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Guidelines for Tenants on Giving Notice to Vacate a Property in France

Learn about the critical aspects of terminating a rental lease as a tenant. There are specific exceptions that may allow you to end your lease early or even depart without providing prior notice. The regulations may vary depending on whether you are renting alone or living with a partner. Understanding how to properly give notice is crucial to ensure compliance with rental laws.

Early termination of a rental lease

As a tenant, you do not need to provide any reasons for leaving or any proof. You can end your lease contract at any time and for any reason. However, you must continue to pay the rent during the notice period. Failure to do so may result in legal consequences or difficulties in future tenancies.

As a tenant, it is essential to know that there are certain exceptions for you to terminate your rental lease early. These exceptions include:

    • Breach of contract by the landlord,
    • Non-compliance with delivery obligation,
    • And the danger to safety.

Termination without a notice

If the landlord fails to fulfill contractual obligations, such as carrying out necessary repairs, you may have the right to leave without giving notice.

Similarly, you can terminate the lease without notice if the housing does not align with the rental contract’s terms. This includes delay, partial delivery, or complete failure to deliver the contracted goods or services. In immediate or impending danger to your safety, immediate departure without notice is permissible.

However, leaving a property without notice can result in legal ramifications. Especially if the departure is unjustified or non-compliant with contractual obligations.

Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying the rent until the end of the notice period. Unfortunately, you cannot use the deposit you paid on arrival to compensate for any remaining rent owed.

Additionally, suppose you decide to vacate the property before the end of the notice period. In that case, you will still be liable for rent payments until the end of the notice unless the landlord finds a new tenant to occupy the housing.

Exceptions to notice periods

If you rent unfurnished accommodation, the three-month notice period can be reduced to one month in some instances. These cases include:

    • Serious illness of a tenant who is at least 60 years old and needs to change accommodation,
    • Involuntary job loss,
    • Obtaining the first job,
    • Finding a new job following unemployment,
    • Or transfer of employment to another location (mutation professionnelle).
    • In addition, if you receive social security supplementary benefits (Revenu de Solidarité Active – RSA), you can also benefit from a reduced notice period.

Notice of the leave for unfurnished and furnished rental

If you want to leave your housing permanently, you can do so at any time. However, make sure to inform the owner or the real estate agency (if an agency manages the housing) and respect the notice period.

The notice period may differ depending on whether you live in an empty or furnished rented accommodation.

Notice Period

Depending on the nature of the letting, the minimum notice period is:

    • Three months for unfurnished lettings;
    • One month for furnished lettings.

The notice period depends on the municipality of your accommodation. Furthermore, a simulator available on the French government’s official public service portal enables users to check if a rental property is in a “tense zone” (zone tendue).

This classification affects certain tenant rights, such as the required notice period for lease termination and rent control measures. You can use this simulator to find out.

https://www.service-public.fr/simulateur/calcul/zones-tendues

If your situation (accommodation located in a stretched area, loss of employment, and state of health, etc.) entitles you to one month’s notice, you must indicate this reason in your letter of leave and attach a supporting document.

If your notice period ends partway through the month, the rent and charges you owe for the final month will be proportional to the number of days you occupied the accommodation.

Example:

If the notice period ends on the 5th day of the last month, and that month has 30 days, then the amount due for that last month will be 5/30th of the monthly amount.

Similarly, if the last month has 31 days, then the amount due will be 5/31st of the monthly amount.

And if the last month has 28 days, then the amount due will be 5/28th of the monthly amount.

In a notice period, if the last month has only 29 days and the notice ends on the 5th, the amount due for the last month is 5/29 of the monthly amount.

Additionally, it’s important to note that real estate agencies or lessors have the ability to claim any outstanding charges or rents that are owed to them for up to 3 years. This means you can be charged until July 2026 for rent or expense debt that you owe from July 2023, for example.

Additional notes:

The notice period cannot be reduced if the tenant resigns, retires from employment, or changes his job. If the tenant does not respect the notice period, the landlord can make a legal claim for the unpaid period.

Once the tenant has given their notice, it’s set in stone and cannot be changed. If a tenant is moving out, they need to allow the landlord reasonable access to the property to show it to potential new tenants or buyers.

After everything is wrapped up with the termination process, the next steps are to complete an inventory check and return the tenant’s security deposit.

Remember, as a tenant, you have the right to terminate your lease contract at any time. But you must respect a notice period, even if your lease term is only nine months.

This applies to all tenants, including students who are renting accommodations for a temporary period.

Ending a Lease When Married or Living Alone

The rules differ depending on whether you live alone or in a couple.

If you are married and wish to terminate your lease, both you and your spouse must jointly notify the landlord or the real estate agency managing your property. If only one spouse sends this notice, the lease will continue for the other spouse, who has the right to continue living in the property.

Therefore, it’s important to ensure that both parties are in agreement before proceeding with the termination of the lease.

However, the spouse who sent the notice must still help pay the rent and other housing costs until the other spouse moves out or the couple’s divorce is officially recorded.

Ending a lease when you live alone is by standard rule: you must give leave to the owner (or real estate agency).

