Rental contracts in France usually require that people renting provide someone who can pay the rent if they cannot, which can be particularly difficult for foreigners. We look at how this system works and what the alternatives are.
Most apartment owners and agencies require a garant, or guarantor, even if the person looking to rent is on a long-term work contract (a CDI) and earns enough to pay for it.
This widespread practice is intended to protect property owners in the case of unpaid rent, and is often required by their insurance contracts.
However, this can prove a stumbling block for foreigners unfamiliar with French rental contracts.
Who can be a guarantor?
A guarantor can be anyone willing to vouch to pay your rent if you cannot.
However they must have income equal to at least three times the value of each month’s rent - and will need to prove this either through wage slips or their tax returns.
There are no rules saying that they must be French, but property owners and agencies will more readily accept a French one. This is to avoid potential legal complications with foreign administrations, banks and languages.
What if you cannot find a guarantor?
If your guarantor is not accepted or you cannot find one, there are options:
- Private guarantor companies: Some companies, including Cautioneo and Garantme, offer to act as guarantors with a service that essentially functions like an insurance agreement.
- The state guarantor: Visale, financed by the government’s Action Logement programme is available to foreigners older than 30 moving to France on work contracts of over six months, as well as all people aged under 30, irrespective of their work status. This scheme requires more paperwork than private companies, but is free.
- Bank guarantee: You can ask your bank to act as guarantor if you are solvable and have sufficient income. For a fee, the bank will place several months’ rent into an account and provide the property owner or agency with a declaration that it is your guarantor.
- Employer guarantee: Some companies (depending on their convention collective) can act as a guarantor. If you are moving to France for work, ask your company if they can do this.