20. Disputes and French Rental Properties
20.3. Official Conciliation Services - CDC
Disputes concerning the etat de lieux or the depot de garantie, charges and repairs can be dealt with by a conciliation panel called the Commission Départementale de Conciliation (CDC).
The commission is composed of representatives from landlord and tenant organisations, and there is one based in each préfecture.
Where the dispute concerns a complaint by the tenant concerning the condition of the property, then it must be considered by the commission before the courts will intervene.
In all other cases, either tenant and landlord can ask the commission to intervene, but they are not obliged to participate in the process. Where this occurs, either side may proceed direct to a Tribunal d’instance for the matter to be resolved.
The commission seeks to give its opinion within two months of being requested to intervene.
Neither landlord nor tenant are obliged to accept the decision of the commission, but their decision will have a persuasive influence on any subsequent consideration by the Tribunal d’instance.
In order to formally invoke the intervention of the commission, a recorded delivery letter should be sent to them, with the history and details of the dispute. In practice, you would be wise to make an initial visit to them to discuss your case, and how it should be presented.
Once invoked, the commission will arrange a meeting between landlord and tenant and endeavour to bring about agreement.
There are mixed views on the role and efficacy of the conciliation procedure, with many considering that the overiding priority of the commission seems to be a compromise solution, rather than justice. In such circumstances, you may feel it better to commence a more expensive and longer legal process, rather than a cheaper and quicker process of conciliation.
Nevertheless, even if you consider it would be pointless to try and convene the conciliation procedure, it may be worth trying to doing so, as a way of later demonstrating to a court of law your good intent, and the poor intent of the tenant.
The use of the conciliation procedure is also a way of testing the strength of your case, and the most effective method of later presenting your case in front of a judge.
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