Landlord: how to terminate your lease and what are the steps to follow?
The landlord cannot terminate the lease whenever he wants. In general, he must wait until the expiry date of the lease, except in case of fault of the tenant for a legitimate and serious reason. The notice period of 3 months for furnished accommodation and 6 months for empty accommodation must be respected.
The owner can terminate the lease only if he/she wants to use the dwelling as his/her main residence to house his/her spouse, cohabitant, children or parents (leave to live), if he/she has to sell the dwelling (leave to sell) or if there is a legitimate and serious reason of non-renewal of the lease.
How do we do it?
The lessor systematically gives notice by registered letter or by hand against a receipt.
The Leave to Sell :
The landlord can give notice and terminate his lease to sell his dwelling. This notice must clearly indicate the owner's desire to sell his dwelling, as well as the price and conditions of the sale. The notice must detail the purpose of the sale and precisely describe the property sold. It is not necessary to mention in the notice to sell the surface area of the property sold, nor to attach to it the diagnostics required for the sale, the co-ownership regulations or the descriptive state of division. The notice to sell reproduces the first two paragraphs of article 15-II of the 1989 law.
The notice to sell is an offer to sell to the tenant which is valid only during the first 2 months of the notice period:
- If the tenant expressly refuses the offer or does not respond within 2 months, the offer lapses.
- If the tenant accepts the offer, it is important that the deed of sale is signed within 2 months of acceptance (4 months in case of a mortgage)
The lessor must send a new offer to the tenant if he decides to lower the sale price or grant more advantageous conditions to a third party even if the latter has already left the premises. If he fails to do so, he may request the cancellation of the sale and this new offer is valid for 1 month. It is important to note that the lessor does not have to propose a purchase offer to the tenant if the sale of the dwelling is made to a relative up to the 3th degree included, i.e. child, grandchild, parent or grandparent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece.
Leave to inhabit the dwelling
The lessor has the possibility to give the lessee notice to take over the dwelling in order to live in it or to install one of his relatives there. The list of beneficiaries of the repossession is restrictive. It can be the lessor or :
- Of his or her PACS partner, spouse or common-law partner for at least one year on the date of the leave;
- From ancestors (grandparents, parents);
- Of his descendants (children, grandchildren) ;
- Descendants of the spouse, cohabitant or civil union partner
The notice must indicate the name and address of the beneficiary of the repossession under penalty of penalty (see our model of the notice of repossession to live)
The beneficiary of the repossession must occupy the dwelling as a principal residence. If the property is jointly owned, each owner may invoke the repossession for his or her own benefit or that of a relative. In the case where the property is split between a bare owner and a usufructuary, only the usufructuary can give notice to repossess the property for his benefit.
Leave for legitimate and serious reasons
If the tenant defaults on his obligations, the landlord can give notice. For example:
- Accumulation and Repetition of Significant Late Rent Payments;
- Tenant's aggressive behavior toward the neighborhood;
- The tenant does not occupy the dwelling as a principal residence;
- Tenant sublets the unit;
- Tenant converted the unit without permission;
Please noten: the notion of "legitimate and serious" reasons is not limited to the lessee's breaches of contract, as other situations, assessed on a case-by-case basis, may be raised by the lessor (this is the case for expropriation, for example).
Some tenants are protected Thus, the lessor cannot give notice to :
- An elderly tenant whose annual resources are below the resource ceiling applicable to the social rental loan (PLUS);
- A tenant who has a dependent living with him or her who is over 65 years of age and whose combined annual income for all the people living in the dwelling is less than the income limit applicable to the social rental loan (PLUS);
If the tenant meets the age and resource requirements, he or she may be entitled to a lease renewal unless the lessor :
- Is himself over 65 years old;
- Or has resources below the above-mentioned ceilings;
- Or offers a relocation solution to its tenant, corresponding to its needs and possibilities, in a nearby geographical area;
Termination of the lease by the landlord
The landlord can terminate the lease to his tenant if he respects specific reasons as well as a longer notice period than for the tenant's leave. The landlord cannot terminate the lease at any time: he must wait until the end of the current lease, i.e. until the renewal date. He must inform the tenant by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or hand-delivered, and this at least 6 months before the expiry date. If this is not done or if it is done too late, the tenant can claim the nullity of the notice.
