Guide to Letting Property in France

16. Tenant Repairs and Alterations

  1. Repairing Obligations
  2. Tenant Alterations

16.2. Tenant Alterations to French Rental Property

The tenant is entitled to carry out minor improvements and changes to the property without seeking the consent of the landlord, although 'major' changes require the express consent of the landlord.

As a general rule 'major' has been interpreted by the courts in a liberal sense, and certainly anything of a structural character and alterations to the services, would be considered as major works.

However, where the property lacks decent standards of comfort (heating, proper kitchen or toilet facilities) the courts have considered that the tenant should be permitted to carry out the works.

The tenant is, nevertheless, required to supply the landlord with the detailed proposals and estimate. The landlord has two months to either agree, to accept responsibilty themselves for the work, or to oppose the proposed works.

In the latter case, the landlord would need to present a case to the courts that they had a 'serious and legitimate' reason for doing so.

If the landlord agrees, then the tenant is entitled to claim compensation for the costs at the end of the tenancy, less 6% depreciation for each year of occupancy after completion of the works.

If alterations are carried out without consent, then the landlord can require that the property is reinstated to its original state at the termination of the tenancy.

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