Expatriates in Paris

Is it legal to ask for a Guarantor to rent an apartment in Paris ?

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Legal requirements for a guarantor for renting an apartment in Paris

Many young professionals, sometimes already in couples, flock to the rental market every year. The demand is strong.

However, despite good employment contracts, landlords' usual request for the potential tenant to have a salary equivalent to 3 or even four times the rent amount is rarely reached in the first job. The coveted apartment owner is also fully entitled to request additional guarantees, in this case, a "guarantor." 

For both empty rented rentals and furnished rentals, the demand for a rental guarantor is increasingly practiced. 

Role and definition of guarantor in rental real estate

A Guarantor, also called "bail," maybe a natural person or a legal entity (company, dedicated organization, or a bank). 

Whatever the case, the "Guarantor" undertakes to pay the rent and rental charges in place of the tenant, if the latter does not fulfill his obligations.

Rental guarantor terminology :

  • Guarantor (caution): a person who vouches for another person and agrees in advance to pay in his place if he/she defaults.
  • Surety (cautionnement): a contract by which the Guarantor makes this commitment.

Tips for finding a guarantor for renting an apartment in Paris

Ideally, you should have found your guarantor even before you start looking for accommodation. The potential tenant who presents himself with a "warrant" - a guarantor - is more likely to get the apartment of his choice than a candidate with no endorsement.

Personal guarantor: criteria and implications for rentals

If the future tenant chooses to take a person as a "guarantor," he would turn to his relatives, parents, aunts or uncles, long-time friends, etc. Anyone can vouch for someone else. However, the guarantor must be in a reliable economic situation. Their income must largely exceed four times the guaranteed rent since they must face their obligations too.

For an expatriate who want to rent an apartment in Paris, contacting his foreign family or foreign friends is quite possible; however, the guarantor must reside in France for the guarantee to be valid. Indeed, in the event of unpaid bills, it is almost impossible to sue a guarantor abroad.

Institutional guarantor: how it works and the benefits for tenants

It is easier to find a guarantor "legal entity", but it comes at a cost! 
There are several kinds of bailing organization. Here are some of them:

  • The Garantme company: very well organized, speaking many languages, the Garantme team can provide a guarantee in less than 24 hours. 
  • The Paribas bank provides a Jeun'Appart Offer for 18 - 25 year Announcement · www.mabanque.bnpparibas /Jeun
  • The'Appart offer allows you to benefit from a housing deposit and the financing of the security deposit.
  • The Employer Company of future tenants can act as a guarantor for its employees, expatriates, or not.
  • The Visale deposit is provided by Action Logement, which acts as a guarantor for the tenant in case of unpaid rents. A.L. pays the rent to the owner, but the tenant will have to settle his debt with Action Logement.
  • Bank guarantee: Finally, taking out a bank guarantee is always possible. We talk about a bank guarantee because the banks stand surety for the tenant and ask him in parallel from 6 to 36 months of rent in general. This amount is blocked in an escrow account for the rental duration at the cost of 0.5% to 1.5%, plus the initial administration fees. The sum brings forth interests, but once all expenses are deducted, it amounts to little yield.

The importance of having a guarantor in the rental process in France: what you need to know

The Guarantor of the rental must measure the commitment that his bond represents. To stand surety for a tenant is to settle his debts if he were to stop paying his rent. Indeed, according to the clauses of the surety bond, the surety may cover all the sums due by the defaulting tenant, namely rents, charges, taxes and duties, rental repairs, occupancy compensation, and interest. And this, over the entire rental period, if nothing is specified. Therefore, to stand surety for someone is a massive commitment of consequences.

Documents required for a guarantor: complete list and details

It is normal to check the creditworthiness of the person acting as surety. However, a decree lists the requested documents allowed. https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/loda/article_lc/LEGIARTI000022962988/2010-10-24/
 Thus, decree n ° 2015-1437 of November 5, 2015 sets:

  • the list of supporting documents that may be required from candidates rental (example: French or foreign national identity card, French or foreign passport, French or foreign driving license);
  • - the list of supporting documents that may be required from their guarantors (for physical person bonds: the French or foreign national identity card, the French or foreign passport, or the French or foreign driving license).

Legal requirements relating to the obligations of guarantors' spouses in a rental contract

It all depends on the matrimonial regime:

  • Suppose the Guarantor is married under the legal regime (community reduced to acquests), and the spouse has not expressly agreed to the surety. In that case, the Guarantor only commits his assets and income. If the spouse has given their express consent, their assets are not engaged, but all common assets are (article 1415 of the civil code). 
  • If the Guarantor is married under the regime of separation of property, he only engages his property and income, and his spouse is not pursued.

Understanding guarantees in lease contracts

The Guarantor's commitment must appear in a written act co-signed by three parties: the tenant, the lessor, and the Guarantor. There are two forms of written commitment:

  • "privately signed" deed (acte sous seing privé), ie, established directly between the parties 
  • "authentic" deed (acte authentique), ie, drawn up by a notary

Finally, the Guarantor has the choice between two sureties (bonds): 

The "simple" surety (caution simple):

When there is a simple surty involved, the owner will call on the rental Guarantor only if the tenant is not able to settle his rental debts, and after having contacted the tenant, first.

The "joint surety" (caution solidaire):

When there is a joint surety involved, the owner can appeal directly to the Guarantor - from the 1st unpaid rent- without going through the tenant. In practice, it is often the type of deposit that the lessor chooses.

Caution: The surety bond must specify its duration. Indeed, when it does not specify any time or if it is stipulated for an indefinite period, the Guarantor may terminate it. The termination takes effect at the end of the rental contract, and the surety cannot be extended to the period of tacit renewal or renewal of the lease.

Responsibilities and obligations of the owner towards the rental guarantor

NON-CUMULATION WITH AN UNPAID RENT INSURANCE: If the lessor has taken out an Unpaid Rent Guarantee, he cannot ask the tenant for a rental guarantor, unless the latter is a student.

If you're a freelancer, an independent entrepreneur, a student or on a CDD work contract, and you'd like to find out how to obtain a rental guarantor to rent an apartment in Paris, don't hesitate to read this guide - Renting in Paris for freelancers & students without a CDI: tips and advice.

Credits photo @Cytonn Photography