Commercial lease in France is regulated by the Law dated 30th September 1954 whose aim is to protect the tenants.
Based on the fact that location and premises are essential to attract clients, the principal provisions of this Law (granted to the tenant) are:
- A statutory minimum duration of nine year tenancy;
- A right or renewal of the lease or an alternatively compensation if renewal is refused;
- A rent increase control system.
As such, any agreement excluding or amending these major rights will be rendered void.
Seasonal lettings are lettings of furnished or unfurnished housing for the maximum duration of a season (e.g. three months).
As their object is not the tenant’s main residence, seasonal lettings are only governed by the provisions of the French civil code.
However, the law of 2000 (decent housing) and of 20th July 2003 (information on natural and technological risks) apply.
As mentioned before, the law of 6th July 1989 proclaims that the right to a place to live (droit au logement) is essential. As such, the enforcement of the lease is difficult. Indeed, even with a legal title such as a court order, it can be difficult in practice for a landlord to obtain possession of his property even if the lease is legally terminated. This is especially the case when the tenant is having difficulties with relocating.
The unfurnished property is governed by the law of 6th July 1989 which was officially designed to protect tenants (who are entitled to a right to a place to live “droit au logement”). This tendency is still in force as this has been confirmed by the recent laws.
The law of 6th July 1989 applies to unfurnished housing rented as a main residence. Furnished lettings, seasonal lettings and secondary residence lettings are then excluded. The main provisions of the law of 6th July 1989 can be summarised as follows.