Property letting term - one year or three contract?

I am looking for advice on renting out our property, a small 2-bed house.

We have owned the property for 18 years and it has always been rented out on 3 year contracts, but as our current tenant it vacating at the end of the month, somebody advised me to change over to using a one year furnished contract.

Please can anybody advise me on the pros and cons of 1-year vs. 3 year contract?


“One year rental, give notice 3 months in advance of the lease ending… and change your tenants.”

That was the advice given to us, which we blithely ignored as the tenants seemed so nice… big mistake.
Once they were successfully over that one-year threshold, they turned into the tenants from hell and we had to sell the house in order to get them out.

I would suggest you stick to 1 year lease, with notice correctly given and get them out at the year-end… all in accordance with the law.

Others will chime in with lots of their own tales (good and bad)… and lots of advice…
In the end… it’s up to you.

Best of luck


Agreed. We learnt the hard way. 3 year leases unfurnished seemed a good idea. Finished up in court twice to get different tenants to pay back debts and to evict them. The first one - she still owes us the money years on, despite a court order, but we were the end of a long line that included her phone company, the water and electricity companies and the tax man.


Thank you for the feedback so far. Sorry to hear that you have had problems with tenants on 3-year contracts. We have been lucky so far and mostly had good tenants.

Do I understand from what you have written that if tenants are on a one-year contract and you don’t give them 3-months notice before the tenancy comes to an end, they can stay on indefinitely?


I’m talking about many years ago and things might well have changed.

We suddenly found ourselves in a position where the tenant had the right to stay as long as they wished… we could only end the contract (get the house back) by selling or showing our family genuinely needed a home.

They thought they had found Brits with pockets full of gold … and, suspecting our ignorance of French legalities, they played the system with ease…
making demand after demand.

I would seriously suggest you take proper legal advice before going any further.

There’s lots of stuff on the internet, but it can be confusing and… when push comes to shove … you need to know where you stand and what your financial liabilities are.

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But what is a one year lease that does that? And for every change in tenants you need diagnostics, etat de lieu, assessment of their dossier, etc etc etc, as well as usually needing to do some repairs or painting. So changing tenants every year is a pain.

We have had similar issue with a 12 month meublé contract. For years tenants generally only stayed a year or so and that was fine. But we have now discovered that should they wish to stay beyond the year we have no option to get them out but to give them a congé pour vente delivered by a hussier (360€) as apparently registered letters can be challenged successfully now… The other option is to give them congé to use the property ourselves, but can’t then subsequently rent it.

But that seems to be the law now for both 1 year meublés and 3 year vide contracts, that you can only ask them to leave for a sale or to reoccupy the property. So the difference between them is that you can do this once a year for meublé, but only every 3 or 6 years for unfurnished.

Unless anyone knows different that there is a one year contract that is non renewable or you can just end for any reason you choose?

So depends what you longer term plans are for the property.

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How are registered letters now challengeable? This is quite worrying.

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Apparently have been successfully challenged at a tribunal by tenants who didn’t wish to leave. So most tenants would no doubt be fine, but if you have awkward one…

The Immobilière advised that a using a hussier was the only way that is 100% sure.

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Thanks Jane. hmm. Sounds like those tenants couldn’t deny receiving the registered letter and having been made aware of its contents but were able to plead special circumstances. Not sure how a huissier (short of being sent to physically throw them out after notice) would make a difference. A point to keep an eye on I guess.

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Our tenants refused to take delivery of letters to sign for… refused to act on the slip left by the postman.

Refused to open the door to the Huissier (which was our next step).

There is a long story, which I am not going into any further…

I simply suggest that you take proper legal advice before doing anything further with regards Renting.

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wonder how often “informal solutions” are used in France then

Probably not as frequently as used in the UK.

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We did, and still had to go to court.

Please don’t say that! We have just sent the order to the huissier…

Good luck! Maybe because it was January. The mistake she made was not coming to court. If she had of done, no doubt she would have been looked upon with favour. But insulting the court? Big mistake. (And no, we didn’t feel guilty turfing her out since all she did was go back to her Mum until she got a place in Agen)

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It seems that for a one-year contrat there are three reasons for terminating:

(1) Sale of the property

(2) To occupy it oneself or a family member, in which case it can no longer be rented out (Would it be sufficient to occupy the property for one or two months, and then rent it out again?)

(3) For legitimate and serious reasons. Even if this concept has not been clearly defined by the law, it can be serious faults of the tenant - important unpaid bills, lack of insurance, subletting, numerous damages, serious neighborhood disturbances.

Source: [[Donner congé à son locataire en location meublée - Résiliation de bail | De Particulier à Particulier - PAP]]

Our letting agent says not. But didn’t give a length of time that would then be possible to rent it again. One of the thoughts we had was to completely renovate the flat (it needs it) and then re-rent. But he says that’s not possible.

And reason number three looks as if it could have a big price tag!

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