In order to guarantee housing accessibility to everyone, the French state has implemented a system of housing aid. Depending on your type of housing, your income and your family makeup, you may qualify for financial assistance meant to reduce your rent amount.
In France, housing aid is overseen by the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF, family allowance office). It is to the CAF that you must submit your allowance request and it is this agency that will determine, based on your dossier, if you are eligible for housing assistance and if so determine the appropriate allowance amount. The CAF's criteria are too extensive to allow us to here provide the diverse housing aid amounts. However, you can use the CAF allowance calculator to estimate your allowance, if any.
If you are granted housing aid, it will be paid starting the following month. For this reason, we advise you to apply for such assistance as soon as your move into your new lodging. Please note that housing allowances are generally paid directly to the owner of the property. If this is the case for you, your rent will fall as a result. The specific allowance amount is re-evaluated each year during the month of January.
Several types of housing allowances exist. Such allowances are non-cumulative: only one allowance may be attributed at any one time. The CAF will determine, based on your dossier, the allowance for which you are eligible.
APL (personalized housing aid)
Aide Personnalisée au Logement (APL) is housing aid made available to persons living in APL-certified housing (see box to the right), under certain conditions. APL-certified housing can be furnished or non-furnished accommodation rented from a private owner, a university residence, a private residence, a hostel for younger workers or a hotel. In all cases, it must represent your principal residence in France.
ALF (family housing aid)
The Allocation de Logement à caractère Familial (ALF) is family housing aid for those persons ineligible for APL assistance and who:
- Have children (or are parents-to-be).
- Married less than 5 years ago, prior to each spouse's 40th birthday.
ALF assistance is also attributed according to your income and your family situation. These income ceilings vary depending on the makeup of your family and the geographic situation of your lodging.
ALS (social housing aid)
The Allocation de Logement Social (ALS) is social housing aid for those persons ineligible for both the APL and the ALF. Its amount is generally slightly inferior to the first two allowance systems.
You may be eligible for ALS assistance if your income does not exceed a certain amount. These income ceilings vary depending on your family makeup and the geographic situation of your lodging.