In addition to being the key document involved in the leasing of a residential property, the tenancy agreement is an important document to which both parties can refer to during the lease. It is clearly necessary to understand its terms and to know what information it contains in order to be effective when it is necessary to refer to it. Tenants should keep it safe in their records at all times.
In this article, I will provide brief notes on the difference between old and new leases, since this change occurred in February 2015 and old leases should no longer be used at all (those signed before that date certainly remain valid and only new contracts are affected).
Whether you are a tenant or landlord/landlady, you should ensure that you carefully check what the lease contains and what it does not (electrical appliances, services, parking, storage, furniture, etc.). This information can be found on the first page with the contact details of both parties.
Tenants are only permitted to use up to one third of the property’s surface area for commercial purposes if this clause is checked.
The amount of the rent
The first month is usually payable in advance by the tenant, however it is completely illegal for the landlord/landlady to charge them more than a month in advance (just as it is illegal to ask them to pay a deposit for the keys), unless of course it is an amicable agreement between the two parties.
The perfect example of a delicate clause: it is usually checked as prohibiting pets, unless your landlord accepts them openly in which case you will have no problem as a tenant.
Check the rule carefully for the property if there is one, because on the second page you place your initials in order to confirm that you are aware of it. However, what often occurs is that the landlord/landlady “accommodates” you by verbally accepting your pet, while “no” is still checked in the clause, simply because they wish to cover themselves in the event of your pet damaging the property or neighborhood disturbances. It goes without saying that your pet must not cause any harm to your neighbors, otherwise they will be able to make a complaint. You are certainly responsible for keeping your pets under control.
Right of lease transfer or sublease
These are public order rights, which means that, as a tenant, no one can prevent you from transferring your lease or subletting your apartment, not even your landlord. However you are required to notify them according to the required deadlines. In order to do so, refer to the back of your lease, and check the total duration of the lease on page 1. Your landlord does have the right to know in advance when you are leaving and especially who will be returning if that is the case. It is also a matter of courtesy. Moreover, maintaining a cordial agreement with your landlord will ensure that you, as a tenant, will have good references for your future housing applications.
The cost of all services must be clearly stated, in addition to the total amount of the rent. This is also a new feature of the 2015 leases.
The brand new feature of new leases compared to the old is the post-dated checks clause: if the tenant checks and signs that they undertake to provide their landlord a series of post-dated checks, they will be required to honor that commitment, whereas the landlord was previously unable under any circumstances to ask for the series of post-dated checks from the tenant. If you are a tenant, make sure you discuss it with your landlord before signing the lease. This does not apply if you are using another payment method such as a bank transfer.
Previous cost of rent
Also a 2015 novelty, this states that the notice given by the landlord to the new tenant informing them of the last amount paid (last 12 months) should be much more visible in the new lease: this makes it possible to avoid excessive increases in rent. However, it is worth noting that, the landlord/landlady is not required to provide it if the construction date is less than 5 years old.
You should be aware that if you and another individual happen to be placed on the lease and both of you have signed the joint commitment clause, you would be required to pay your co-tenant’s rent in the event of their failing to do so and vice versa.
Refer to the back of your lease to find out what assistance is available to you in any particular situation.
Both landlords and tenants may contact the Régie du Logement at any time in the event of requiring any advice.