Housing Renting

Renting dossier

During the process of applying to be a landlord’s next tenant, you will be asked for a renting dossier. The renting dossier is designed to give all the information about you in a select few documents that will confirm if you are legally able to become a tenant and in the position to finance your tenancy.

What is a renting dossier ?

A dossier is a collection of documents about yourself and your personal situation. It covers everything from your finances to your employment and rental history, and any contingencies your landlord must know about you.

What do you need for a renting dossier?

The most commonly requested documents are the following :

  1. ID / Passport
  2. Job Contract
  3. Last 3 payslips
  4. Last year’s tax return
  5. Bank Account number
  6. Guarantor(s)
  7. Last 3 rent receipts

Good to have for a Dossier:

  1. CDI
  2. Earn 3x the rent

Good to know : Normally, once successfully catching a landlord’s attention and maybe even after the viewing, these documents will be requested, however in highly competitive areas such as metropolitan Paris it is a good idea to send the documents directly with the first application – apartments can be rented in the space of 30 minutes if you are too slow. 

Let’s break it down:

DocumentPurposeGood to Know💡
ID / PassportTo verify your identityMake sure it’s valid!
Job ContractTo prove you are employed, what type of contract you have and your incomeLandlords prefer having tenants with a CDI and that you have passed your probation period. They also prefer if you earn 3x the rental amount.
Last 3 PayslipsTo prove you have an active incomeYour payslips should be consecutive and consistent.
Last year’s tax returnTo prove you are following the law and paying your taxesIf you have not paid your taxes yet, proof of having a tax ID number should be enough (link to tax piece)
Bank Account Number (RIB)To prove you have a bank account and the means to transfer the rentSome landlords verify with the bank if you are a reliable customer
Guarantor(s)Some landlords request that the guarantor has a French bank account. Also be aware that your guarantors will need to provide all these documents to the landlord. If you don’t have a guarantor you can explore options such as the Visale (scroll down) or paid services such as
Last 3 rent receiptsProof that you are a paying tenant.This is not a common request, you can negotiate this.

How do I create a Dossier?

My preferred method of sending a dossier is using Dossier Facile – they not only check that I have the correct documents, but also watermark them. So, potentially rogue landlords or criminals who just want access to your private information cannot steal it. It’s also completely free to use.

The alternative is to submit a file with paper copies of all your documents directly to the landlord, or in digital form as email attachment or with a WeTransfer file.

I don’t have a Guarantor

This is a big topic, especially for foreigners moving to France. You have several options, the most sought after Guarantor is a French citizen who earns 4x the amount of your rent, with a bank account in France, preferably related to you. 

Another option is using a company such as Garantme to pay them to act as your Guarantor. It’s easy to sign up and depending on your rent, you’re looking at 200€ – 500€ a year for their services.

If you have no funds or connections and are under 30 years old, there is the Visale.The Visale is a free service by Action Logement for young people in France who do not have a guarantor. Simply visit their website and see if you are eligible, if you are, apply and get confirmed in sometimes less than 15 minutes – it’s very easy and can be a lifesaver.

Fun Legal Facts: 

Sometimes the listings you apply to are fake, to collect personal data such as the content of a dossier – protect yourself by using watermarks and keeping track of where you send your info.

Here are the documents a potential landlord can not ask you for by law since June 6th 1989 and January 17th 2002:

  • A copy of your Carte Vitale
  • A copy of your bank account
  • Any documentation relating to your bank account status
  • Any documentation relating to your loans
  • A direct debit authorisation
  • Your marriage contract or PACS (pacte civil de solidarité) contract
  • Your medical files
  • Your criminal background 
Essential Housing Renting

Renting in France

Renting in France can be a dirty business, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. From rogue landlords charging 800€ for a 16m2 apartment with the toilet next to your oven. Or those telling you that’s normal to submit your dossier for a place just to later find out your identity has been stolen. We’re here to make sure to teach you the ropes for a successful experience!

When should I start looking for a

place to live

I would recommend you start looking up renting in France 3 months before your move to find something nice. Option 2 is to find something, move, and then find the final apartment you want to stay at from there.

Depending on your financial situation you can look for an apartment/house on your own, research the worlds of flatshares. You can also look for “free” accommodation, mostly in exchange for small services like childcare or custodial duties.

4 Steps to your new home :

Step 1: Know what you are looking for

This ranges from knowing what type of property you are looking for (flat, studio, house) to which city (Lyon, Toulouse, Lille) all the way to which district of this city. It all helps narrow down your search and be specific. You’ll be able to set up search alerts and get a feel for what is out there, and how much it can cost you. Do you want to share or live alone, do you have pets, do you need to be close to public transport – make a list, your future self will thank you!

Step 2: Go on the Hunt

There are countless websites where you can search for renting in France, but I’ll start with the most valuable one first, as it has helped me find my dream apartment :

You sign up, plug in what you are looking for, and it will dispatch little robots to all renting websites and send you only those that match what you are looking for – priceless.

It’s probably the most classic website most people will refer to

Careful with this one, it’s the gumtree/craigslist of France, so you’re likely to run into scams.

There are countless more, but the above are “the classics” and always a safe bet.

Shared accomodations

If you are looking to join a flashare, there are several ways to do this

  • Facebook – there will be a group for the place you are looking for, find it and join it
  • Word of Mouth – someone will always know someone who is looking for a flatmate – just be sure to tell people you’re looking so you become an option. If you work in an office or go to university you’ll probably have plenty of people looking to match up.
  • Here are some websites where you can also sign up and see if you find a flatmate :


La carte des colocs


Step 3: Apply

Bear in mind that the housing market is super competitive. Speed and precision are your best friends. The best strategy is to go on the hunt with your Dossier already ready to send. Once you find a place you like, the landlord will look upon your application more favourably than someone who will first ask 20 questions. You can always ask questions later, before signing a contract. In cities like Paris it’s not unusual to have hundreds of candidates for one apartment, so if you don’t get this one, don’t take it personally, it’s completely normal. Some landlords will ask for a Guarantor which we cover in this article, and it’s better to have a bank account set up already so you can prove you can automatically pay rent. 

Step 4: Move & Set Up

If you are successful in your search, you will pay a deposit and sign your rental contract. Remember to clarify the situation about the energy bills. We advise to take these matters into your own hands (just in case). Once you have the keys, you can get started – our Moving Day Checklist is an amazing help (we think). 

The most pressing items are to get yourself set up with internet & energy, there are French startups such as Papernest who make this easy for you and help with the transition. 

Tips and tricks

  • Furnished and Unfurnished Apartments are treated differently – read more about it in our contract section (link to contract section)
  • Furnished apartments legally need to be equipped with a bed + bedding, a table and seating, storage shelves, lighting, a fridge, freezer, crockery and kitchen utensils.