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Private accommodation

The local rental market

In the private sector, it is not always easy to find an apartment, whether furnished or not. In Lyon, the rental market is particularly competitive, that’s why you have to spend a considerable amount of time, and start looking as soon as possible before the start of the academic year (September to November).

You have to put together a comprehensive rental application and find a guarantor, if necessary.

In general, consider bringing a full application with you when you visit an apartment. There is no point submitting an application before you visit an apartment, but it is a good idea to submit it quickly after you visit, or even during the visit.

Real estate agencies and listing websites

If you want to find an apartment in the private sector, you either have to visit a real estate agency or go through listing websites.

Real estate agencies

Lyon has over 300 real estate agencies that specialize in apartment rentals.

If you want to live in a particular neighborhood of Lyon or another town, it is a good idea to contact agencies in these neighborhoods.

Listing websites

Espace Ulys has an accommodation platform on which you can contact landlords directly. To access it, register for our services.

You will find listings from private landlords or real estate agencies. The main websites are:

Certain websites specialize in shared accommodation:

  • Important, never transfer money to visit or reserve apartments, anyone who asks you to do so is most likely a scammer
  • Beware of prices that are below market rates, as this can sometimes conceal a problem.
  • Do not transfer money before visiting the apartment and signing the rental agreement.
  • Consider extending your search to neighboring towns (East of Lyon: Villeurbanne, Bron, Vénissieux, Saint Priest, etc. - West: Oullins, Ecully, Tassin, etc.)
  • You can also find private accommodation listings on your campus


In France, landlords or real estate agencies usually require a guarantor for your accommodation.
A guarantor is a person who agrees to pay your rent if you fail to do so. A company with which you have signed a contract can also act as a guarantor.
All real estate agencies accept physical guarantors residing in France, and some accept guarantors in the form of insurance policies.

VISALE guarantee

Visale is a free public service which acts as a guarantor for students and researchers who are under the age of 31 at the time of applying.
This is accepted by all student residences, the CROUS, but rarely by real estate agencies.


GarantMe is a company that acts as your guarantor through an insurance policy. Some agencies accept this. You must ensure beforehand that this guarantee will be accepted by the agency before paying for the guarantor insurance policy.

 Unpaid Rent Guarantee

Some apartments are subject to an unpaid rent guarantee. This is an insurance policy taken out by the landlord to ensure that he/she always receives the rent, even if the tenant fails to pay.
The downside of this is stricter selection criteria, in some cases you must:
  • Have a long-term employment contract (at least two years)
  • Have a salary equal to at least three times the amount of the rent

Putting together your rental application

You need to have a rental application to find the apartment of your dreams in Lyon. Some documents are the same for each agency, but it is always a good idea to ask your agency or landlord for the list of documents required.
In general you must have:
  • A copy of your passport. If possible, a copy of our residence permit.
  • A copy of your employment contract in France or a scholarship certificate. If you have been working for several months in France, your last three pay slips.
  • A document showing the amount of rent you previously paid (even if abroad), or proving the value of your property if you are a homeowner abroad.
  • A copy of your last tax return (even if abroad).
  • Your guarantor file:
    • If you have a physical guarantor, documents similar to your own file (identity document, three latest wage slips, last tax return). Important, your guarantor may have to be present when you sign the rental agreement. If you have a Visale or Garantme guarantor, your guarantor certificate. 

When visiting apartments, always take a rental application with you to submit during your visit if you are interested in renting the apartment. Some agencies prefer you to send the documents by email or via their website. In this case, submit the documents promptly after your visit.