Essential rental info

Real estate documents: how long should you keep them?

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Keeping documents related to buying, selling or renting a home.


Whether you own or co-own or rent a property, you hold a large number of real estate documents. A move, a sale or just age encourage oneself to dispose of documents. Yes, but what does the law say?




How long should you keep the documents related to an acquisition or sale? 


After signing the deed of sale at the notary, the latter gives you a copy of the deed of sale. Naturally, this document being a proof that you are the owner of the premises should be kept during your ownership. Thereafter, contracts for the acquisition/selling of real estate (or land) must be kept for 30 years. The sale agreement does not need to be kept more than 10 years after its signature.

On his side, the notary retains the authentic deed of sale for 75 years. After this time, the act is forwarded to the public archives. In case of loss, theft or destruction of your own copy, you can request a copy from the “Archives publiques”.


How long do I have to keep the mortgage loan papers?  


All documents related to a mortgage and its related insurance must be kept until 2 years after the reimbursement of the last monthly payment.


The co-owner  


How long do I keep the documents related to the co-ownership in an apartment building? 


As a co-owner, you should keep the following documents for 10 years (even if you sold your property):

  • receipts of paid bills to the building management
  • correspondence
  • minutes of co-ownership meetings (upon selling the apartment, you will need to provide the report of the latest General Assembly to the purchaser),

How long do you need to keep your documents for a rental?


The tenant  


For an apartment rented as principal residence, whether empty or furnished :

  • the lease contract and the rent receipts should be kept during the time of the lease, and 3 years after leaving.
  • The outgoing inventory of premises and receipt of the security deposit should be kept until reimbursement, if applicable. (in case of damage or breakage, a part or all of the deposit could be retained).
  • Rent revision letters for 1 year after the date of your departure.

The tenant and the owner-lessor 


The rent receipts, rental contracts, inventory must be kept 3 years after the rental period. These periods apply to dwellings rented as principal residence, empty or furnished.

How long should you keep your telephone, water and energy bills?  


You can make inquiries about your energy bills years after settling them. Therefore, keep gas, electricity and water bills for 5 years.

Home phone, mobile, and internet bills should be kept for 1 year. Proof of return of material, such as your internet box, should be kept for 2 years.

How long do you keep refurbishment bills ? 


Major works are generally subject to a ten-year guarantee. As its name suggests, it is therefore necessary to keep the bills for 10 years.

For small jobs (replacement of windows for example) keeping bills for 2 years is sufficient. However, you should keep them for reference, in case of repair!

Boiler maintenance bills are to be kept for 2 years, chimney cleaning for 1 year (chimneys annual maintenance is required).

Accounting documents 


Books and accounting records, as well as receipts of payment should be kept for 10 years.

How to keep these documents? 


PTo facilitate the sorting of your documents, you can open a digital safe. Many banks (see examples) offer to store your documents in a dematerialized way. Just scan them and load them on the dedicated space. It will be easier for you to sort through your papers!

Tax documents 


Article L102B of the Book of Tax Procedures states that "the books, records, documents on which the rights of communication, investigation and control of the administration may be exercised shall be kept for a period of six years [...] " These include income tax, corporate income tax, industrial and commercial profits (BIC), non-commercial profits (NBC), local direct taxes, corporate land subscription (CFE), added business (CVAE), value added tax (VAT), etc.

How long should I keep tax notices? 


Since the tax authorities may contest the amount of your local taxes, you should keep your tax assessment until the end of the next year. That is, your 2017 local tax bill for 2016 housing must be retained until January 2018.
Proof of payment of taxes must be kept 4 years after receipt.

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Photo by Andrew Pons