In terms of housing, cohabiting partners benefit from very limited protection compared to married or PACS couples.

Living in a free union does not create any rights or obligations within the couple. From a heritage point of view, they are totally independent from one another: There is no solidarity. This applies to debts but also to housing.

It was therefore necessary to protect the cohabiting partner who, not being the holder of the lease, found himself in the street overnight in the event of death, abandonment of the home or separation from his partner, or his companion.

Dramatic situations taken into account by the new ALUR law, which entered into force on March 23, 2014, which allows, under certain conditions, to extend the benefit of the lease contract to the partner who has not signed it.

But before getting to the heart of the matter, it was necessary to specify the specific case of the spouse who has stood surety with the lessor.

The spouse is a surety with the lessor

If the partner's name appears on the lease as a joint surety and not as a co-tenant, he will have no right to the lease. What obligations! Those to pay the rent debts to the lessor if his spouse defaults. And he could be sued personally to honor them.

To stand surety does not confer any right of enjoyment on the accommodation. Seeing his name on the lease under the surety heading does not mean that one is a tenant, but a joint debtor of the rent debts.

The spouse is not on the lease

The tenant is the one who has signed a lease contract. He alone is legally recognized to have the enjoyment of the premises and he alone is required to pay rents and charges relating to housing.

Lease signed before the ALUR law (before March 23, 2014)

If this tenant lives with someone, his partner will be able to live in the premises, but legally he will not be recognized.

It does not exist for the lessor, who will therefore not be required to notify him if the lease is terminated. Just as the lessor cannot ask him for any rent.

If the holder of the lease dies, abandons the accommodation, gives leave to the lessor or separates from his spouse (asks him to leave), the latter will have no right to remain in the premises.

If he had paid the rent or the charges in place of the tenant, he will not be able to claim any reimbursement (unless he has thought of having an acknowledgment of debt signed!).

Lease signed under the ALUR law (after March 23, 2014)

In the event of the death or abandonment of the partner who holds the lease, the one who remains may benefit from the transfer of the lease in his name if he proves:

His status as a partner:

This is called a notorious cohabitation, that is to say a stable common life known to all. A community of life certificate can be issued at the town hall (they do not all issue one), or be proven by any means (testimony from relatives, payment of bills, etc.).

A stable and continuous community of life for over a year:

Any evidence can be produced (certificate, testimony, invoices in both names, etc.). If there is a common child, the proof is simplified with the family record book, the rights open to CAF ...

These two conditions are cumulative. If the relationship lasted less than a year, alone the signing of a new lease with the owner will allow the partner to stay in the premises.

Note: If it is a 1948 lease, even a notorious partner has no right to stay in the premises unless he is recognized as disabled (card issued by COTOREP).

The signing of the lease by the two partners

If the cohabiting partners have their two names and their two signatures affixed to the lease, they will have the same rights and obligations on housing. They will both be tenants (or rather, roommates).

Everyone will pay their share of the rent and will not be required to pay which its share (50/50) unless a solidarity clause is provided for in the lease contract.

In the presence of a solidarity clause, in the event of default in the payment of rents, the lessor can turn against one or the other of the cohabiting partners for the total payment of the sum remaining due.

The landlord is free to sue the two cohabiting partners or only one of them, for the whole (in general, the one who works).

Leave

The partners appearing both on the lease, will have equal rights but, distinct towards the lessor, therefore:

If they leave the accommodation together:

They must each send a letter to the lessor to give notice (or a letter with their two signatures).

If one of the cohabiting partners gives leave, the other can stay in the accommodation:

However, the partner who will leave the apartment will not be totally released from his obligations. Under certain conditions, he may be liable for debts contracted by the person who has remained in the accommodation.

Everything will depend on the date on which the lease was concluded and whether it provides for a solidarity clause.

Lease signed before the ALUR law (before March 23, 2014)

In the absence of a solidarity clause: He will be required to pay his share of the rent until the end of his notice.

With the solidarity clause: He will be required to pay rents in the event of default by the person who has remained in the premises, until the end of the lease or his departure from the apartment.

Lease signed under the ALUR law (after March 23, 2014)

In the absence of a solidarity clause: He will no longer be required to pay his share of the rent at the end of the notice.

If there is a solidarity clause: He will be liable for rent debts for a period of 6 months, after the end of his notice.

Example: 3 months (notice) + 6 months (after notice) = 9 months during which he will be liable for rental debts.

Hence the importance of giving leave by registered mail in order to have a precise date from which the cohabiting partner who leaves the accommodation will no longer have to pay the rent.

If another tenant settles in the premises and is substituted for him in the lease (in the context of a joint tenancy), the solidarity will cease at the end of the notice.

It should therefore be remembered that the more the protection of the partner is reinforced, the more his obligations increase.

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