Ending a tenancy at the end of the contract

Our tenants have just informed us that they wish to end the tenancy. We have asked them to give us 3 months notice in writing but the lady - who has already moved out pointed out that their 3 years is up next month so they don't need to give notice, they can just move out at the end of the tenancy in three weeks - eeek!

Have searched the net with no joy so wondering if anyone has come up against this before and can advise. Thanks for any help offered.

Thank you very much for all your replies and the links posted, they were very helpfulespecially noting the new laws. Have checked out the legal position and apparently it is still as in the past, the contract is automatically renewed and they have to give us three months notice whenever they want to leave. We are not obliged to ask them if they want to stay unless we have made changes to the terms, as it happens we haven't even put up the rent in three years as we were so pleased to have at last found decent tenants. We do have a regular French contract and do everything by the book so all is cool, just really letting everyone know what we have found for future reference. As for three peaceful years, the previous three years we have had four sets of tenants with two of them leaving due to 'mutation' therefore a months notice, so we deserved a break. As we only have a rental apartment in our house because we can't afford to pay the whole mortgage it is extremely stressful each time we have change tenants; My advice to anyone who thinks it is a good way to finally get on the housing ladder, is don't do it. i certainly wouldn't do it again.

In the course of my research I have found the law has changed since March of this year but fortunately only applies to contracts signed after this date. Giving even more rights to the tenants.

I will take advantage and if anyone is thinking of a short term let in Burgundy or even a full let the info is here

Thanks guys

Tracy, you may already have done this, but have a look at Useful Links/Property. I updated today some links to sites giving details of rental laws both from the owner's and the tenant's viewpoints. You might find what you're looking for there.

One thought, I seem to recall from many, many years ago, that there could be a clause in the rental contract covering "tacite reconduction" , i.e. that if you don't give notice in advance the assumption is that you have agreed to renew. More details here. http://droit-finances.commentcamarche.net/faq/508-tacite-reconduction-des-contrats-resiliation. It all depends on what's in the contract.

Tracy, I have rented ever since I have lived in France and have always had to give 3 months notice, prior to the end of each contracted term, if I wanted to leave. I once gave one months notice but this was because I had to change departments for my job and therefore was acceptable. However, the law recently changed and it is now two months notice for both tenant and landlord.

Unfortunately as the tenant has already moved out, you will probably find it very difficult to get the money out of her. I suspect that she has done it on purpose. I am assuming that it was a private letting arangement, i.e. you didn't rent it out via an agency? If this is the case, I wouldn't waste your time trying to get the money back. Get it on the Bon Coin and hopefully you will find some new tenants soon.

If it had been rented out via an agency then the tenants wouldn't have been able to get away with it. Also for information, as a landlady you are not obliged to contact your tenants prior to the end of their contract as the rental agreement remains in place by mutual agreement as long as neither party informs the other (by letter sent recorded delivery with "accusé de réception"), 2 months prior to the end of the contract or indeed at any time, as long as there is two months notice.

If you have not returned the deposit, I would suggest a letter via recorded delivery, signed for, informing the tenant that as with any rental agreement, you require 2 months notice of their intention to end the tenancy. If you have not received a letter by recorded delivery, technically the tenant has not ended the agreement. However as you have the deposit, you can suggest that in lieu of the two months notice, you will accept the deposit as payment. If they agree, then get it in writing as its dodgy ground. You cannot keep the deposit just like that, so they need to agree in writing so that you are covered.

I hope all that makes sense and if you need any further help, don't hesitate. I have two very good contacts who work for rental agencies.

I have always rented via agencies who have always asked in writing 3 months before the end of the 3 year period whether we and I think the tennants wanted to continue the arrangment. In any case I think the tennant can get out with a month's notice if they have justification (change of job etc). Last one we had didn't have just cause so paid for the 3 months.

Hi Tracy -

Did you have this in writing ie as part of the rental contract, when they moved in 3 years ago, not that it changes anything now!

You should always ask your tenants months before a contract is up, if they intend to stay or move out and as of when!

The laws seems to be on the tenants side in France not the owner, I have heard many horror stories, and for that very reason we would never rent out in France, but that's us. That aside, as it's not about us, it's about you! You are lucky to have had 3 years constant tenancy, and hopefully without too many problems, and the fact that they want to move out, as in lots of cases, people do not want to move out, and getting them to move out seems very difficult - and without them paying any rent!

Yes, I would advertise as of yesterday, and make sure that under the terms and conditions, you point this out to your future tenants ie and get them to sign/initial that particular part of the contract, and if they are not willing to do this, well, I would not have them move in!

Good luck, hope all works out for the best...

PS! Why don't you tell us on SFN, AngleInfo etc where you are in France, where you are near + what size property you have available to rent, + furnishing, minimum rental period, if anything is included, is car needed, it's a long list, but only to cover yourself etc - word of mouth sometimes works better than any ads, and it might just be that someone happens to know someone who needs a roof over their heads... :)

What she has said sounds reasonable to me?

You appear to have enjoyed 3 years of trouble free occupancy. I think I would be inclined to count my blessings and re-advertise the place.....good luck!