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Renting Property in France: A Glossary of Helpful Terms

The intricate nature of renting property in France can make the task a bit daunting to relocating expats. The glossary below is designed to be a resourceful guide, providing explanations for frequently-used words, terms and phrases within the rental property realm. We hope you find it helpful.


Agence Immobilière – Real estate agency

A Louer – To rent

Art Deco – Buildings from the 1920-1930s

Arrière Cuisine – Pantry

Ascenseur – Lift or elevator

Assurance d’habitation – Housing insurance which includes your civil liability insurance

à Vendre – To sell / for sale

Avis d’échéance – Rental invoice

Avis d’imposition – Tax bill


Banlieur – Suburbs

Bail – Rental contract

Bailleur – Landlord

Balcon – Balcony

Ballon d’eau chaude – Separate hot water tank

Bon état – In good condition

Bon de Visite – Visit Certificate (Some agencies, even for rentals, will ask you to sign a certificate that you have visited a property with them)

Box – Closed garage used to park a car or store items

Buanderie – Laundry room

Bulletins de salaire – payslips

Bureau – Office


Carte d’identité – ID card

Caution – This usually refers to a co-signer

Cave – Basement or cellar (for storage)

CC or Charges Comprises – Included Charges. If you see the “CC” term after the rental price, the rental price includes building charges. You may also see the rent listed as a price. In that case, the “HC” term (Hors Charges) means the rental price excludes building charges.

Charges Locatives – The portion of the building charges that the tenant shall pay

Chambre – Bedroom

Chaudière – Heater

Chauffage – Heating

Chauffage Central – Central heating

Chauffe-Eau –  Individual water tank

Cheminée – Fireplace

Claire – Bright, well-lit

Classification F or T – Classification F refers to function. Classification T refers to type. The two terms are now used indifferently. We mostly use T to describe the number of rooms. A T3 classification refers to a three-room apartment. Classifications always exclude the kitchen, bathroom and WC.

Clause Particulière – Conditions particular to your lease

Climatisation – Air conditioning

Concierge – Caretaker, who usually lives on site,

Contrat de travail – Work Contract

Co-Locataire – Co-renters

Cour  – Courtyard

Cuisine Américaine – The term “American kitchen” refers to an open kitchen plan, where the kitchen is an integral part of the living room and not separated with a door

Cuisine équipée – the kitchen has been equipped with cupboards

Cuisine équipée et aménagée – the kitchen has been equipped with cupboards and kitchen appliances

Cuisine Independante – Kitchen is separate and can be closed with a door


Dépendence –  Outbuilding

Dépôt de Garantie – Security Deposit

Devis – Cost Estimate

Digicode – Keypad door access

Dossier de Candidature – Rental application documents

Double Vitrage – Double-Glazed Windows

Douche Italienne – Walk-In Shower

Durée du Contrat – Rental Period

Dupleix – Apartment with two levels and an inside staircase


Ensoleillé – Sunny

Entrée – Entrance

étage –  Floor

étage Noble – The noble floor of a building was the most prestigious floor of a building at the time of construction (higher ceilings, etc.)

état des lieux – Walk-throughs (also referred to as the initial walk-through (état des lieux d’entrée) and final walk-through (état des lieux de sortie))

Evier – Kitchen sink

Exposition – Light exposure


Frais d’agence – Real estate agency fees

Fiche de Renseignements – Real estate agency form to submit with your dossier

Foyer – Fireplace (insurance companies will ask if you have a “foyer ouvert” (open hearth) or a “foyer fermé” (closed hearth), depending on the type of chimney duct


Galarie d’Entrée – Entry hall

Gare – Train station

Garant – Co-signer or Guarantor (some landlords may request this)

Garantie des Loyers Impayés or GLI – Insurance policy that covers landlords in the event of unpaid rent by their tenants

Guttière – Gutter


Haie – hedge

Haussmann – A type of architectural building style invented by Baron Haussmann in the mid-19th century

Hors Taxe or HT – Price, not including sales tax

Honoraires d’Agence – Real estate agency fees


Jardin – Garden

Justificatif de domicile – Proof of residence (usually in the form of a recent gas or electricity bill, must be dated less than 3 months)


Kitchenette – Small kitchen

Lavabo – Wash basin (as in the guest bath or guest WC)


Lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception or LRAR –  Registered letter with receipt of delivery

Libre de Suite – Available immediately

Locateur – Tenant

Location – Property for rent

Loft – Apartment created in an old warehouse or workshop

Logement – Accommodations

Loyer – Rent

Lu et approuvé – Text preceding your signature on official documents, confirming that you have “read and approved”.


