14. House Insurance on a French Rental Property
A landlord in France will need to take out insurance cover for the property to cover their liability for claims arising from structural defects in the property, and for claims arising out of their repairing obligations.
It is also possible to obtain a comprehensive insurance policy that covers, not only the usual public liability insurance, but will also include insurance against the non-payment of rent.
There is a similar obligation on the tenant of an unfurnished tenancy to take out insurance against the risk of fire, explosion, and infiltration of water etc for which they may be responsible.
The minimum insurance required by a tenant is for risques locatifs, but a more prudent policy would be for multi-risques d’habitation, which would include damage or theft to personal belongings.
The tenant is required to supply the landlord with a copy of the insurance certificate each year.
Failure by the tenant of an unfurnished letting to take out insurance constitutes a ground on which the landlord may terminate the tenancy.
There is no obligation on a tenant of a furnished tenancy to take out insurance, in which case it is clearly imperative that the landlord has comprehensive cover, or insist the tenant takes out insurance as part of the letting terms. In addtion, although there is no obligation on the tenant to take out insurance, they remain liable for any damage they may cause.
In the case of holiday lettings, some tenants may be covered by their own home insurance, but you would need to be able to confirm this was the case. In France this type of cover is know as garanti villégiature. The duration of the cover is strictly time-limited, normally up to three months.
One other option is for the landlord to try and negotiate a clause of abandon de recours against the tenant in their own policy, for which an additional premium will be payable, but there is no guarantee the insurer would be prepared to agree to it. You need to check your insurance policy.
Alternatively, the landlord can take out a specific policy pour le compte de qui il appartiendra (for the benefit of whomsoever it may concern) with the clause abandon de recours that covers the accidental damage to the property caused by fire or water by their guests. This means the insurance company will cover such incidents, but deal themselves with any claim against the tenant.
If you insure your home through a comprehensive insurance multirisque habitation then most of these policies do contain a clause that allows you to let out on a seasonable basis to third parties for up to three months maximum. You will normally need to advise your insurer of the details of your letting period. You also need to check what the policy covers, as theft may well not be included.
Most policies of any kind will all contain an 'excess' clause, in which case you will also need to take a rental deposit to cover at least this amount.
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