Writing an end of tenancy letter for a property in Paris
When it comes to leasing a property in France, you need to understand the differences in their system to that of your own country.
The law leans heavily towards the tenant, as the French consider the security of a home a fundamental right for all tenants. The following information covers some of the critical areas of how to give tenants a notice letter in Paris, compared to other cities and countries.
Furnished and unfurnished—short- and long-term leases
Long- and short-term leases relate to unfurnished and furnished properties. You’ll find a typical French long-term property lease will often operate for as long as a rolling 3-year contract.
If a landlord wants to repossess their property, or even change the terms of the lease, they must apply to do so with at least 3 months’ notice of the termination date. Where a lease is permitted to roll without interruption, then it will automatically renew for another term.
Terminating a property lease in Paris – Landlord giving notice
A landlord can’t terminate the lease until it expires unless a tenant has failed to pay their rent or has significantly broken the rules of the tenancy.
Where either issue occurs, the usual practice is for the landlord to employ the service of a special kind of bailiff—a huissier—to manage proceedings. Creating a tenancy contract cancellation letter for a property in Paris has to fulfil specific legal terms or can be disregarded by the tenant. This is why it is so important to follow the process using a professional who fully understands the system.
The notice period
The minimum period of notice is 6 months for an unfurnished letting and 3 months for a furnished letting. The notice starts 6 or 3 months before the expiry date. If you miss the deadline and fail to include the full period, then 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.
Exceptions to notice
There are only 3 areas where the termination of a lease can happen during the active time of the lease or on completion of the term.
- Breach of tenancy conditions
- The sale of the property
- Landlord occupation
When planning to sell the property, the tenant has the right of first refusal, but only on unfurnished lettings.
Landlord occupation includes only the landlord’s close family.
Another exception of note concerns the eviction period. Tenants are protected from eviction over the winter months. The dates for this run from 1st November to 15th March.
Repossession of the property due to the breach of conditions is a complex process. Because of this, the huissier is the most suitably placed 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.
Terminating a property lease in Paris – Tenant giving notice
The tenant can put an end to the lease whenever they require and for any reason.
They must give 3 months’ notice on unfurnished lettings and 1 month’s notice for furnished lettings. During the notice, the tenant must continue to pay rent as usual.
Exceptions to notice
In an unfurnished letting, the 3 months’ notice may be reduced to a single month where:
- The tenant is affected by serious illness and is over 60-years-old
- Involuntary loss of employment occurs, is transferred to another location within their employment, finds a new job after unemployment, or starts their first job
- A tenant receives social security supplementary benefits
The exception isn’t valid if the tenant retires, resigns, or changes job. Where a tenant breaks the terms of the notice, the landlord may claim for the unpaid period.
A tenant’s notice is irreversible. Once they’ve given notice, they are forced to vacate the property by the date given by law.
The use of the Huissier during tenancy terminations in Paris
Where the tenant can create a reasonably simple letter outlining all dates and parties involved, the process is far more complicated for the landlord.
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.
Sample letter giving notice to the tenant in Paris
The letter from landlord to the tenant should be managed by the huissier to be sure all elements comply with the law, and the correct terminology is used throughout.
It has to include specific aspects, including both parties’ names, the relevant set of dates, the reasons for terminating the tenancy and the proceeding actions.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to organise the date for the final key handover, inventory check and condition report (état des lieux).
Sample letter of termination of the tenancy agreement by the tenant
Delivering a tenancy resignation letter in Paris, on the part of the tenant, is a simpler affair, as they don’t have to provide any reason for their actions. It merely needs to contain the relevant names, dates and a signature.
To: [name and address of tenant(s)]
From: [name and address of landlord]
Subject: Termination of rental contract with one month’s [or three months] notice
I am writing to inform you of my intention to terminate the lease of the apartment I have rented at [insert address], since [insert date].
The notice period is one [three for unfurnished apartments] month, from the day of reception of this registered letter.
I remain at your disposal to agree on a date to return the keys and to do an inventory and condition report (état des lieux).
I await your prompt reply.
[name and signature]
Keep records at every step of the process—you don’t know when you might need them
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 wherever a matter could be resolved before then, would be beneficial.