French Language Blog

Apartment hunting in France: the dreaded ‘dossier’ Posted by on Jul 29, 2021 in Culture, Language

Coucou! 👋

Apartment hunting in France is underway for me and the difficulty is more than I had imagined. I have started to put together the dreaded ‘dossier‘ (file) which many agencies and landlords require before you even look at an apartment.

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.

You’ll need to make a lot of les photocopies and they may need to be recto verso (double sided):

Les documents obligatoires pour louer un logement :

  • Photocopie de votre carte d’identité (ou de votre passeport).
  • Trois derniers bulletins de salaire (si l’on est salarié) ou deux derniers bilans (si l’on est un travailleur indépendant)
  • Justificatif de domicile

Mandatory documents to rent an apartment:

  • Photocopy of your identity card (or your passport)
  • Three last pay slips (if you are employed) or last two account statements (if you are self-employed)
  • Proof of address

Les documents facultatifs :

  • Dernier avis d’imposition 
  • Carte d’étudiant
  • Carte de séjour
  • Attestation d’employeur 
  • R.I.B. (Relevé d’identité bancaire)
  • Quittances de loyer de la précédente location

Optional documents:

  • Last tax documents
  • Student card
  • Residence permit
  • Proof of work
  • Banking information
  • Rent receipts from the previous rental

Le propriétaire n’est pas en droit d’exiger certains documents tels que : 

  • Carte VITALE
  • Photocopie de compte bancaire
  • Attestation de bonne tenue du compte bancaire
  • Attestation d’absence de crédit, autorisation de prélèvement automatique
  • Contrat de mariage 
  • Dossier médical personnel
  • Extrait de casier judiciaire

The owner is not entitled to demand certain documents such as:

  • VITALE card (health insurance card)
  • Photocopy of bank account
  • Certificate of good standing with your bank
  • Certificate of absence of credit, automatic debit authorization
  • Marriage certificate
  • Personal medical record
  • Criminal record


On top of all this paperwork, you may be asked for un garant.

C’est à votre garant, c’est-à-dire à la personne qui se portera caution pour vous que votre propriétaire demandera de payer votre loyer si vous êtes dans l’incapacité de le faire. It is up to your co-signer, that is the person who will act as a guarantor, who your landlord will ask to pay your rent if you are unable to do so.


Souhaitez-moi bonne chance. Wish me luck. 🤞


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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Joseph T Madawela:

    merci et bonne chance

  2. Nicola:

    Bonne chance

  3. Chris:

    Thank you! This was helpful and surprisingly timely as I start preparing for a move to Geneva (or to surrounding France, as the case may be). Bonne chance à vous!

    • Bridgette:

      @Chris Good luck Chris! 🙂