The landlord has the option of giving the tenant notice only if:
- The dwelling is repossessed to live in as a principal residence or to house a relative (cohabitant, spouse, children of the owner or his/her spouse)
- Sale of housing ;
- Existence of a legitimate and serious reason for not renewing the lease ;
If, following a notice to vacate, the tenant finds that the property is empty, is being used as a second home or has not been repossessed, he or she may claim damages from the district court by providing evidence. However, if the landlord lies about the reason for leaving, he/she is liable to a criminal fine. In the case where the owner's accommodation is subsidized by Anah or APL, he can only give notice for a legitimate and serious reason.
How do I send the notice to the tenant and what is the notice period?
If the landlord gives notice, he must notify the tenant by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by hand delivery or by bailiff's deed with a precise reason for the notice. The other means of informing the tenant are not valid (telephone, e-mail...).
The notice of termination must have specific references to the reason:
- If it is a notice for repossession: the letter must indicate the name of the beneficiary, his address and the nature of his relationship with the lessor;
- If it is a leave to sell: see below;
- If it is a notice for legitimate and serious reasons: the letter must indicate the reason for the non-renewal of the lease;
For unfurnished rentals, the notice must be sent to the tenant at least 6 months before the end of the lease. For furnished properties, the notice must be sent 3 months before. Once the tenant has received the notice, he/she can leave the property whenever he/she wishes and will be liable for the rent and charges only for the time he/she occupies the property.
What are the deadlines after the purchase of a rented property?
When an owner buys a dwelling occupied by a tenant and wishes to give him/her notice, he/she must respect certain deadlines:
- If it is a leave for repossession of a dwelling: `
- If the contract expires less than 2 years before the purchase, he will have to wait 2 years
- If the contract expires more than 2 years after the purchase, he will have to wait for the end of the lease
- If it is a leave to resell the dwelling:
- If the contract expires less than 3 years after the purchase, he will have to wait until the end of the first renewal or the first renewal of the lease
- If the contract expires more than 3 years after the purchase, he must wait until the end of his current contract
When the landlord sends his notice to sell his property, he must offer the tenant to buy before he can sell. In fact, the notice to sell is an offer to sell for the tenant. The notice must be explicit, under penalty of nullity of the notice:
- Amount and conditions of sale
- Complete reproduction of the first 5 paragraphs of paragraph II of article 15 of the law of July 6, 1989
- Precise description of what the sale includes
However, the jurisprudence indicates that it is not obligatory to indicate the tantièmes of the lot, nor the descriptive state of division, nor to provide the co-ownership regulations. When the tenant receives the offer, he has two months to take a position. If he decides to refuse or not to come forward, the unit must be vacated at the latest at the end of the lease. However, if the offer is accepted by the tenant, he has two months (without a loan) or four months (with a loan) to sign the deed at the notary's office. If the tenant is refused the loan, he loses his right of pre-emption and the owner is entitled to sell to the buyer of his choice. However, if the sale price is lowered in order to find a buyer, the owner must inform the tenant.
Termination of the lease for legitimate and serious reasons
The law provides for the possibility of terminating the lease and giving notice for a legitimate and serious reason corresponding to the non-fulfillment of one of the tenant's obligations such as repeated late payment of rent, violation of the co-ownership regulations, unauthorized subletting, dangerous animals kept, neighborhood disturbances... It is up to the Court to determine when the tenant contests the legitimate and serious character.
Implementation of the resolutory clause
This clause in the rental contract may provide for termination by operation of law in the event of non-payment of rent on the agreed date, non-payment of utilities, non-payment of the security deposit or failure to take out home insurance.
In what situations can the landlord terminate the lease?
The landlord cannot terminate the lease and give notice to the tenant to leave the premises whenever he wants and must wait until the lease expires, except in the case of fault on the part of the tenant. A notice period of 3 months must be respected for a furnished rental and 6 months for a non-furnished rental. In short, the owner can only terminate the lease if he/she wants to take back the property to live in it or to house a relative, if he/she sells the property, or for a legitimate and serious reason for not renewing the lease.
