Landlord looks like not returning deposit... what next?

Hi all,

We moved house a couple of months ago, largely because our landlords lived next door and turned out to be a little bit mad! Without going in to detail, we intended to stay for 3 years but decided to get out of their way because they clearly weren’t going to make things easy, so left after 15 months. (Very happy in new house, just up the road, for the record.)

So, we handed in our notice, did the exit Etat des Lieux (which we knew they’d be horrid about, and we were right - but we’d made the house immaculate!) and they signed it, with witness (agent) to say the house is fine. The agent made it clear to them they had two months to return our 1,000€ deposit.

Well the two months is practically up and no cheque. We have a few more days, but I’m not holding my breath. As I understand it they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. We always paid our rent, on time and in full, and have receipts to prove it (except for the last receipt, which they never issued but the rent was paid direct in to their bank account so bank records prove they received it). They also signed the exit Etat des Lieux saying the house is fine.

Question is, what next if they don’t pay?!

Hurrah. Splendid news. Glad to hear it worked.

Nice one! Glad to hear there’s a happy ending. :slight_smile:

We got our money in the end. Sent Paul’s letter the day after the money was due, then we went off on holiday for a week. While we were away she received the letter on 21st June, and the following day (we think) she came around in person to deliver the cheque (which was carefully dated 18th June, as though she’d already written it… :wink:

Glad we were away. She’s quite horrible so we had no desire to see her. It would’ve been awkward. Anyway, great relief, got our money back without a fight! Phew.

Bon courage

Well, today was their last day. No cheque in the post, so no. Looks like she’s not paying. Sending Paul’s letter by recorded delivery this afternoon. Grrr… =(

Hi Greg,
Did you get it all sorted out?

If they dont pay you can either go to a French Huissier or obtain a “Declaration au greffe de la juridiction de proximite” under Article 647-1 du code de procedure civil. I think you will find this is the most cost effective way to get you money returned.

If you have a good agency they should help you with the return of the money.

Alternatively, if you’d sent it on time and he’d picked it up at the end of the two week limit, you’d have to pay for the extra two weeks.

Landlords have all the rights here. The tenant just has to hope for good faith. Ha Ha.

Petty, but not illegal, was pretty much what the agent said to my wife at the time. Agent was pretty upset about it, actually. She felt awful these people were being so horrible to us and, on top of it all, it was our first house in France. She kept saying “we’re not all like this you know”, etc. Bless her. :wink:

Paul, this may explain why:
Le délai du préavis court à compter du jour de réception de la lettre recommandée ou de la signification de l’acte d’huissier.

If you send it early and he signs for it early, he can throw you out early. It’s petty, but it’s not illegal. You’d know when he signed for it by looking at the return receipt from the AR form.

Hi Paul,

It was a 3-year bail, unfurnished… but therein lies a weird story. (And the agent had never heard anything like it!) We actually gave them 3 and a half months notice, more than the necessary 3 months, because we thought it would be cleaner to finish on a month end. They never said anything, then, with a month to go (when we thought we had everything organised) they decided to throw us out early! Which apparently they could do, because they never accepted the initial agrreed date in writing. Just shockingly mean of them, put us in a right mess, and really stupid because the house is empty so they just threw away 400€ of rent to be spiteful! But long story short - they had the right term of notice, actually more, but they chose not to take it. =/

Two months to the exact day was my experience too. I’d drafted the letter ready for my former landlord and the deposit arrived on deadline day. I spent a couple of weeks worrying about it unnecessarily.

Quick (important) clarification, Greg: Was this place unfurnished (ie: a 3-year bail)? How much notice did you give them? Just wondering if they’re being awkward because of a potential breach of contract.

In my experience, waiting until the absolute last day is completely normal practice. Don’t panic until it’s late. Don’t panic then either, just sent the AR letter Paul so brilliantly penned.

Thanks for responses, chaps. Fingers crossed they’re just leaving it down to the wire to pay (some people just do that - I won’t chase it until it’s actually late). Another option I discovered while Googling around the matter was a phone call to A.N.I.L. who apparently ought to be able to advise:

Just thought I’d note that too, in case someone finds this thread later. =)

I’d start by calling them (they might well have forgotten). Then send a registered letter (lettre recommandée avec avis de réception) as soon as the two months are up. Stick to the facts: I left on X date, the état des lieux agreed Y, you now owe us Z. Give them a week or so to reply.

Something like this will probably do the trick:

Objet : Remboursement du dépôt de garantie

Je vous ai adressé mon congé le (DATE YOU GAVE NOTICE) pour le logement situé à ADDRESS.

J’ai quitté les lieux le (DATE YOU LEFT) après vous avoir remis, ce même jour, les clés et dressé l’état des lieux.

Je vous ai restitué ce logement dans un état normal. N’ayant plus de nouvelles depuis cette date, je vous demande de bien vouloir me restituer le dépôt de garantie versé lors de la signature du bail le (DATE YOU SIGNED CONTRACT), soit €(AMOUNT).

Je vous rappelle que cette somme doit être restituée au locataire dans le délai de deux mois, et qu’au-delà de cette date, les sommes non remboursées portent intérêt au taux légal, soit 0,65 %, majoré de 5 points en cas de condamnation par une décision de justice.


I suggest you ask your local Notaire for her/his advice.

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