Mandataire – Third-party who has a mandate to sign the lease or manage the property on behalf of the landlord

Maison – House

Mansarde – Slant of the roof which is more vertical than other roofs, allowing for more space in the rooms

Meubles – Furniture

Meublé – Furnished

Mezzanine – Apartment with a separate living space accessible by stairs or a ladder, usually not a closed space

Moderne – Any building from the 1960s onward is considered “modern” in real estate jargon.

Moquette – Carpeting

Mur – Wall


Obligations du Locataire – Tenant obligations as per the lease

Obligations du Bailleur – Landlord obligations as per the lease


Parties Communes –  Communal areas of the building (such as staircase, landings, courtyard, elevator, foyer)

Point de hongrie – Herringbone (referring to the classic French way of laying parquet wood floors)

Préavis – Notice period

Prelèvement Automatique – Direct debit

Pièce – Room (Advertisements include only living spaces and bedrooms larger than 9 m2 in the number of rooms).  A room larger than 40m2 is considered to be two rooms (for insurance purposes).

Pièces de Reception – Receiving rooms

Pierre de Taille – Limestone or flat-stone buildings

Placard – Cupboard

Plafond – Ceiling

Plomberie – Plumbing

Propriétaire – landlord

Prise – Socket

Porte Blandée – Armour-plated door

Propriétaire – Landlord

Propriété – Property


Rafraicheissement – Freshened-up. Some light renovation work has been done, usually new paint

Ramonage – Chimney sweeping

Recent – A building is considered recent if has been built within the last couples of decades

Refait à Neuf –  Completely renovated

Rez-de-Chaussée – Ground floor

Rénové – Renovated

Resiliation – Cancellation of a contract

Responsabilité Civile – Third-party liability

R.I.B. ou Rélévé d’Indentité Bancaire – slip indicating your bank account details (name of bank, account number, IBAN, swift code).


Salle à Manger – Dining Room

Salle de Bain – Bathroom

Salle d’Eau – A bathroom with only a shower (The French differentiate bathrooms between one with a bath tub and one with a shower)

Salle à Manger – Dining Room

Salon – Living Room

Séjour – Living room

Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA – An EU public authorities’ integration initiative regarding electronic euro payments. To enroll for automatic debits for your utility accounts, you will need to fill out a SEPA authorization form

Sous-Sol – Basement

Souplex – A basement level room, accessible from inside the apartment

Studette – Small studio or a service room

Standing – Many advertisements refer to apartments with standing, which refers to the quality level of the property. You will find similar references as “standing, grand standing, très grand standing”, etc. Instead of the word “grand”, you may also find the word “haut”.

Surface Habitable – Floor space with a ceiling height under 1.80m


Taxe d’habitation – Council tax, or residency tax, due and payable wherever you are living on January 1st

Taxe foncière – Property tax

Tapis – Rug

Toutes Taxes Comprise or TTC – Including sales tax

Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée or TVA -– Value-added tax

Titre Interbancaire de Paiement or TIP – You can pay your utility and insurance bills with a “TIP,” like a check that you date and sign

Traversant – Apartments with windows on both sides of the building (East-West and North-South)


Véranda – Veranda, terrace

Vestibule – Entrance hall

Vide – Empty, unfurnished apartment

Viseophone – Video phone used to communicate with a visitor who is trying to enter a building

Vitreaux – Stained glass

Voisinage – Neighborhood

Vue – View


Water Closet or WC – Most toilets are separate from the bathrooms in France

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