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Important Reasons a Landlord Can Evict a Tenant in France

Gain insight into process of eviction due to non-payment of rent in the private rental sector. Evicting tenants involves lengthy procedures, complex legalities, and significant expenses. We'll help you navigate this intricate process to ensure a lawful and efficient resolution.
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Section 1: Legal Grounds for Eviction

    Section 2: Eviction Process Overview

      Section 3: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

      Section 1: Legal Grounds for Eviction

      Although non-payment of rent is grounds for eviction in the private rental sector (as opposed to the social housing sector), this does not necessarily mean that evicting problem tenants is easy. Indeed, the eviction process takes a long time, involves complexity, and incurs high costs.

      An eviction involving a bailiff, a judge, and the local police force can last, on average, more than seven months and can take more than a year if scheduled during the winter ‘amnesty period,’ when evictions cannot take place in France.

      These regulations force property owners to include the costs in rental charges and make them highly particular in selecting tenants. Suppose you want rented accommodation in France, especially in areas like Paris, where the rental market is highly competitive. In that case, you must furnish a plethora of documents, including information about guarantors, proof of a substantial income, and more.

      Tenants are typically entitled to keep their apartment, as long as they fulfill their obligations. However, repossession and eviction may be necessary in certain circumstances, although these are exceptions to the rule.

      France has very tight rules on property rentals. And those rules are also quite complicated, so you need to know what they are and how they apply to you. So, we’ve put together a guide for landlords to help you figure out every step of the way.

      Furnished vs. unfurnished property

      The law of tenancy agreements is slightly different for furnished property used as a principal residence to unfurnished property.

      In France, a tenant’s lease is their safeguard. It automatically renews unless the landlord has one of three specific legal grounds to terminate it. This means you can stay in your home under the same conditions unless the landlord has a valid reason to end the lease.

      Furnished property

      If a furnished property is rented out as a principal residence, the written agreement has a term of one year. The renewal extends on an annual basis.

      If a landlord does not wish to continue a contract, they must provide three months’ notice and a valid reason for not extending the agreement, such as the sale of the property or the tenant’s failure to fulfill their obligations.

      Unfurnished property

      The landlord can’t quit the agreement until the lease expires unless the tenant has not paid rent or significantly failed in their obligations. In that instance, the lease is canceled, and the landlord must notify the tenant by registered letter or letter signed by a bailiff.

      The renewal extends for three years for unfurnished properties or six years if a company owns the property.

      The landlord must give notice to quit at least six months before the end of the contract.

      Grounds on which tenants can be evicted

      Landlords are limited to three reasons for reclaiming their property:

      1. Reclaiming for Personal Use

      The property is needed for the landlord’s or a close relative’s use. This includes parents and children of both the landlord and their partner. If a property company owns the home, this option is only available if the family member needing the house is also a shareholder.

      Landlords must clearly state who will occupy the property when they end a tenancy for personal or family use.

      2. Intention to Sell Property

      The landlord decides to sell the property. For unfurnished homes, the tenant has the first right to purchase at the landlord’s set price, a right known as the first refusal. This process is structured with clear steps, including notifying the tenant of the sale price and conditions and setting deadlines for response.

      3. Violation of Lease Terms

      Should the tenant break any lease terms, the landlord has the right not to renew the lease. Eviction for lease violations involves legal action, stressing the importance of comprehensive documentation and seeking legal advice.

      For more detailed lease violations, see our FAQ below.

      Huissier

      Repossession of the property due to the breach of conditions is complex. Because of this, the huissier is the most suitable person to manage the situation. It is carried out using a slightly shorter process. Breaches include non-payment of rent or failing to register home insurance, which is mandatory for all French tenants.

      A huissier is a public official who provides an auxiliary service to the judicial system. They act on behalf of individuals and businesses, guiding landlords through rent recovery, eviction, and any other rental matter.

      You may be able to terminate a lease yourself if your tenant is amicable, but generally, the correct method is to carry out proceedings using the huissier. That way, there is no room for error or repercussion.

