While the housing market is fairly competitive, things are made harder by the fact renting a flat yourself is nigh impossible without a French guarantor, i.e. someone who can will take financial responsibility for the property if you fail to make the rental payments. However, renting a room in Lille is a different story, and that’s probably how you’ll want to proceed.
Since you’re likely to be renting a room in an apartment, the best place to look for listings is online. Whether it’s through Facebook or optimistic Google searches, you’re bound to find plenty of options. Housing Anywhere Lille search will show you loads of properties in the centre where rooms are being advertised by fellow students. You can filter by price or location, and book apartments weeks or months in advance of arriving, making it a really handy tool!
We have a popular Facebook group designed to help interns and students find apartments or rooms in Lille with like-minded people in similar situations. Check out the Housing Anywhere group and see if there is anyone on there who could be a potential flatmate! There is also a specific group for EDHEC Business School students, and another for Sciences Po Lille, a social sciences university.
Are you studying at Lille 1, out to the east side of the city? Would you rather live closer to bars and clubs or the library? It’s worth having a look around where your university is situated and where you might be spending a lot of your time; it doesn’t have to be a game-changer, but it’s something to consider. Similarly if there are certain _areas _you think sound really appealing, you can target your search towards them.
As a rule, the cost of living in Lille isn’t too high, but the accommodation doesn’t come cheap. It’s certainly not as expensive as the likes of Helsinki up north, but don’t expect the dirt cheap prices of Guadalajara across the ocean either.
Expect to pay between €350-550 per month on rent. Of course location is one of the big drivers of this cost, so the further you are from the city centre, the cheaper things get. Sometimes the price won’t go down, but the size of the apartment or the quality of its furnishings will go up. As with any city, if you choose to rent a studio or one-bed apartment to yourself, it will cost a lot more.
Remember that bills will come on top your rent, anywhere from €80-120 per flat. Housing insurance is also compulsory across France for all rentals and bought homes - if you rent a whole apartment, you’ll need to organize and pay for this yourself. If you’re moving into a private room inside an already-rented flat then your roommates will already have arranged this, and you’ll just have to pay your share (about €50 for the apartment, in general).
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right place. Maybe the landlord turns you down for not having a French guarantor, perhaps you started searching a bit too late and nothing great has come within budget yet.
Both Hosteling International and the Maison d'accueil du Jeune Travailleur offer temporary, affordable accommodation in the city centre where we recommend you stay for at least 10 days to carry on the search. If you find somewhere and can move in within a few days, you should be able to cancel your booking and save a few euros. Regardless, it’s important to have a plan for if you don’t have an apartment when you first land in Lille.