Paying rent in advance instead of a caution

Hi everyone. We are Americans wishing to move to France. We visited Nantes in early November and found a rental house that we liked. We are retired and have more than enough retirement income to live comfortably and pay rent.

Problem is the rental agency wants a caution, we talked with a bank who is willing to do it after we arrive, but we are not keen on tying up a year or more of rent like that and it would be after the bail is signed.

As an alternative we have offered the rental agency and the owner a payment of one year's rent in advance, but the rental agency is saying that such a payment is illegal. My research is that it is legal if, and only if, proposed by the tenant.

Am I correct? If so, what sources can I use to prove it to the agency that it is legal and acceptable. Thanks in advance.


It's legal, and we have reached an agreement with the Agency to proceed along with Credit Agricole. This will allow us to move in to the house we like on the Erdre river, near Nantes sometime in January. The practice seems to be fairly widespread. Since the laws in France are so much in favor of the tenant, the caution is the landlords way of balancing things, as in many cases a tenant who refuses to pay rent can not be removed until after the end of the lease - possibly 3 years.

Where in France do you live, how long and how's life for you?

I think ANIL is your best bet to find the legislation you need.

I'm not sure how legal it is to ask for a caution bancaire - the maximum they should ask for an unfurnished let is 1 month rent as depot de garantie......however, we came across the same problem trying to rent as expats. Some agencies asked for the caution bancaire and so we gave those properties a pass - no way were we going to give up that sort of money with no interest and not even allowed to get the money back after you leave until the proprietaire says so. They do this because they are scared you won't pay the rent and then head off back to your country of origin making it very difficult to chase you for money owed.

We looked for a different house with a landlord who was more reasonable - there are some good ones out there....

Good luck!

Hi Terry:

Keep in mind it is me that is offering the rent in advance, it is not being demanded by the owner. Instead, the owner wants something called a caution bancaire - in short you give the participating bank (your bank) an amount of money relating to the rent, if the owner wants 3 years, 2 years or 1 year or leass you have to deposit that amount equal to the rent the bank holds it for the duration of the lease - unfurnished is 3 years. (example rent is 1000E/month - a one year caution means you put in 12000E). During that time you continue to pay rent. My plan is to pay the rent up front instead of a caution.

Richard, depends whether you're renting furnished or unfurnished. According to this, since March of this year the depot de garantie (caution) on a furnished rental cannot be more than two months rent excluding "charges" if you pay in advance (quarterly, for example). The same site says that in the case of an unfurnished let the caution can't be more than one month. One year in advance sounds like a rip-off.

Hi John:

Actually we were thinking of offering one year's advance rent and not a caution. A caution would mean we would have to deposit several months or more rent in an account as insurance and possibly leave it there for as long as the rental lasts - 3 years or more. I am discussing the matter with Credit Agricole and I may offer a caution of 3 months instead, but I don't know if that will be acceptable to the owner/Agency.

Hi Emily.

Thank you for your response, and we may need your help. Do you know a "piece of law ---that applies"? I sent an email to ANIL ( in French but I don't know if they will reply.

it’s thirty years since I rented in France Richard but then a one month caution was acceptable. A year’s worth sound quite high.