      Tip:

      Long before employing the services of your huissier, you must start gathering records, proof, and correspondence that can help to support your case should the worst happen.

      The French courts are the 3rd stage of a drawn-out procedure, so it would be beneficial wherever a matter could be resolved before then.

      At any time, you can ask for advice from SOS on unpaid rents;

      Coaching, advice, and prevention services are available in case of risk of eviction due to unpaid rent; this service informs tenants, such as landlords, free of charge.

      By telephone

      0 805 160 075

      Useful links:

        When a tenant stops paying rent

        In situations where a tenant fails to pay rent, here’s some guidance on what a landlord should do:

        1. Try to contact the tenant using a phone call or email first. This can sometimes solve the problem without further action.

        2. In case reaching out doesn’t work, send the tenant a formal notice through a registered letter that requires them to acknowledge they received it. This is a way to let them know there’s a problem officially.

        3. Presuming that the tenant still doesn’t pay and your rental agreement says you can end the lease if they don’t meet their responsibilities (like paying rent), you can send them an official demand to pay through a bailiff. The tenant will have two months to pay up.

        4. If the tenant hasn’t paid within two months:

            • If a judge agrees to end the lease because of the tenant’s non-payment, the eviction can’t happen until after the winter break, meaning after March 31.

            • You’ll need to take the issue to court.

          Note: Giving someone time to pay their debt can last from three months to three years. However, recent laws aimed at speeding up this process now try to limit this period to two months and one year, especially in cases of illegal squatting or when tenants don’t pay their rent.

          The notice period

          The notice starts 6 or 3 months before the expiry date. If you miss the deadline and fail to include the entire period, the lease will automatically renew, and you will have lost your opportunity for that year. The notice must be sent by recorded delivery or hand-delivered by the huissier.

          Special Regulations and Protections

              • Energy Efficiency Rule: Effective January 1, 2023, properties exceeding 450 kWh/m²/year in energy usage are not rentable. Existing leases before this date are exempt and can continue under previous terms.
              • Landlords are legally required to ensure that tenants over 65 years of age with limited income have access to alternative housing in the event that they need to reclaim the property. This obligation applies only if the property is the tenant’s primary residence and conforms to the income requirements for eligibility for social housing.
              • In France, a winter truce (la trêve hivernale) prevents landlords from evicting a tenant during winter, including reasons such as not paying rent.

            Section 2: Eviction Process Overview

            Winter truce in France

            The winter break applies from November 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025. Concretely, during this period, the tenant’s eviction from his accommodation cannot take place and is postponed.

            Landlords cannot evict their tenants during this period, even if a court has already approved the process.

            This also applies to energy suppliers and ensures tenants can access water, electricity, or gas, regardless of unpaid bills.

            Remember that these rules apply to all accommodations, including residential, commercial, and staff housing.

            However, there has been a list of people unprotected by the winter truce:

                • People benefiting from rehousing corresponding to their needs;

                • Squatters occupying a home, whether a primary or secondary residence;

                • Squatters occupying a garage or land;

                • A spouse evicted from the marital home by court order after non-conciliation of divorce proceedings;

                • A spouse, PACS partner, or violent partner in the couple or on a child, evicted from the family home by court order.

              Even though physical evictions are paused during the winter break, landlords can still begin the legal eviction. This means they can ask the judge to examine the case in court to start the eviction procedure.

              This preparatory step is crucial because it sets the legal wheels in motion, even if the eviction cannot be carried out until after the winter break.

              Exceptions

              Specific exceptions to the rule prevent evictions during the winter break. For example, in France, if tenants are found to be squatting—meaning they are occupying the property without the landlord’s permission and a legal right or lease agreement—the landlord can proceed with eviction actions against them even during the winter break.

              Or, if the property is in a state that poses a severe risk to the safety and health of the occupants or the public (e.g., severe structural issues or unsafe living conditions), the landlord might be allowed to evict the tenants during the winter break to address these hazards.

