Last day of residential rental agreement

Hi all, I hope everyone survived the weather in France last week. We have been renting in Paris for 5 months through a independent landlord who has used an American style contract rather than French. The last day of our lease is Saturday 6th July and then we are being relocated to Germany. The removalists are only available in the afternoon of Saturday 6th July and then I have cleaners booked after that. There is nothing written in our lease about departure time, so I assumed we had a right to be at the apartment for the last day of the lease up until 23h59. We won’t be staying until midnight, but the owner (American) has told us if we have not “checked out” by 14h00 on Saturday 6th July, we will be charged 300€ late fee! We have been living in a furnished, privately rented apartment for 5 months, not an Airbnb!

Does anyone know where I can locate information on whether we are allowed to use the apartment we have been renting for the full day on the last day of our lease if there is no exit time stipulated in the contract?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Tell the landlord to jog on - he’s broken the law by not issuing a standard French contract. Sounds like the one you signed would be unenforceable anyway.


This is going to boil down to possession being 9 parts of the law isn’t it?

If you have a security deposit and the landlord withholds 300€ of it on the basis that you were not out by 14:00 then that will leave you having to seek redress, for 300€ it’s probably not worth it which is what your landlord is counting on. However, as Simon hints, it might be awkward if things got as far as a court of law so you potentially have leverage.

If the landlord hasn’t go anything to hold back then you can tell him to go whistle - maybe you would be pursued in the French courts but for the amount involved I doubt your landlord would bother.

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The other question being was the 14h00 deadline even specified in the illegal contract?

Jeri specifically mentioned that it wasn’t:

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Woops - too much sun !! :wink:

Ask him how he declares the rental income… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Like Simon has said he has not complied correctly with French law so not sure how he thinks he can enforce a departure time.

Then again, if he withholds money from a deposit I’m not sure how you would have any redress for that as, again, the contract is not valid in France.

If he does have your deposit money then maybe try a friendly chat to agree a compromise.

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“Par exemple, une lettre de congé reçue par le propriétaire le 5 septembre fait courir un préavis jusqu’au 5 octobre à minuit s’il est d’1 mois”

the above comes from this link. I know this talks about the tenant and midnight, but I do not see why it would not be midnight as there is no other time mentioned on the lease.

The last day of the lease - is surely that - with 24 hours in a day.

Make sure you do the " l’état des lieux" with the landlord. Provided the agreed condition on leaving is the same as the condition on arrival you should get your deposit back in 1 month but maximum 2.

Stella - it really doesn’t matter. The contract, as described here, is invalid.

Simon - which bit does not matter?

the “state of the property” will certainly matter if the landlord decides to withhold monies.

and, if I had arranged workers to clean etc, I would want to feel confident that they would be allowed to work and that I would not be fleeced by the landlord.

It is of little comfort (IMO) to know that the other party is in the wrong, especially when one will be (possibly) fighting with them over money.

Stella - the whole rental is illegal / invalid - based on an American style contract instead of a French one. A contractual non-starter.

Thank you everyone for your comments. To make things even more complicated the Landlord has asked me to cancel my cleaner on Saturday 6th July as she would prefer to use her own for the end of lease clean on Monday 8th July. She has assured me she will not be moving in herself until after the end of lease clean on Monday 8th, but her Manger for the property has unwittingly mentioned that the landlords intend to hold a party at the apartment on Sunday 7th July, so I guess they are trying to charge me to pay for their cleaner to come the day after their party!

I don’t have any way of proving they will be using the apartment after we leave on Saturday 6th July and before their end of lease cleaner comes on Monday 8th July- other than entering the courtyard using the door code and photographing their gathering in the apartment on Sunday 7th July, but I am sure this would be illegal, so I won’t. Any ideas?

I think I will just keep my cleaner booked for Saturday and make sure the manager includes that the place is cleaned to a highly satisfactory standard at the time we leave. I was told by the owner though that if I use my cleaner and the result is not to a sufficient standard, they will need to still have their own cleaner come on Monday 8th July to “bring the apartment up to standard”!

I emailed a few days ago and told them firstly they can’t pluck a “late check out fee” of 300€ out of the air without any justification (the rent is 2200€/month) and secondly it is not reasonable for them to expect me to pay for their cleaner to do an “end of lease clean” on Monday 8th if they plan to use the place on Sunday 7th July. I haven’t received a reply from them and I don’t expect to.

The Manager contacted me about something unrelated, she wanted to pop over and take a measurement of the oven but during this conversation she also advised that I will need to provide proof of a link to a website about renting in France that shows I have a right to occupy the apartment for the entire day on the last day of the lease before I can expect a reply from the landlords! She also confirmed the landlords have already asked her to book their cleaner for Monday 8th July!!

I regret to say, it sounds as if you are caught in an illegal situation and the landlord is running rings around you.

You need to take yourself to your nearest Citizens Advice and give them all the info. Failing that, go to a Notaire and take legal advice.

Huissière de Justice is another useful place.

I really do not think we can go any further than we have.

Thanks for the support Stella.

If anyone knows or is able to find a reference to the expected handover time on the final day of a short term (5 months) furnished private residential lease, I would be most appreciative.

Kind regards,


I’ll try this one more time - it doesn’t matter, you don’t have a legally recognised contract.

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Unfortunately Jeri you have entered into an arrangement that probably seemed like a good idea at the time but clearly wasn’t.

Your “contract” is unlikely to be enforceable in France as it doesn’t confirm with French law. You won’t find any rules in relation to what is, effectively, an informal relationship. You could try an avocat but you would probably be wasting your money.

Your only way forward seems to be to attempt a compromise.

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With respect to the views of others, I don’t think the answers you have received are all necessarily correct, because some are based on assumptions.
In my opinion:

  1. A correctly written and signed contract is just that - a contract. In so far as it determines the matter in dispute you can therefore undertake proceedings in a court (Tribunal) on the basis of it. In principle the purpose of the contract is not relevant - only the extent, or limitation, of what it actually records.
  2. However, in this instance you plainly are dealing with a rental contract, and any claim must be within French Law on the subject, regardless of what the Agreement says. One requirement is that the contract must be written in French. Is yours?
  3. Assuming that American tenancy agreements are similar to English, the end of the tenancy is determined either a] with reference to the start-date of the tenancy; or b] to a defined finish date. To be an enforceable contract this should be defined in the Agreement/Lease.
  4. Whichever definition is used, the tenant has the use of the property up to the end of the defined termination date - ie. midnight. This is the same under French Law.
  5. A Landlord cannot introduce a penalty clause, or anything else, that is not recorded in the Agreement, and is compliant with the French Code Civil.
  6. Your only problem is that your Landlord may try to deduct the ‘penalty’ from your deposit. Plainly this is not legal, because there is no provision for it in your Agreement.
  7. As regards the cleaning charge - do you care if he has a party in his own house after you have left? Sounds like a good arrangement that you just pay him what you would have paid your own cleaners (not more!). The benefit is a] he can’t claim the property was not clean, and hold back deposit money; and b] you can with-hold this payment justifiably, until you get your deposit back. If the deposit is not refunded in full then you’ve got a discount on the reduction. He can’t pursue you for it by legal action.

I’m sure we are all hoping that Jeraldine has spoken with her local Mairie, Gendarmes or whoever… and got firm legal advice.

This is a difficult time for her and she does need to know exactly where she stands.

@Jeri Please do let us know how you get on.