Understanding the French housing benefits and the eligibility

Paris Attitude
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Before travelling to France, you must enquire about the country's culture and habits as well as the legal disposition and security schemes to facilitate the stay, especially in case of long term stay. The purpose of this article is to enlighten travelers for job, study, medical or other reasons on how to better understand housing benefits and eligibility in France.

First of all, we will present the french social security system, in the second part discuss the key principles and legalities of house renting and then how to conduct the application for housing subsidies.presentation of the French Security system

Presentation of the French social security system

According to the European commission, social security benefits include assistance with issues related to family, health, incapacity, old age and survivors, social assistance, unemployment, moving abroad.

The french social system is divided into five main parts:

  1. Sickness, maternity, paternity, disability and death;
  2. Accidents and occupational diseases;
  3. Family allowances;
  4. Unemployment benefits;
  5. Old-age pension's part.

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In this article, we will focus on the benefits related to the family allowances and particularly the housing system.

Definition of the CAF

The acronym CAF means Caisse des Allocations Familiales. Its role is to implement the family allowances' branch of the social security system. The institution can be contacted following the link:

Scope and coverage of the French housing system

The french housing system is a package of the social system which helps families with different services for:

  • Early childhood;
  • Nursery;
  • Education;
  • Holidays;
  • Family allowances;
  • Pregnancy benefits;
  • Housing benefits.

This is summed up in the table below:

The allowance


The amount


Early childhood benefits


Support during child birth or adoption


923,08 euros per child

Basic allowances


171,06 euros per month

Aid to the family to hire a licensed mother's assistant


Between 374,12 and 748,24 euros per month

Allowance for raising children at home


Between 134,13 and 530,72 euros per month

Parental education allowance


Between 256 and 350,92 euros per month




Family allowance


Between 119-125 euros per month, More for each child between the ages of 11-20

Family complement


155 euros per month

Allowance for parental presence


39-47 euros per day plus 101 euros per month


Back to school


Allowance for the new school year


286,01 euros, paid in September




Housing aid


Not Applied

Personalised housing aid


Not Applied

Bonus for moving house


898-973 euros, once

Aid for scholarship students who move house


300 euros once

Loan for improvement works to home


1 percent interest loan, maximum 1067,14 euros


Single or separated parent


Single parent allowance


Between 52,90 euros and 748,20 euros

Family support allowance


83,76 euros -111,68 euros per month

Recovery or unpaid alimony


CAF takes legal action to force the other parent to pay alimony


Handicapped adult or child


Allocation for the education of a handicapped child


Between 119,72 euros and 1999,82 euros per month

Allocation for handicapped adults


621,27 euros


Minimum salary


Minimum salary


440,86 euros - 925,81 euros per month

Prime returning to work


1 000 euros once


Key principles and legalities of house renting

principles and legalties of house renting in France

Moving to France is a grand adventure but the excitation can fall slightly once you start looking for a place to rent particularly in popular French cities where needs for rental accommodation are high. There are rules for renting house in France that a newcomer should be aware of before signing the rental contract.

This part of the article deals with the most important rules and the legal procedure of house renting in France.

Distinctions between Furnished (Short and long-term tenancies) and unfurnished renting (long-term tenancies)

When you decide to rent a house in France, you have to choose between two types of renting:

  1. Furnished renting;
  2. Unfurnished renting;

There is an important distinction between furnished and unfurnished renting in France. Each type of contract is governed by a law.

Furnished renting

According to government's legal definition, furnished means that the property must have bedding, stove, oven or microwave oven, fridge and freezer, crockery, kitchen utensils, tables and seats, storage shelves, lighting and housekeeping equipment.

There are two types of furnished letting:

  • Short-term furnished letting: this type of letting is great for holiday for the contract only last less than three months;
  • Long-term furnished letting: for this type of letting the contract period goes normally from three months to one year.

The contract can be renewed at the end of the contract period, unless notice has been given by either side.

The tenant must give one month's notice if he wishes to leave the property.

Meanwhile if the landlord does not wish to renew the contract, he must give the tenant a three month notice.

Unfurnished renting

This type of letting has a contract period that is at least of three years if the property owner is a person and six years if the property is owned by a company. It is a long-term contract.

The tenant has the absolute right to renew the contract. In case, he wishes to leave the property, he must give a three month notice by registered post or by a bailiff. This notice can be given at any time during the rental period.