              Additionally, if alternative accommodation is guaranteed for the tenants, eviction might proceed.

              An “automatic termination clause.”

              In France, a new law makes it easier for landlords to deal with tenants who don’t pay their rent. When a landlord and tenant sign a rental agreement, they must now include a special rule called an “automatic termination clause.” This rule says that the landlord can end the lease without going to court if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent.

              Lawmakers introduced this law to address the problem of people squatting in properties they don’t own, though some express concerns about its fairness to tenants. To address this, the law also says that if a tenant thinks there’s a good reason why they couldn’t pay, they can ask a judge to pause this automatic lease ending.

              Additionally, the law tries to make rent disputes go through the court system faster than before. This clause ensures quicker resolution of issues.

              The idea behind this is to make things fairer for landlords and discourage squatting. This law started to apply to all rental agreements signed on July 29, 2023.

              This new rule mandates that all lease agreements signed from July 29 onwards must include this clause, which aims to streamline the eviction process for tenants who fail to pay rent, charges, or the security deposit.

              Why is evicting a non-paying tenant in France so tricky?

              It is becoming much more difficult to evict a bad-paying tenant, as many laws in France, such as the Winter Truce, protect the tenant. Also, evicting a tenant tends to be time-consuming, complex, and costly; on average, it takes two years to evict a tenant.

              As per the July 2023 law, landlords must now include an automatic termination clause in all lease agreements in case of non-payment of rent, charges, or security deposit. This provision ensures landlords can avoid lengthy and costly court procedures to recover their lost income.

              To promote a fair and just rental market, the law imposes a € 7,500 fine on tenants who refuse to vacate the rental property two months after a legal eviction order.

              However, this penalty will not be applicable during the winter break or if the tenant has been granted a deferment of eviction for valid reasons.

              “Protected tenant” in France

              The “protected tenant” status aims to prevent the eviction of elderly tenants, ensuring they have security in finding alternative housing. To be classified as a protected tenant, one must be over 65 and have an income below a specified threshold. All household members must meet the criteria for the status to apply.

              This protection mainly benefits elderly singles or couples, particularly in Paris and surrounding areas where landlords might want to evict tenants to increase rent.

              No official document for this status exists, but age and income documents can support claims against landlords attempting evictions. Protected tenants have their leases automatically renewed.

              Effective January 1, 2023, income thresholds vary by the number of people in the household and their location in France:

              Number of People in Household   Income Limit for Paris and Surrounding Communes Income Limit for Other Parts of Ile-de-France Income Limit for Other Regions
              1 €25,165                                          €25,165                                       €21,878                       
              2 €37,611                                          €37,611                                       €29,217                       
              3 €49,303                                          €45,219                                       €35,135                        
              4 €58,865                                          €54,154                                       €42,417                       
              5 €70,036                                          €64,108                                       €49,898                       
              6 €78,809                                          €72,142                                       €56,236                       
              For each additional person    +€8,038                                       +€8,782                                           +€6,273                       
              Income thresholds

              The surrounding communes of Paris included in this band are Aubervilliers, Bagnolet, Boulogne-Billancourt, Charenton-le-Pont, Clichy, Fontenay-sous-Bois, Gentilly, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Ivry-sur-Seine, Joinville-le-Pont, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Les Lilas, Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, Levallois-Perret, Malakoff, Montreuil, Montrouge, Neuilly-Sur-Seine, Nogent-Sur-Marne, Pantin, Puteaux, Saint-Cloud, Saint-Denis, Saint-Mandé, Saint-Maurice, Saint-Ouen, Suresnes, Vanves, Vincennes.

              Where to Find Legal Assistance in France?

              If you seek legal advice for free, there are many places you can turn to for help in France to have an answer to your legal issue or guidance in your legal proceedings:

              1. Avocats au service des victimes is available through the Parisian Regional Council of Access to Law. It mainly focuses on criminal and immigration affairs.

