The rental contract for empty accommodation must be drawn up in writing in the form of a private deed or an authentic deed (before a notary).

Under the law of July 6, 1989, the verbal lease was recognized by case law.

But since the decree of May 29, 2015 and Decree No. 2015-589 of May 29, 2015, the lease contract is a standard contract, therefore necessarily written, with strictly regulated content.

The content of the lease contract

The lease contract must be made in as many copies as there are parties to the contract (tenants, co-tenants, sureties) and must mention under penalty of nullity:

  • The contact details of the lessor (or his agent: management, notary, etc.)
  • The effective date of the counter and its duration
  • The exact description of the premises with the living space, the number of rooms and the destination of the premises (home, professional)
  • The premises and equipment of which the tenant will have the exclusive use
  • The premises and ancillary equipment of the building subject to common use
  • The amount of the rent and the terms of its payment
  • The date of the lease review
  • The amount of the security deposit
  • The nature and amount of work carried out since the last rental
  • The price of the rent paid by the former tenant

The decree of May 29, 2015 requires that an information notice on the content of the lease be annexed to the contract.

Unfair terms

The lease contract is an agreement. The parties are therefore free to provide, by mutual agreement, certain clauses limiting or aggravating the rights and obligations of the tenant.

However, the law of July 6, 1989 provides in article 4 that certain clauses will be null and void and therefore deemed unwritten if they impose on the tenant:

  • Visiting the accommodation on public holidays or more than 2 hours on working days (in the event of resale or relocation)
  • An insurer chosen by the owner
  • Rent payment by direct debit
  • Collective responsibility in the event of deterioration of the common parts of the building
  • The termination of the lease for reasons other than the non-payment of rents and charges, lack of insurance, non-payment of the security deposit.
  • Fines for breach of the lease contract
  • The prohibition to exercise a political, trade union, associative or confessional activity in its accommodation.

In general, all clauses tending to create a significant imbalance between the parties, such as limiting or exonerating the liability of one of the parties, limiting the right to enjoy the accommodation, etc. will be prohibited.

The unfair terms commission has included in its list of unfair terms any provision providing that "any month started is and will be due in full both for the rent and for the accessories" (recommendation n ° 2000-01 of February 17, 2000). If a notice ends on January 2, the owner cannot force the tenant to pay for the entire month of January (CA Saint-Denis de la Réunion, December 9).

Similarly, a clause in the lease contract cannot charge the lessee for expenses normally weighing on the lessor (Cass. Civ. 3rd, of December 17, 2015, n ° 14-25.523).

To note :

No clause can prohibit the tenant from having pets. Unless they are considered dangerous animals.

The costs of the lease contract

If a third party is involved in the conclusion of the lease contract (property manager, real estate agency, notary, etc.) their commission will be the sole responsibility of the lessor.

However, if these third parties intervene to show the tenant the premises, set up the file or draw up the lease, their commission must be shared by half between the lessor and the tenant.

Their interventions are capped by law:

  • Visiting fees: 3 euros per m2
  • Application fees, lease drafting fees: between 8 and 12 euros per m2

Article 5 I of the law of July 6, 1989 amended by the law of January 27, 2017, which governs all third party costs must be included in the lease contract to inform the tenant.

To note :

Since April 1, 2017, an implementing decree for the ALUR law requires real estate agencies to display their prices in the window and on the Internet.

They must specify who, the tenant or the lessor, will be in charge of paying their fees, as well as all the information relating to the amount of the rent, the deposit, etc.

The sanction of the lack of compulsory mention

The law of 6 July 1989 provides, in the last paragraph of article 3, for penalties if information relating to the previous rent, the reference rent or the exact surface area was not included in the lease.

Lack of information

In the event of a breach, it is the tenant's responsibility to give the owner formal notice, by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, to complete the missing information.

If the owner does not respond within 3 months of the formal notice, the tenant may bring an action for rent reduction before the magistrate.

The error on the living space

If the living area is incorrect, the tenant can apply to the magistrate and obtain a reduction in the rental price in proportion to the missing m2.

However, the error must be greater than 5% of that entered on the lease.

The reduction in rent is retroactive and will be effective from the day the lease is signed. Unless the request is late (+ 6 months after signing the lease) in which case the reduction will only start from the formal notice.

To note :

This rent reduction action can only be exercised for empty accommodation and not for furnished accommodation.

At the end of three years, any complaint relating to the lack of information will be barred (article 7-1 of the law of 1989).

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