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Tenant Rights on Furnished Rentals

Tuesday 02 August 2011

Just because you let your property on a furnished basis does not mean your tenants do not enjoy security of tenure.

Many expat landlords whom we encounter act on the mistaken belief that the normally tough security of tenure provisions in French law do not apply to furnished lettings.

On the contrary; if the tenant occupies the property as their main home then they have the same security of tenure as those who occupy an unfurnished letting.

Indeed, most of the legal provisions that apply to unfurnished lettings apply equally to those that are furnished, provided, as always, the property is the main home of the tenant.

Even French landlords who let to students are frequently caught out by this trap, working under the mistaken assumption that the property is not the principal residence of their tenant.

Tenants of a furnished letting who occupy the property as their main home are entitled to a minimum security of tenure of one year (nine months for students).

Moreover, unless the landlord terminates the tenancy in accordance with due procedure, and on the limited grounds set out in the legislation, this minimum rental period is tacitly renewed for another year.

A landlord must give a minimum of one month’s notice to the tenant, and can only terminate the tenancy on one of three grounds:

  • They require it for their own or family occupation
  • They are proposing to sell the property, or
  • There has been a breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant.

The notice of termination needs to be carefully drafted and securely and timely delivered, failing which it may be declared invalid by a court of law, and the letting tacitly renewed for another year.

If you rent out to anyone who is proposing to live in the property as their main home, then they are also legally entitled to a written tenancy agreement.

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