d’habitation is usually sent a few months later and is payable before the end of December of the same year. Its amount is more or less equivalent to one month rent.
Only rooms at French families’, CROUS residence halls, Maison St Laurent and Maison St Bernard are not concerned by the housing tax.