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Student Housing Benefit (APL): How Much Can You Receive and How?

Paying rent when you're a student can sometimes be a real hassle. Fortunately, the law in France has provided assistance to alleviate this burden: student housing benefit (APL). Do you want to receive this monthly allowance? Are you wondering if you're eligible for APL? Do you not know the eligibility criteria, the framework, or the procedures to qualify? This article is for you: it answers all the questions one may have when seeking student APL for the first time. Whether you live in Paris or elsewhere in the country, whether you're in an apprenticeship program or not, whether your accommodation depends on CROUS (Regional Centre for University and School Affairs) or not, whether you have applied for a Social Dossier (DSE) or not, here is all the latest information about student APL in 2021.

What is student housing benefit?

Let's start by clarifying the terms: what do we mean when we talk about student APL? APL is the acronym for Aide Personnalisée au Logement (Personalized Housing Assistance). It's a financial aid that can be received to help pay rent, even for students.

Whether you're a tenant with a private landlord, a rental agency, or even a student residence, you can receive student APL. It operates on much the same principle as standard APL.

Note: Since April 2020, a reform regarding APL was supposed to be implemented in France. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this reform only came into effect in early 2021.

Since the implementation of this reform, your income from the previous twelve months has been taken into account in the calculation of your APL. Before the reform, the incomes from the previous two years were considered.

Under what conditions can you receive student CAF (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales) benefits?

What are the criteria considered by the administration to determine if a student is eligible for APL? If you want to receive student APL, you will need to provide the CAF with information about your income over the past twelve months, your household composition, your rent amount, and the exact address of your accommodation.

Any student has the right to apply for APL from the CAF. The only condition is not to exceed a certain amount of annual income. If you're a student, there's a good chance you qualify for it.

Different types of student housing benefits

Another important piece of information: while the procedures are the same for all students, there are actually three types of assistance they can receive. Whether you receive one type rather than another depends on the personal situation of the student in question.

The first of these aids is the classic APL. It applies to students living in subsidized housing (such as social housing). The second assistance is ALF, which applies to students with dependents, renting a non-subsidized property. The third assistance is ALS, reserved for students without dependents, and not renting a subsidized property.

These three aids are grouped under the generic term "student APL" because the procedures to receive them are strictly identical. To conclude on this topic, note that a person who is not a student but is under an apprenticeship contract is entitled to receive APL as long as they are under thirty years old.

CAF student: overview of eligibility criteria

Let's take a closer look at the eligibility criteria considered by the CAF to determine if a student is entitled to APL. The first of these criteria is simple: you must have French nationality. You can also receive student APL as a foreign student, but in this case, you must be in a regular situation.

To receive student APL, you must be either a tenant or a co-tenant of your accommodation. This accommodation must also be your main residence, and you must occupy it for a minimum of 8 months per year.

If you live with your parents, in accommodation rented by your parents, or in accommodation owned by any other family member, you will not be eligible for this assistance. Also, note that your accommodation must be located in France and constitute your main residence.

It is also mandatory for your accommodation to meet the decency criteria outlined in decree 2002-120 of 30/01/2002. This means, among other things, that your accommodation must measure more than 9 m² (if you live alone) or more than 16 m² (if you live as a couple). Finally, your income and financial situation will be taken into account.

Student housing benefit: what are the special cases?

Are there scenarios in which you can receive student APL while subletting? Yes, but with an age restriction: you must be under 30 years old. Or, you must have a disability that requires you to be housed with a family member. In this case, you will need to provide the relevant documents to the relevant ministry.

If you are among the young people about to become homeowners, you can receive student APL in three scenarios: if your property is in zone 3, if you have benefited from a conventional loan, or if you have benefited from a social accession loan.

You will not be eligible for student APL if you are housed for free. Similarly, you will not be eligible for this assistance if you already receive ALS (Social Housing Allowance) or ALF (Family Housing Allowance). Finally, your resources must be below certain ceilings determined by the CAF.

Applying for student APL, with or without flatmates

Attention, to benefit from student APL, you must already have moved into your accommodation. The application must therefore be made after signing the lease. To make your request, you will need several pieces of information, which the CAF may ask you for.

First, you must be able to provide the CAF with the amount of your rent as stated in your lease. You will also need to know your income from the past twelve months. You will need to provide a bank account number (RIB) as well as your landlord's contact (and their SIRET number if it's a real estate agency). If your parents receive benefits from the CAF, you will need to provide their benefit numbers.

If you live in student accommodation such as a university residence hall, you will need to provide the name and address of the organization responsible for housing you.

Student APL amount 2021: how much can you receive and through what means?

Congratulations: your student APL application has been accepted by the CAF. Now, you need to know how much you will receive. First of all, it's important to know that your entitlements will depend on your income, the characteristics of your accommodation, and your assets if they exceed thirty thousand euros. On average, the amount of student APL ranges from 100 to 150 euros per month.

In most cases, a two-month delay can be expected between your application and your first payment. The good news is that this delay is retroactive, so you will receive the owed amounts in one go. For example, if two months have passed since your application, you will receive two months' worth of APL in the first payment.

Student APL is deposited into your account on the 5th of the month. If your landlord decides, this amount will be paid directly to them. In this case, you will only need to pay them the difference.

Student APL 2021 simulation: a practical and free tool

In some cases, it's necessary to know the amount of APL you will receive before signing your lease. Why? Because the amount of rent is taken into account in the calculation of the allowance. Knowing in advance how much allowance you will receive allows you to know how much rent you will have to pay each month.

Let's take an example. If a student lives alone in a furnished, non-subsidized apartment in Saint-Etienne, and their rent is 400€ including all charges, they will receive an aid of 171€. But if they are a grant recipient, this aid will be different. The same applies if they live in a flat share.

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