The must have clauses in a residential rental contract

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

When negotiating your “contrat de bail”, you will find obvious to discuss some clauses such as the rental price. Some other clauses do not seem so critical yet it is essential that you check them all so as to understand thoroughly the contract you are entering into.

Personal details of both parties:

Communication is key so make sure to mention full current addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.If a married couple is renting, both names (and details) should be listed so if one partner dies, the other can stay legitimately as long as the terms of the contract are respected.Co-tenants are co-responsible for complying with all the terms of the contract.

The property:

It is important to specify its boundaries and all that is included in it whether it is a parking space, a cellar in a residence, …

The estate agent will have checked the proprietary rights of the landlord prior to signature.

The price:

The current legislation stipulates that the rent can only be adjusted once every 2 years so there is no need to add anything.

The warranty:

A refundable warranty worth a maximum of 3-month rent is requested on the day of entering the property. This warranty is either paid into the landlord’s bank account or it is held as a bank warranty (it stays in the tenant’s bank account but only the landlord can have access to it and so until he/she releases it back). The landlord can only use the warranty to cover the costs of damages incurred by the tenant; under no circumstances does it replace the payment of rent.

The duration of the contract:

It can be unlimited but usually it is limited to a specific duration. Traditionally the banking contracts ran for 3 years so some landlords still impose such a long rental period. However nowadays a period of 1 or 2 years is more commonly requested.

Termination of contract:

It is essential to clearly lay out the terms of the termination and those of its renewal. By law the termination of a contract calls for a minimum notice of 3 months. Some contracts stipulate an automatic renewal but make sure you agree with the implied extended rental period.All expatriate tenants insist on the insertion of a “Clause Diplomatique” as it allows them to break a contract before its determined end. However this only applies when the tenant is sent back to his/her country of origin by his/her employer. The 3-month termination notice must still be given and paid for.

The maintenance of the property:

Broadly speaking the tenant is responsible for the general day to day upkeep of the property during the occupancy period and the landlord is responsible at all times for maintaining the structure of the building.

It is advisable to list out who is responsible for maintaining specific items so there are no argument down the road (e.g. who maintains the boiler, who cuts the edges in the garden, should the tenant repaint the property before exiting it?).

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