HLM: application for social housing, file and ceiling

What is HLM?

Low rent housing: definition

Low-income housing (HLM) is a type of social housing built with state support. In France, it spread after the Second World War as part of the reconstruction and solution to the housing crisis affecting the most modest households. The construction, management and access to HLM are subject to rules set by the state.

The legal status of this type of social housing

At the legal level, there is no single law directly regulating HLM. Access conditions are defined by the Building and Housing Code. Lease agreements relating to HLM are based on the provisions of Law No. 89-462 of July 6, 1989 (without this law being fully and directly applicable).

But also the law of 1948, very favorable to the tenant, because it establishes for him the advantage of the right to remain in the premises. Finally, Decree No. 87-712 of August 26, 1987 regarding rent corrections applies to rents related to HLM.

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What are the 3 types of HLM social housing?

There are several categories of social housing. They are defined by the method of financing their construction. The three most common types of loans are: rent loan with integration assistance, rent loan for social purposes, social rent loan. They lead to the conclusion of an agreement on the allocation of this accommodation (for example, setting a ceiling for rent and resources).


The Rent Assisted Integration Loan (PLAI) finances the acquisition or construction of low-rent housing reserved for households with very modest incomes. Its amount is determined according to the assumed financial plan.


The rent loan for social purposes (PLUS) is the most used means of financing HLM housing. Like PLAI, it gives the right to a state subsidy. Its goal is social diversity within HLM.


The Provisional Financing Plan (PLS) finances rental housing in areas where the real estate market is tight. It is intended for tenants with excessively high incomes who cannot use HLM or find private accommodation. This does not create a state subsidy. However, it allows you to benefit from VAT at a reduced rate.

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Also read: Social Rent Access Loan (PSLA): condition, cap and requirement

What are the conditions for obtaining social housing?


Low-rent housing is provided according to several criteria. All these elements can be found in articles L.441 et seq. building and housing code. Firstly, the applicant must either be a French citizen or have a permanent residence permit in France.

Income and family situation

Then it is mainly a question of own resources: there is a ceiling that must not be exceeded in order to be able to apply. This ceiling depends on the location of the accommodation (Île-de-France, province or overseas) and the family situation of the applicant.

The resources taken into account for the calculation of the ceiling correspond to the reference tax income for year n-2, as indicated on the tax assessment. Please note that the income of all people living in the household must be counted. So we take into account the spouse, PACS partner, children and dependents.

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Note down : roommates between people in the household must not be taken into account.

Heritage and current living conditions

The housing file also takes into account: the applicant’s property and current housing conditions (distance from the workplace, employment opportunities).

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How do I find out if I am entitled to social housing?

The government provides an online simulator for citizens to check their eligibility for HLM. Just state:

What is the resource cap that must not be exceeded in 2024 to use HLM?

The annual income of people who want to use HLM must not exceed a certain amount. For a housing application submitted in 2024, the reference tax income for 2022 shown in the tax assessment for 2023 is taken into account.

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Each year, HLM recipients must answer a “resource survey” and provide their tax or non-tax return. If their resources exceed the maximum limit by more than 20%, they may have to pay additional rent. If the exceedance lasts for more than two years, the lease may be terminated in stressed areas.

Who are the priority people for applying for social housing?

Certain categories of people have priority in the provision of low-rent housing. Among them, we particularly highlight:

  • beneficiaries of the DALO decision (enforceable right to housing);
  • persons with disabilities or persons caring for a person with disabilities;
  • poorly housed people,
  • disadvantaged people,
  • people in social reintegration,
  • homeless people
  • persons housed on a precarious and temporary basis (indecent housing);
  • people who are victims of prostitution
  • people who have become victims of domestic violence,
  • people at risk of eviction and without alternative housing.

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Also read: Social access credit (PAS): conditions, amount and rate

How to apply for HLM housing?

Create a set of social housing

The process is completely free. You must prepare a file on social housing. The application can be submitted online on the Union Social de l’Habitat website.

This can also be done at a registration counter near you. On the spot, the applicant must fill out the CERFA form No. 14069*03. It can be collected on demand or and printed in advance on the Internet.

Provision of supporting documents

The following must be attached to this file:

  • a copy of the identity document and, if necessary, a valid residence permit,
  • proof of income of the applicant and household members.

Submit the file

The file on social housing is then handed over to the organization of social landlords or the state public service. If the applicant is an employee of a private company with 10 or more employees, the application can also be submitted to Web Action Logementex “1% housing”.

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Check the progress of your file using your unique number

The application registration number is provided to the applicant, who must keep it carefully. If necessary, the latter will allow him to consult the progress of his file. If accommodation is allocated, the applicant has 10 days to accept or reject the offer.

Good to know : an HLM housing application that has not been successfully completed after 11 months must be renewed. Otherwise, the request will be deleted.

Also read: Housing solidarity fund (FSL): conditions, application and amount

How long does it take to get social housing?

It is not possible to give an exact duration. Everything depends on the profile of the applicant, his family situation, the type of accommodation required and the municipality where he is located. For example, in Île-de-France and in large cities, the assignment period is longer.

When accommodation is available, the landlord will select three sets based on the above criteria. They will then be submitted for study by the committee for the allocation of apartments (CAL). It then examines each file and assigns an HLM based on the same priority criteria. A decision must be taken by a majority. The landlord contacts the selected applicant and invites him to supplement his file. He has the right to accept or reject the proposal.

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How do I find accommodation to buy or rent?

Create an account on Bienveo

The Union of Social Housing (USH) provides applicants with a tool to buy or rent Bienveo social housing. It allows people to request an offer and thus be active in the allocation of housing. Simply check your eligibility and create an online account,

Respond to offers

After selecting the offer, the applicant can contact the HLM organization directly. He will contact him again after considering his request.

Is it possible to buy HLM?

A HLM tenant can buy their social housing under certain conditions:

  • they lived there for at least two years
  • have an income not exceeding a certain amount

In order to purchase HLM, one must:

  • they meet habitability and energy efficiency standards
  • have been bought or built by a social landlord for more than 10 years

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