Essential rental info

What clauses are prohibited in a furnished apartment lease?

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Before signing a lease, ensure everything stated in your contract is legal. When in the framework of a Code Civil lease, landlords and tenants are free to negotiate the terms of their lease contract. Nevertheless, being aware of specific illegal clauses prohibited by French law is essential.

Purpose of the lease contract

In a lease contract, the following clauses are illegal:

  • The tenant must sign a separate equipment lease in addition to the furnished rental agreement.
  • The landlord can impose no expense on the tenant other than rent and building maintenance charges.
  • A term under which the tenant authorizes the landlord to deduct the rent from the tenant's salary.
  • The owner can impose penalties on the tenant who violates the lease agreement or the building's internal regulations.
  • The clause requires the tenant to pay a fee for a late rent payment reminder or a rent receipt (quittance de loyer), a monthly document certifying that the tenant has fully paid the rent and maintenance charges.
  • A clause that requires the tenant to refund rental repairs expenses in advance based solely on the owner's estimation.

Tenant's home insurance

In France, the tenants must subscribe to home insurance for their rental accommodation. If the tenant fails to provide a home insurance certificate, the owner can refuse to hand over the keys. However, the tenant can take out home insurance with any insurer.

Tenant's payment obligations

A clause stipulates that the tenant must pay their rent by direct debit, or advance drafts are forbidden. 

Use of the rental accommodation by the tenant

Any clauses that limit the tenant's use of the rental property are prohibited, such as terms forbidding the tenant to have guests stay over. Besides, owners are not allowed to refuse pets (except for the dangerous dogs category).

Access to the rental premises during renovation work 

The tenant must grant access to the apartment for essential maintenance or repairs that the landlord is responsible for covering. If these works exceed 21 days, the tenant can request a rent reduction corresponding to the work's length. Hence, any clause forbidding tenants to claim compensation for overtime work is prohibited.

Responsibility for damage

The lease must be fair for both the tenant and the owner. Therefore, the landlord cannot exempt oneself from liabilities and impose them on their tenants.
As a result, the following clauses are prohibited:

  • Clauses stipulate that the tenant should be responsible for any damage to a building element, such as walkways, lighting, or elevators.
  • Clauses stipulate that the tenant is fully responsible for any damage to the rental property, no matter the cause.
  • A clause forbidding the tenant from claiming the owner's liability;
  • A clause exempting the owner from liabilities.

Visiting rights of the rented property

The tenant must allow the apartment viewings if the owner intends to sell or re-let their property. However, it is forbidden to impose tenants giving access to viewings on Sundays, public holidays, or for more than 2 hours on any working day.

Lease Termination

The landlord cannot legally terminate the lease for non-payment of rent and charges, non-renewal home insurance subscription, or neighborhood disturbances, but for no other reasons.

Signing a contract for the furnished apartment rental in Paris you dreamed about is exciting. However, remember that once you sign a lease agreement, it becomes a legally binding contract. To avoid getting into unfair rental contracts, we highly recommend you take the time to carefully review and understand the lease agreement, which can save you potential disputes and headaches down the road. Nowadays, many Real Estate agencies in Paris, such as Paris Rental, provide expat tenants with an English-translated draft lease. So do not hesitate to ask for it for your better understanding.


Editor: Siyi CHEN


Credit Photo@Tyler Franta