Updated: Apr 8, 2020
Rental charges are an essential part of any rental agreement. The current rental legislation, the “Bail à loyer” issued in 2006, lists them out and stipulates, for each of them, whether it is up to the landlord or to the tenant to pay for them.
1) Consumption charges: borne by the tenant
Electricity, gas, heating, water,
Are excluded: the costs of reading the consumed units, which are borne by the landlord.
2) Costs related to the maintenance of the rented property and of the communal space (when the rental property is in a residence) : borne by the tenant
- The tenant must take care of all maintenance jobs; they rank from the general cleaning and upkeep of the inside and of the outside (for instance cutting the lawn and trimming the edges) to annual tasks such as the revision of the boiler and the changing of the ventilation filters.
- Are also included the maintenance of the fireplace, the letterbox and the lift inside the residence (if the tenant does not live on the ground floor).
3) Costs for small repairs: borne by the tenant unless fault/damage is due to wear and tear (see section 6)
Caused to the floors, walls, windows, doors, fireplace, kitchen appliances, …
4) Local taxes : borne by tenant
5) Management fees : borne by landlord
Unless some of them relate specifically to a task commissioned by the tenant
6) Replacement due to wear and tear, dilapidation and force majeure : borne by landlord
Replacement of wallpaper:
Careful here! Marks on walls are not treated as wear and tear, they fall in the category 2 above.
Are also included in this section the maintenance and replacement of the floor coverings, the roof, gutters, pavement outside the property.
All costs usually endorsed by the landlord can be charged to the tenant instead if the latter clearly is the person responsible for the damage. The reversed situation is also applicable.
A rental contract, duly agreed and signed by both parties, may overrule some of the above mentioned information however in absence of such mentions, all parties must refer to the legislation.
In a residence, the management company is the recipient for most invoices. At the end of each calendar year, it allocates the total costs to each landlord (based on the surface owned) and the landlord in turn passes on the relevant costs to the tenant. This may happen some time after a tenant has left and it justifies why the landlord has up to 6 months to release the tenant’s bank warranty.
In light of the above and in order to facilitate the process, the landlord may elect to invoice the tenant for a fixed monthly amount; these advances must be adjusted with the actual costs at some stage during the following year. So-called actual costs must also be justified.
It is advisable to go through the description of each charge with a fine comb ahead of the signature of the rental contract; many tenants are expatriate and one often does not realise that rental conditions can differ greatly from one country to the other.
The rental contract templates available via the internet are generic and unspecific; the estate agent is there to draft a rental contract that relates specifically to a given property with a listing of all the relevant charges and the details of who is responsible for what. Also do not hesitate to ask ahead of the contract signature how the maintenance should be dealt with: some landlords do not want the tenants to paint the walls themselves but insists on professionals to do the job.
As always, these articles are a summary presentation of various topics on real estate. These topics ought to be reviewed with a professional when approached for an individual case.