Ending a Mobility Lease

A mobility lease is a specific type of rental agreement that allows more flexibility. You can end a mobility lease anytime, but you must inform the landlord or the real estate agency one month in advance.

How to Give a Notice

You can officially send your notice to end the lease in three ways:

1. Registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. This letter is sent through the mail and requires the recipient to sign upon delivery, providing proof that they received it.

2. The Act of Commissioner of Justice (formerly known as a bailiff’s bill) involves a legal official delivering the notice.

3. Hand delivery with a signed receipt or acknowledgment. This means personally delivering the notice and having the recipient sign a receipt at that time.

Letter Template: Notice to Quit

To terminate a lease, tenants need to write a formal notice letter. This letter should include essential details such as contact information, the housing address, desired departure date, and the notice period.

The content of the notice should clearly state that you intend to end the lease and should include any other relevant information required by your lease agreement.

The tenant can write his leave based on this letter template:

    • First name and last name of the tenant(s)
    • Address of the accommodation
    • Postal code and municipality of the accommodation

Subject: Notification of housing leave

Madam, Sir,

I will soon be leaving the house I rent.

Article 25-15 of the Law of 6 July 1989 on the improvement of rental relationships states:

“The lessee may terminate the contract at any time, subject to a notice period of one month.

The leave must be notified by registered letter with a request for notice of receipt, served by bailiff’s document, or delivered by hand against receipt or signature. The notice period shall run from the day of receipt of the registered letter or service of the bailiff’s document or delivery by hand.”

In order to agree together on a date to hand over the keys to the accommodation and to carry out the inventory together, I inform you that the move is scheduled for [Moving Date].

Please accept my best regards.

To [Location], on [date]

Signature of tenant(s)

Or you can make use of this letter template:

Starting the Notice Period

The notice period is the time between when you notify the landlord of your leave and the actual date you can move out.

The official date when your tenancy ends is set based on when your landlord receives your notice to terminate the lease. This received date is essential for determining the notice period.

For instance, if your lease requires you to give a one-month notice before leaving, this one-month countdown starts from the day your landlord receives your termination letter, not when you send it.

So, in short:

1. The landlord or real estate agency receives the registered letter. The day they officially sign for and receive the letter you sent is when the notice period countdown starts.

2. The Commissioner of Justice serves the act. If you use this method, the notice period starts when the legal official delivers the document to your landlord or agent.

3. Hand delivery is accepted. If you choose to deliver the notice in person and get a receipt or signed acknowledgment from the landlord or agency, the notice period begins on the day they accept and sign for it.

This ensures that there is a clear start date for the notice period. This is important for both you and the landlord to plan accordingly.

As a precaution, send your mail several days before the start of the period. Also, specify the exact date you want to terminate the lease. You can also have your letter served by a court officer (commissaire de justice), or delivered by hand against a signed receipt. 

For example, regarding empty housing, if you want to terminate your lease on 1 June 2024, send your mail on 15 February 2024 so that the landlord can pick it up before 1 March 2024. 

Example:

If you have sent a letter of leave specifying a one-month notice period, the notice will end on the last day of that month, even if the dates are not identical.

For instance, if the notice starts on January 30, it will end on February 28 (or February 29 in a leap year). Please keep in mind that holidays and weekends are included in this calculation.

Additionally, if the last day of the notice falls on a Sunday, it will end on that day itself, and not on the Friday before or the Monday after. This way you can plan your leave accordingly.

Remember that you cannot change your decision once you have been granted leave unless you have obtained the agreement of the owner or real estate agency.

It is crucial to note that granting leave through email alone is not a legally valid method, even if the recipient acknowledges it via return email.

But you can give leave by one registered letter.

Notice of the leave in a colocation

A flatshare/colocation is the rental by several roommates of the same dwelling, which all use as their main residence. It can take the form of a single lease signed by all roommates (joint lease), or as many lease agreements as there are roommates (individual lease). 

Departure of a single roommate

Just a quick reminder – if you’re one of the roommates and you’re planning to leave, all you need to do is give your notice or leave to the owner or their representative. However, you cannot ask the owner or their representative to return your share of the security deposit.

Instead, you can try talking to your roommates and find an amicable solution.

Just a heads up, the flatshare will continue with the remaining flatmates, but the consequences will be different depending on whether or not the lease contains a solidarity clause.

It’s important that everyone is aware that each roommate and their guarantor are responsible for paying all rent and charges owed to the owner (or their representative). This means that if someone falls behind on their share, it could affect everyone else.

And if someone decides to move out, just remember that their guarantor will still be responsible for any outstanding payments for 6 months or until a new roommate takes their place.

Departure of all roommates

There are two options when it comes to giving notice to the owner of a shared living space. The first option is to send a notice to the owner or leave a notice in a common area that all roommates can see.

The second option is to send individual notices to the owner or their representative. If individual notices are sent, all roommates must send their notices at the same time.

Useful resources:


Please note: This article does not constitute legal advice – the information on this page has been prepared solely for your information. As we are not a law firm and act as a platform, we can and may share our estimations, but we cannot give you legal advice for your individual further proceedings.

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