Did you know that you could be eligible for monthly housing benefits whilst living in France? Read on to find out more:
Housing in France
Lyon is France’s third biggest city, making it a fairly expensive place to live. Renting a room in the city centre costs around 550 euros per month. This is a big expense to be adding to the monthly budget, especially for students. France, however, has a housing allowance system in place to support low-earners (often young professionals and students) with their rent.
What is the CAF?
The CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales), established in 1945, is a government agency that operates at a regional level, providing financial assistance to families and individuals across the country.
For example, the housing benefit, known as Aide Personnalisée au Logement (APL), is a crucial component of CAF's offerings. APL is rental assistance provided by the CAF for qualifying individuals. If successful in your application, you can receive as much as €180 per month for a room in a shared flat or €206 per month for a studio, to contribute to your accommodation costs. For example, the My English Sister salary is approximately €600 per month; previous employees have received between €80-105 per month to contribute to their accommodation fees.
The amount you will receive is tailored to each individual and their financial situation. To estimate how much you could be eligible for, click the link below and complete the online simulation. Bear in mind that this is only an estimate and is not necessarily the exact amount you will receive.
The processing time for APL applications can be lengthy, due to the high number of applicants, but remains a useful resource for students and young professionals. The application process is free and requires certain supporting documents.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for APL you, and the property you are renting, must meet the following requirements:
Financial situation: The CAF considers the financial situation of the applicant, taking into account factors such as income, family composition, and housing expenses. You must pay rent and have little (normally considered around a maximum of €10,000 annually) or no income. If you are a student, you will most likely have a low income and therefore qualify. 'Alternance’ students, Master’s students and apprentices can also apply for APL.
Legal Residence: Applicants must legally reside in France. Non-EU nationals must have a valid visa; you cannot apply for APL without one.
Property eligibility: Next, the property you are renting must be signed up for and eligible for APL and be located on French territory. The property must also be your main residence. You must check that you qualify for APL with your landlord and/or agency. It is also required that the rental contract is in your name, this means that if you sublet an apartment or room it will not be eligible for APL. Furthermore, you must not be related to the owner of the property you are renting in any way.
French bank account: You must have a French bank account in your name. The payments will be made into this account on a monthly basis.
How to apply?
To apply, you simply go online to the CAF website and fill in the online application form.
The application is to be completed in the French Language. You will need:
Passport or valid piece of identification
Valid visa (if required)
French social security number
Attestation de loyer (rental contract)
Landlord details and information
French Bank Identifier Code (RIB)
Further documentation may be requested by the CAF such as your birth certificate, proof of student status or resource letter.
For an in depth application process guide, check out the videos below:
The process can take weeks or sometimes months, especially during months such as September when all the students are moving into accommodation. However, this is normal and you will receive the funds from the month after you applied. For example, if you applied in September you will be entitled to APL from October onwards.
Apply as soon as you source your accommodation and secure a contract, as the process is lengthy and it could take a while before you receive regular payments.