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Private accommodation

The private rental market

Finding an apartment, furnished or not, in the private sector is not easy. In Lyon, the rental market is particularly tight, so take your search seriously.
It is important to create a comprehensive rental dossier and have a guarantee if necessary.
We recommend taking a comprehensive application with you when you visit. There is no point submitting an application before visiting an apartment, but it is a good idea to submit it quickly after a visit, or even during the visit.

Real estate agencies and listing websites

For apartments in the private sector, go to a real estate agency or one of the listing websites.

Listing websites

You can find ads from private owners and agency listings. The two main ones are:

Be careful: never transfer money to visit or book apartments. These are usually scams



In France, it is common for real estate agencies and student residences to request a guarantor.

This is a person who agrees to pay your rent if you do not. It can also be a company with which you have a contract.

All real estate agencies accept individual guarantors, some accept insurance guarantees.

VISALE guarantee

Visale is a free public service that provides guarantees for students and researchers under 31 years of age.
It is accepted by all student residences and CROUS, but rarely by real estate agencies.


GarantMe is a company that provides guarantees through an insurance contract. It is accepted by some agencies. Make sure that this guarantee will be accepted by the agency before paying for the insurance contract.

 Unpaid Rent Guarantee

Some apartments are subject to unpaid rent guarantees. This is an insurance policy taken by the owner to ensure they always receive the rent, even in case of non-payment.

These often involve stricter selection criteria than researchers can satisfy:
  • Long-term employment contract (at least two years).
  • Salary equal to at least three times the amount of the rent.

Creating your rental application

Your rental application is essential for obtaining the apartment of your dreams in Lyon. Some documents are the same from one agency to another, but it is always a good idea to ask your agency or the owner about the list of documents required.
In general you should include:
  • A copy of your passport. Your residence permit if possible.
  • 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 payslips.
  • A document proving the amount of your last rent (even if abroad) or proving the value of your home if you own one abroad.
  • A copy of your last tax receipt (even if foreign).
  • Your guarantee dossier:
    • If an individual guarantor, documents similar to yours (ID, last three payslips, last tax notice). Note, the guarantor must be present at the signing of the lease.
    • If you are using Visale or Garantme, your guarantee certificate.
When visiting apartments, always take an application with you to hand over at the time of the visit if you are interested. Some agencies prefer that you send the documents by email or via their website. In this case, do this as soon as possible after the visit.