Vacation Rentals in France

Rent a home, condo, timeshare, or B & B instead of a hotel room - which is a better cost alternative overall.

Nice villa rentals in French Riviera,  Burgundy, Chamonix or Cote d'Azur,  view vacation homes for rent throughout the provinces of France.

This short notice attempts to provide some helpful legal advice regarding vacation rentals in France
What to do before signing a rental agreement?

1. Ask for a detailed description document, which is mandatory under French law that states the full characteristics of the house or of the apartment, signed by the landlord. The more detailed the description document is, the better. For your information, should the landlord provide misleading written description to the tenant, he may be fined up to 1.500 €.

2. Check on the reservation terms: "arrhes" ("deposit") or "acompte" ("down payment")

Arrhes ("deposit")
According to Article 1590 of the French Civil Code, when a promise was made with a deposit ("arrhres"), each contracting party is free to withdraw from the contract. If a deposit has been paid to the landlord by the tenant and the tenant withdraws from the contract, the landlord is entitled to keep the full amount of the deposit. On the other hand, if the landlord withdraws from the contract he is obliged to refund twice the amount of the deposit.

Acompte ("down payment")

An acompte ("down payment") renders the lease binding. The "acompte" is an advance of the rent. In case of withdrawal, the tenant has to pay the entire rent. According to French law, this advance cannot exceed 25 % of the rent. In short, you should check the nature of the amount required when signing the lease. If it is not specified, it is supposed to be "arrhes".

3. Insurance policies covering the risks of the lease
In principle, the tenant is to be held liable for damages. The landlord may therefore require that you subscribe an insurance policy providing coverage for a number of different risks such as fire and water damage. There are few chances that the landlord will accept an insurance policy from other countries. You should then subscribe an insurance policy in a French company for a limited period of time.

However, since subscribing an insurance policy in France may be very time-consuming when you do not master the language, you may ask the landlord to have his own insurance policy covering the above mentioned risks.

4. Form of the contract
You should require a written contract which should be very detailed regarding all characteristics of the lease: Term of the contract, rent and extra costs, the amount which has to be paid in advance (see "acompte" or "arrhes").

What to think about once you arrive and depart?
As soon as you arrive at the house or the apartment you have rented, it is very important to draft an inventory of fixture and fittings ("état des lieux") signed by the landlord and by the tenant. This inventory describes the condition of the house or apartment at the arrival of the tenant. When you leave, do not forget to fill out the same form to make sure the landlord will not state afterwards that something has been broken and that he may therefore be entitled to keep a part of the deposit.
Important notice: In the absence of such an inventory, the house or apartment is supposed to be in a good condition at the arrival of the tenant. A dishonest landlord can easily keep a
part of the deposit by stating that something is missing or has been damaged in the apartment or house.

Fixtures & Fittings Inventory Agreement

What to do when you are not satisfied with the house or apartment?

5. The house or apartment does not fulfill your expectations
The landlord provided misleading representation of the rented house or apartment. The providing of incorect data about yourself regarding the rented house constitutes a misdemeanor under French law. The landlord may be fined up to 750 €.

6. The apartment or house shows defects and does not allow you to make use of the house as you should do. According to article 1721 of the French civil Code, a warranty is due to the tenant for all vices
or defects of the object leased that prevent the use of it, even if the landlord did not know of them at the time of the lease. Any losses that result from those vices or defects have to be repaired by the landlord.
As a consequence, should the apartment show any defect, you are entitled to ask for a reduction of the rent if you are still willing to stay. If not, you can ask the landlord to reimburse the amount given in advance (see "acompte" or "arrhres").
In any case you should make a written complaint to the landlord

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