Guide to Letting Property in France
15. Landlord Repairing Obligations on a French Rental Property
15.1. Minimum Condition Standards
In order to meet the minimum standards of occupation, the law states that the property must be ‘decent’ at the time of letting, and remain so during the course of the tenancy.
Unfortunately, the condition standards are not set out in a particularly detailed manner, and there is also poor enforcement of the standards.
In order to be ‘decent’ the property should not present any risk to the physical security or health of the occupants, and should be sufficiently provided with services and facilities that enable normal occupation.
In specific terms the law lays down the following standards:
- Structure of the property prevents ingress of water;
- Floors, staircases and balconies are in good condition;
- Safe supply of electricity and gas;
- Adequate electricity supply for lighting to all rooms;
- Ceilings in good state of repair to prevent falling material,
- Adequate ventilation;
- A permanent and safe means of heating is available;
- Adequate supply and pressurisation of cold water;
- Adequate means for evacuation of waste water;
- No risk from lead poisoning or asbestos;
- Kitchen with provision to install a cooking facility, and a sink with hot and cold water supply;
- Internal toilet which is separate from the kitchen, and shower or bath which allows washing in private with hot and cold water and evacuation;
- Where a letting consists of only one room then there is only a minimum requirement for a toilet (which may be external!) and a shower or bath is not obligatory if there is a kitchen sink!
Clearly, there is plenty of scope for interpretation in all of this and, at the end of the day, only a court of law could determine finally whether the standards were being met.
If there is any doubt a landlord can also request a certificat d'habitabilité from an architect, which would confirm that the property met the required standards.
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