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Important information

Target audience

AudienceFrench citizens, Statutory refugees, Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, Stateless people, Beneficiaries of temporary protection


Free of charge


Be in possession of a residence permit or a receipt

Where is it?

Apply for social housing (HLM)

Updated on il y a 4 mois

What is it?

Social housing, also called low-income housing (HLM), is for people with low or average income who have difficulty finding private housing.

Social housing offers lower (cheaper) rents than private housing.

The waiting time for social housing can be long (several years). It depends on your personal situation, the type of accommodation and the city requested.

Finding social housing outside of big cities can be much quicker.
And certain situations may make your request a priority: for example, if you are homeless, a victim of domestic violence or have a disability.

You must apply for social housing as soon as possible after the response from OFPRA or the CNDA granting you international protection (refugee status, stateless person, or subsidiary protection). Your file will be older, which will allow you to find accommodation more quickly.

You can make a request in several cities and several departments. To help you choose, you can go to this site to find out the number of existing social housing units, the number of housing units allocated last year, and the number of pending applications for each city. If you ask for the city of Paris, or Lyon, or Marseille, you can choose one or more districts, or indicate the entire city.

How to do it?

You can have social housing if:

  • Your resources and those of the people who live with you (salaries, allowances, etc.) do not exceed a maximum amount.
This maximum amount of resources is different depending on the number of people in the accommodation and the city where you are requesting social housing. All the conditions are here, in the section "What income must not be exceeded to obtain social housing?".
  • You have a valid residence permit:
    - the residence permit, if you already have it
    - OR the API (certificate of extension of instruction), which you receive when applying for your residence permit, with a copy of the OFPRA (or CNDA) decision.
  • You have a definitive or provisional social security number (13-digit number starting with 1 or 7 for men, 2 or 8 for women).
You can apply for social housing even if you have not yet received your final social security number.
  • Are you older than 18.
You can do an online simulation to check your rights based on your personal situation. Prepare your reference tax income for year n-2, which you can find on your tax notice for the previous year.
For example, for a housing application in 2024, you must write your reference tax income for 2022, entered on the 2023 tax notice.

The site covers most departments for social housing applications.

Some departments have their own local website to make, consult and renew an application for social housing.
The list of these departments (with the link to their site) is visible at the bottom of this page.

To check which site you should make your request on:

Click on this link , indicate the city where you are looking for accommodation and follow the procedure indicated.

The steps below only concern the site .

You must first create your account to apply for social housing online.

To create your account:

  • Go to
  • Click on “Register/Login”
  • Click on “I create an account”
  • Complete your personal information and choose a password
  • Validate your account by clicking on the link received by email.
You can also log in with your FranceConnect credentials.
> Read: the Réfugié sheet “Connect to a site with FranceConnect” .

On the Internet

Connect to your account or to your department’s website.

You can then:

  • Create your online file
  • Send requested documents

> Read: the Réfugié sheet “ Scan a document

A housing application can be submitted, even if it is still incomplete. It must then be completed as quickly as possible. This means that you must complete the entire form and send all the supporting documents requested (pay slips, rent receipts if you are a tenant, tax notice, as well as all documents explaining your professional or personal situation).

The date of first request is important to open other rights. For example, the right to enforceable housing (DALO) (see explanations at the end of the sheet).

On paper

If you do not want to apply online, you can also complete and print the social housing form (Cerfa 14069*05) and submit the complete file (form + supporting documents) to a registration counter, that is i.e. an HLM organization or a town hall. An explanatory note is available here .

To find the counters near you , go to this address . Then, write the postal code of your city, find it in the list, then click on "Search", and on "Consult the list of counters" at the bottom of the page.

After sending your complete file, your request will be validated.

You will then receive a unique national registration number.

You must keep this certificate, which is proof that your application has been registered.

From this moment, your file is visible to the "social landlords" (these are organizations that rent social housing to individuals) with housing in the municipalities you have requested.

Each lessor then has the possibility to contact you if they have an available accommodation corresponding to your request.

Connect to your account (or to your department's website) to consult, update or renew your existing social housing application.

To do this, you must click on the “I manage my request” button and enter your unique registration number.

You must renew your request every year (see step below).

A housing allocation commission decides on the allocation of housing.

If the commission decides to assign you housing, you can:

  • either accept accommodation and sign a contract
  • or refuse accommodation, explaining why.
Due to the lack of housing in large cities, it is strongly recommended not to refuse accommodation without justified reasons (housing unsuitable for a disability, unsanitary conditions, etc.). The risk is not having any other accommodation offers for a long time.
For example, in Paris, if you refuse or do not respond to a housing offer, your file may be deprioritized for 12 months.

What happens next?

For the application to remain active, it must be renewed every year.

The request must be renewed 1 month before the anniversary date of its online registration (this means 11 months after the request).

So as not to forget, you will receive an email or letter every year to inform you of the deadline for renewing your request.

If you do not renew, your application is cancelled. You lose the seniority of the application and you have to start all over again, by making a new application.

Don't forget to update your file whenever your situation changes :

  • address change,
  • new people to accommodate,
  • birth of a child,
  • return to employment or loss of your job,
  • increase or decrease in your income,
  • health problem, etc.

If you have difficulty completing the form, you can call 0 806 000 113 (cost of a local call) from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Please note, this number cannot give you information on a current social housing application.

You can also ask your social worker for help.
> Read: the Réfugié sheet “Make an appointment with a social worker” .

Help videos and general questions/answers on applying for social housing can be found on this link .

For each department, it is possible to know the what an abnormally long waiting time is for a social housing proposal.

If you have not received a housing offer adapted to your needs after this deadline (depending on your department), you have the possibility of using the Right to enforceable housing (DALO).

> Read: the Réfugié sheet “Make a DAHO or DALO request” .

If your social housing no longer suits you (need for more space following a birth, onset of a health problem, desire to be closer to your workplace, etc.), you can ask to change accommodation.

To have new social housing, you must:
- have properly insured and maintained your current accommodation,
- have no unpaid rent or charges,
- justify your transfer request.

Requesting a change of social housing requires making a new housing request , online at or by paper (see step 3).

When making your request, remember to specify that you are already an HLM tenant and indicate the name of your landlord.

If you live in Île-de-France and want to change accommodation, you can use the Échanger Habiter platform. This social housing exchange allows you to see advertisements from tenants with whom exchange could be possible.
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