Guide to Letting Property in France

16. Tenant Repairs and Alterations

  1. Repairing Obligations
  2. Tenant Alterations

16.1. Tenant Repairing Obligations

The tenant has few repairing obligations, other than routine minor maintenance.

The responsibilities of the tenant can be summarised as follows:

  • External Areas - Day to day maintenance of garden, including, grass cutting, pruning trees and shrubs, replacing shrubs and routine maintenance of swimming pool;

  • Canopies and Terraces – clear of mousse and other vegetation;

  • Rainwater Goods – keep clear;

  • Windows and Doors – lubrication, minor repair of fittings and locks, mastics, replace broken window panes, minor repairs to blindes;

  • Internal Walls and Ceilings – maintain in clean order, replace broken tiles;

  • Floor surfaces– undertake routine maintenance, and replace where stained or holed;

  • Cupboards and Joinery – routine maintenance including repair/replacement of brackets, joints and fixings;

  • Plumbing and Drains – clearing pipes, replace joints and collars and floats; routine maintenance of gas fittings and vents, replacement of flexible gas piping, emptying of septic tank, routine maintenance of heating system, replace flexible shower pipes; removal of calcareous stains;

  • Electrical Installations – replace switches, plugs, fuses, bulbs, strip lighting and protection covers;

  • General – day to day maintenance of household equipment such as refrigerator, washing machine, crockery, dryer, cooker, heat pump, air conditioning, television aerial, mirrors, undertake chimney cleaning;

The tenant does not have responsibility for these repairs where they are the result of poor workmanship, building defects, dilapidation, accidental occurrence (not caused by tenant) or force majeure.

Nevertheless, there is a presumption in favour of the landlord, in which the tenant is required to prove that the damage resulted from something other than their own neglect. The tenant is presumed to be a priori responsible for the degradations that occur.

In relation to those repairs resulting from dilapidation, the fact that something may be dilpidated does not ncessarily absolve the tenant of an obligation to undertake routine repairs, e.g. replacing a joint on an old pair of taps.

Similarly, a tenant can be held responsible for the consequential damages that result from their failure to undertake routine repairing responsibilities.

Inevitably, it is an area which is often unclear and the source of frequent disputes.

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