French law protects accommodation seekers from all forms of discrimination. A landlord must respect certain rules. Above all, he cannot ask a potential tenant to supply some types of document.
Rental contract: contents
The rental contract (in French, 'bail') must be filled in and signed by both the tenant and the landlord (le bailleur). Each party must keep an original copy.
This contract should contain:
- the name and company name of the landlord, his address or head office address (in the case of a company), the name of the intermediary, if any (e.g., an estate agent),
- the contract start date and its length: in France contracts are generally fixed to a minimum of three years, during which period the owner cannot reclaim his property,
- a detailed description of the property and additional elements (garden, garage, etc.),
- a list of communal areas (waste disposal area, bicycle lock-up, etc.),
- the rental fees, how they will be paid, their revision,
- living surface,
- deposit amount (dépôt de garantie), which cannot exceed one month's rent if the rent is paid on a monthly basis. No deposit is required where the rent is payable in advance on a quarterly basis.
Rental contract : Documents to be supplied
The landlord may ask the tenant to supply certain documents: proof of employment, recent pay slips or a bank account ID slip. For self-employed people, the landlord cannot request more than two years’ balance sheets.
A landlord cannot force the tenant to pay the rent via standing order (prélèvement automatique).
Lastly, he cannot request documents concerning the tenant's private life, such as bank statements, credit check, marriage certificate, cohabitation certificate, divorce ruling, medical file, criminal records.
In France, no one can be refused accommodation because of their origin, race, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs.
© All Contents, Laurence de PERCIN, janvier 2014.