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Renting PropertyBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
France - Renting Property
When looking for a rental property, it’s most common to use estate agents with dedicated letting departments, local classified papers, rental websites, or by asking around in the local area. Before you begin your search, it is important that you understand the process of renting in France and have a good idea as to whether you’re looking for a long or short term let on a furnished or unfurnished property.
Rents in France are completely down to the discretion of the landlord and the tenant, and both are free to negotiate an acceptable agreement between them. However, when it comes to rent increases, the landlord cannot implement an increase unless this is specified in the tenancy agreement.
By law, a tenancy agreement (bail or contrat de location) must be provided if the property in question is the main residence of the tenant. The tenancy must be signed on or before the tenancy start date and does not need to be witnessed by a notary (notaire).
There are also certain clauses that must be included within the tenancy agreement. For example, the commencement date of the agreement, the duration, the amount of tent, and the amount of the deposit must all be outlined clearly in the tenancy.
Equally, there are a number of clauses that are prevented from being used in a contract, so it’s worth keeping a look out for them when signing your lease – an obligatory payment or the rent by standing order, or the obligation to take out an insurance policy chosen by the landlord are both forbidden by law. Interestingly enough, it is also against the law for a landlord to refuse to allow pets to reside in the property.
You should also note that an unfurnished property must have a minimum tenancy of three years, whilst a furnished property must be at least one year. If you require a shorter tenancy for professional reasons, then this can be arranged however it must be agreed between you and the landlord in advance.
The tenancy agreement should also include a condition report and survey report for the property, including energy performance and asbestos.
The majority of French Landlords require a damage deposit (depot de garantie) to cover any damage to the property or rent arrears, should they arise. The amount of the deposit for unfurnished properties is fixed at one month, and law regulates this. When it comes to furnished properties, however, there is no limit on the amount of deposit a landlord can request.
For annual tenancies, the landlord must return the deposit to the tenant within 2 months of the contact ending. If any amount is deducted from the deposit, it must be clearly accounted for and justified.
As a general rule, tenants of unfurnished properties have a much greater level of protection than those of furnished properties. However, whilst the regulations and requirements surrounding furnished (meublèe) and unfurnished (vide) properties vary in the French legal system, there isn’t actually a legal definition in terms of what makes a property furnished. With this in mind, it is crucial that, when viewing a property, you check how much of the furniture will be left for you.
When leaving the property, a three-month notice period is the standard practice, although tenants can technically give notice at any time. Landlords, however, must give six months’ notice if they wish to end the tenancy and they must also have a good reason to do so.
The good news for tenants is that the legal system in France is extremely pro-tenant, meaning that tenants have considerable rights, as well as the option of taking legal action against their landlord should those rights be compromised. For example, once the tenant has the keys to the property in their possession, the landlord no longer has the right to enter the property without the tenant’s expressed consent. What’s more, if they enter the property without consent, they can be charged with trespassing or harassment.
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