Finding An Apartment In Paris: The Guarantor Challenge And The VISALE Option

Written By: Expat challenger

The Amelie Poulain dream


Did you know that France is ranked as one of the top destinations for expatriation but is one of the hardest countries to get settled in (52nd out of 67 according to Internations’ 2016 survey) ? That means that life is great there but only once you have gone through the first month's arrival process.

One of the main challenges is to find an apartment and in Paris, this step can rapidly become a nightmare. Some expats even say that it is easier to secure a job than a place to live in Paris.

In addition to the difficulties of finding an apartment in Paris, there are the lack of available properties on the market (liquidity) which creates a fierce competition between potential tenants when an apartment is available.

Is this your dream of Paris ?

One of the main ways to be competitive when looking for an accommodation is to be able to quickly fill out the paperwork requirements which are commonly asked by landlords. This includes :

- Proof of your recurrent revenues (if you want to avoid paying 1 year of rent upfront). Landlords usually ask for the last 3 (if not 6) payslips.

- Having a French-based guarantor to support your application and who will take a commitment to cover the unpaid rents on your behalf.

This is a bit absurd when you come from abroad and this is why 70% of foreign newcomers or expats in Paris found that the biggest challenge to secure an accommodation was to get a deposit or the appropriate guarantor (« Expatriates in France, tell us about your life » survey).

How do you manage this when you are new in town with your family?

If you are a corporate transferee, these issues should be easy to overcome as your company will support you. But if you come on your own and you are a student, a recent graduate without 10 years of payslips with you, or an entrepreneur, things can get complicated rapidly.

France has developed some social policies and organizations that support people who are looking for accommodation. One is called the VISALE service, developped by ACTION LOGEMENT. It is not well known but it actually works according to some relocation professionals.

Here is some information to understand a bit more what they offer.

What is Action Logement ?

ACTION LOGEMENT is a French public association which basically collects a tax from all private companies employing more than 20 employees. The first goal of Action Logement is to facilitate access to housing for workers and future workers and to ease their mobility.

So with the tax collected from companies, ACTION LOGEMENT has set up a number of services and financial supports for individuals. And it’s free…

What is VISALE?

Action Logement has been recently developing a service called Visale (VISA pour le Logement et l’Emploi) which is set up to help young people and employees who need to secure an accommodation but don’t have the expected financial guaranties.

1. What does VISALE offer ? No need for French-based guarantor: if the tenant and the landlord register, then VISALE will guarantee unpaid rents on your behalf (which replaces the guarantee) for a period of 3 years.

2. Who can benefit from VISALE? Young people under 30 (employed, unemployed or student) and employees above 30, hired for less than 6 months, under certain conditions of rent amount.

3. Is it open to newcomers and expats? YES. We have contacted directly Action Logement and the good news is that foreigners can benefit from VISALE under these conditions:

  • For UE/EE residents, a simple passport or ID card from home country will be required
  • For non UE/EE residents, a Resident permit (or valid work VISA) OR a Student permit (or valid VISA) will be required

How do I start?

The process is quite easy, the first step is to register online at and fill the application online. There is a 2 days commitment to analyze the application and provide an answer to the applicant.

It's worth trying it and it doesn’t cost anything.

So expats in Paris, go ahead and share you feedback on our FB page.


Newcomers ? Expats ? Looking for support to get settled in Paris ? Our Xperts at airXpat are here to support :

- Jessica

- Montse

- Marielle

Don’t forget also to register to airXpat’s newsletter !

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Finding an apartment in Paris
  • Student
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  • Arriving & getting settled
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Relocating to Paris can seem like a daunting task for expatriates. I can...

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