              2. Les Points d’accès au Droit de la Ville de Paris – These centers, representing the city hall of Paris, organize permanent sessions throughout the year. They are located in Paris’s 13th, 15th, 18th, 19th, and 20th districts. They offer help with issues related to work, home, family (such as marriage, PACS, divorce, inheritance, and child custody), foreign and immigration law, consumer contracts, social protection, violence towards women, discrimination, and proceedings involving a French administration or organism.

              3. PAD Jeunes – Located at QJ, 4 Place du Louvre, it offers legal advice from an official delegate of the rights defender.

              4. Maisons de Justice et du Droit – Managed directly by the Ministry of Justice, these centers offer free, anonymous, and confidential meetings in Paris’s 10th, 15th, and 17th districts. They have a specific division for victims of criminal offenses.

              5. The Paris Bar Association – Lawyers of the Paris Bar Association volunteer to offer pro bono legal consultations in the city halls of each district and at the Judiciary Tribunal of Paris. They cover various legal issues, including family law, criminal law, employment law, and immigration law.

              6. Les Relais d’accès au Droit—These centers organize free, anonymous, and confidential sessions for any legal issue. With more than 60 locations in Paris alone, they provide access to lawyers or attorneys to guide individuals needing legal help.

              Section 3. Frequently Asked Questions

              1. What are the legal grounds for a landlord to evict a tenant in France?

                  • Non-payment of rent and charges.

                  • The landlord must recover the property for personal use or significant renovations.

                  • Subletting without Permission

                  • Allowing people to live in the property not listed on the lease agreement without the landlord’s permission.

                  • Causing significant damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

                  • Using the property for illegal purposes, such as drug production or other criminal activities.

                  • Repeatedly causing noise or disturbances affecting the neighbors or the building’s peaceful environment.

                  • Using a residential property for commercial purposes without the landlord’s consent.

                  • Failure to perform required maintenance or repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility leads to deterioration of the property.

                  •  Making unauthorized alterations or additions to the property.

                  •  Not allowing the landlord access to the property for necessary maintenance or repairs.

                  •  If the lease has specific clauses regarding pets (e.g., no pets allowed) and the tenant violates these terms.

                  •  Not vacating the property upon lease termination or not following agreed-upon conditions for leaving the property.

                2. How much notice must a landlord give a tenant before eviction?

                The notice period varies based on the reason for eviction but typically requires a six-month notice for termination at the end of a lease and a three-month notice in the case of non-payment or lease violation.

                3. Can a tenant be evicted without notice in France?

                No, French law requires that tenants receive formal notice before eviction proceedings can start, except in cases of grave misconduct.

                4. Can a tenant be evicted during the winter truce (trêve hivernale) in France?

                Generally, the law prohibits evictions during the winter truce from November 1st to March 31st, except in cases of squatting or when alternative housing is available.

                5. What is the process for evicting a tenant in France?

                The process typically involves sending a formal notice, possibly mediated by a bailiff, followed by a court order if the tenant does not comply. The exact steps can vary based on the reason for the eviction.

                6. Can a landlord evict a tenant for personal use of the property?

                Yes, landlords can evict tenants if they or their immediate family members need to move into the property, but they must follow specific legal procedures and provide notice.

                7. What happens if a tenant refuses to leave after receiving an eviction notice?

                The landlord must obtain a court order to proceed with the eviction. A bailiff can then enforce the eviction based on the court’s decision.

                8. Are there any protections for tenants against eviction?

                Yes, tenants have various protections, including notice requirements, the ability to contest eviction in court, and specific rules during the winter truce.

                9. How can a tenant contest an eviction in France?

                Tenants can contest an eviction by attending the court hearing and presenting their case, such as proving that the eviction notice was invalid or that they have corrected the issue leading to the eviction.

                10. Where can landlords and tenants find more information about eviction laws in France?

                You can find more information on the French government’s official housing website, at legal aid offices, or by consulting with a lawyer who specializes in housing law.

                 

                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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