Landlord and Tenant Obligations

Understand rights and responsibilities when leasing property in France...

The French government website, service public, provides comprehensive information for landlords and tenants relevant to:

The Tenant

The tenant's obligations are as follows:

  • To insure the home
  • To pay the rent in full by the agreed date
  • To pay taxe d’habitation (the invoice arrives by mail, usually in October)
  • To pay service charges: water, electricity, communal maintenance in an apartment
  • To use the property "appropriately"
  • To do certain minor maintenance work
  • To be responsible for any damage unless it is the result of the landlord, someone on the property uninvited or force majeure (circumstances outside of their control)

Unless agreed in the lease contract a tenant may not:

  • Use the property for commercial purposes
  • Sublet without written agreement from the landlord
  • Make any major changes, "transformations", to the property or structures without the landlord's consent

The Landlord

The primary obligation of a landlord is to rent "decent housing". A definition of decent means that the building will in no way damage the health and safety of a tenant. Factors included are condition of the building, effectiveness of drains and gutters, presence of natural light, effective electricity and mains water supply, ablution facilities and minimum size.

If a landlord is negligent in carrying out essential repairs a tenant may not withhold their rent but may make a legal claim through the magistrates' court.

Note: All households in France must be fitted with smoke detectors by 8 March 2015. It is the responsibility of the landlord, whether he lives in the apartment or rents it out.