The tenant's notice period can be reduced when:

  • There is a case of illness;
  • There is a job loss;
  • They are transferred to another place.

Meanwhile, the landlord is required to give a six month notice if he does not want to renew the contract. A negative response to the tenant's renewal right can only occur in exceptional circumstances:

  • If the landlord wishes to sell the property;
  • If there is a legitimate reason such as regular non-payment of rent or damage to the property;
  • If the landlord wishes to take it back for their personal use.

In case the landlord wants to sell the property, the tenant has the right of first refusal to buy it at the sale price the landlord has accepted. The tenant has two months to accept and proceed with the sale in case he does not proceed and the landlord accepts another offer at a lower price, the tenant has again the first right of refusal.

How to apply for housing subsidies

checklist to apply for house subsidies

Application for housing subsidies should be made to the CAF. There are mainly three types to which you can apply for:

  • « Aide personnalisée au logement » (APL);
  • « Allocation de logement familiale » (ALF);
  • « Allocation de logement sociale » (ALS).

If you do not fulfill the requirements for the APL, you can apply for the ALF. If you do not fulfill requirements for the ALF, you can apply for the ALS.

Who is eligible for the CAF subsidy?

Anyone living in France with dependent children – legitimate, illegitimate, fostered or adopted – is entitled to family benefits for their children up to the age of 20, if not working/earning under EUR 893.25 per month (or age 21 for housing and family income supplement).

However, you should have evidence documents showing that you rent or are the owner of a property and you meet requirements, stipulated on the CAF website, concerning:

  • Family status;
  • Place of residence;
  • Incomes/pensions;
  • The amount of rent or the amount to be repaid;
  • The respect of standards of comfort;
  • The standard of decency of accommodation.

Application process for Local housing benefits

For this purpose, you need to:

  • Create an account on the CAF website:
  • Fill an online form on the website and send it to CAF.
  • After completing the application, print and fill the form « attestation de loyer », which is a summary of the accommodation, the landlord and your personal details, and send it to CAF.

This will give you the right to receive a CAF card and a CAF number. And your housing subsidy will be paid for the next month after the application. However the funds would be available in your account two months after the request.

Specific cases of family situation changes in your CAF file

family situation changes in your CAF file

Case of pregnancy: Before the 14th week of pregnancy, you need to declare it to CAF or ask the nurse or medical doctor to do it online. You then have to show him your CAF card and your approval for use. Then, you will need to approve the transaction online and update your file on the space « my account », online (on

After delivery, you need to declare the birth of your child to CAF online (on

Change of domiciliation of bank account: You need to update your file in the « my account folder » online on the CAF website:

Change of address: If you are moving from a location to another, you have to make a new request to CAF since it depends on your accommodation. You may also ask for an allowance for moving from a place to another, with the bills and receipts of expenditures incurred within six months after you moved out (Transportation receipts, etc.).

Handicap: You need to set an appointment with CAF staff members before going to their offices.

You may request for the guide for handicapped people (visual deficiencies, etc.):

  • If you buy an accommodation: You need to update your file in the « my account folder » online on the CAF website: and apply for the APL (aide personnalisée au logement).
  • Retirement : You need to update your file in the « my account folder » online on the CAF website: and apply for the « allocation aux adultes handicapés » (Aah) or the « revenu de solidarité active » (Rsa).
  • Sudden unemployment situation: You need to update your file in the « my account folder » online on the CAF website: and apply for job at the institution that facilitates jobs finding: Pôle Emploi.
  • Death of husband / wife/concubine: You need to update your file in the « my account folder » online on the CAF website: and quickly call to inform the CAF.

The French social system has five main parts among which the family allowances system. This system is implemented by the CAF: Caisse des Allocations Familiales.

Among the requirements for traveling to France, whether to work, study, medical purpose or any other purpose, the housing issue is a very important one to solve. There are opportunities of renting furnished or unfurnished apartments on short or long term basis and even further to buy houses. However, this is regulated by strict laws which should be known.

In case the revenues are not sufficient to solve housing rental payments or buy out issues, the CAF can be of help. Whether APL, ALF, ALS, the procedure to be eligible is the same. The person needs to have and be able to show evidence of rent or ownership of a property.

Tips to remember:

    • The French social system is implemented by the CAF.
    • CAF can subscribe you to housing subsides: APL, ALF, ALS.
    • You have to match to the requirements to be eligible to the CAF (family status, place of residence, incomes/pension…).

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