FAQ Renting a property in France

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Is a student’s letting seasonal?

According to a Minister’s response to the Parliament of 26th December 2003, a seasonal rental must not exceed the duration of a season i.e. three months. However, the court of appeal of Aix-en-Provence has judged that a university ‘season’ could last 10 months and excluded the lease from the law of 6th July 1989.

As a landlord, can I terminate the lease in order to occupy the property as a holiday home?

No. Termination can only be motivated by personal occupation as a main residence, this has been confirmed by the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) on the 6th November 1991.

Do I have to occupy the property myself if I terminate the lease?

No. The property can be occupied by the landlord’s ‘relatives’. These are strictly defined however:

  • Ascendants or descendants (over 18)
  • Spouse’s ascendants or descendants
  • Civil partner.

In principle and as for any contract, a breach of the terms and conditions of the lease can lead to its termination. This in practice is not automatic and will require a court decision; a potentially long and costly process.

If the landlord refuses to carry out a necessary repair, can I do it myself and send him the bill?

Yes but this requires serving the landlord with a formal prior notice (except in case of urgent repairs e.g. gas or water leak).

If the landlord refuses to carry out a necessary repair can I suspend payment of the rent?

No. Any suspension or compensation of payments requires a court order.

Can I use the flat I rented as headquarters of my company?

Yes. A newly set up company may have its headquarters at its representative’s residence without having to ask the landlord’s permission. This is however limited to a maximum period of five years (Article L 123-10 code de commerce).