The notice must be sent to the tenant by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by bailiff's writ. Be careful, if the notice is sent prematurely, the notice period starts on the legal date which corresponds to the 6 month period required. The tenant has the possibility to leave the dwelling whenever he wants during the notice period by paying only the rent for the period he occupied the dwelling. However, if the tenant refuses to leave the premises, the landlord will initiate legal proceedings to have the notice validated and obtain a notice of eviction from the tenant.
Giving notice to sell:
If the owner of a rented property wants to sell his property, he can give his tenant notice to vacate, this is called "notice to sell". This is equivalent to an offer to sell to the tenant, who may purchase the property and, under certain conditions, has a right of first refusal. The tenant has 2 months to purchase the property under the conditions set out in the notice. Once this period has elapsed, the owner can offer his property to other buyers. However, if the property is offered to a third party under more advantageous conditions than those specified in the initial notice, the tenant has a new right of pre-emption. The owner informs the tenant of these new conditions and has 1 month to substitute himself for the buyer.The notice of termination must be sent to the tenant by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by bailiff's deed, or be delivered by hand against a receipt. It must specify the reason for the notice, the price and the conditions of sale of the property and the rented annexes, describe the dwelling and its possible annexes, have the first 5 paragraphs of article 15 of the law of July 6, 1989, which indicate the conditions of the offer of sale to the tenant, and be accompanied by the information notice relating to the obligations of the lessor and the means of recourse and compensation for the tenant.
As a landlord, how do I terminate my lease to live in the apartment?
The owner has the possibility to terminate the lease with his tenant to live in the dwelling as his main residence or to lodge a close relative. The persons considered as close relatives of the owner are his spouse, his cohabitant for at least 1 year at the date of the notice, his PACS partner, an ascendant or a descendant of himself or of his spouse, cohabitant or PACS partner. The notice must mention the reason for the notice, the name and address of the beneficiary of the repossession, the family relationship between the owner and the beneficiary of the repossession, and an indication justifying the real and serious nature of the repossession. The notice of termination must be accompanied by the information notice relating to the landlord's obligations and the tenant's remedies and compensation since January 1, 2018.
Giving notice for a legitimate and serious reason
The owner of the property has the possibility to give notice to his tenant at the end of the lease for a legitimate and serious reason. This happens if the tenant does not fulfill one of his obligations: irregular and late payment of rents, neighborhood nuisance, subletting without authorization, etc. The landlord must send the tenant a letter of notice specifying the reason for the non-renewal of the lease. Nevertheless, thelaw n° 89-462 of July 6, 1989does not specify what is considered a legitimate and serious reason. If the tenant wishes to contest, the judge will decide whether or not the lease can be terminated for the reason given by the owner. The tenant will have to prove the validity of the notice given.
How do I terminate a tenancy during a lease?
The owner cannot give notice to his tenant during the course of the lease. However, he can do it in case of fault of the tenant. In case of non-payment of the rent or the charges, the owner can make use of the resolutory clause of the lease, which provides for an automatic termination of the lease in case ofnon-payment of rent or charges. To do this, the owner must send a payment order to the tenant, which must be delivered by a bailiff before the resolutory clause can be enforced. When the injunction to pay is sent, the tenant has 2 months to pay the rent due or he can ask the judge for a delay in payment, before the resolutory clause is activated. It is important to specify that the owner can use the resolutory clause in case of lack of home insurance on the part of the tenant.
Who are the protected tenants?
It is important to know that some tenants may be protected. The landlord can give notice under certain conditions. Persons over 65 years of age, at the date of expiry of the lease, whose resources are lower than the ceilings in force for the attribution of a conventional housing.These ceilings vary according to the region(Paris, Ile-de-France and other regions). If the tenant meets these conditions, the landlord must propose another accommodation.
Tenants under 65 years of age who live with and support a person over 65 years of age at the end of the lease, and whose resources are below the limits in force for the allocation of a subsidized housing unit, are also protected. It is the cumulative amount of the resources of all the people living in the accommodation that is taken into account.
The landlord can give notice to the protected tenantif the tenant is over 65 years of age on the date the lease expires or if the tenant's income is below the same resource limits on the date of notification. The landlord can give notice to the tenant if he can find a new home for him. In short, the accommodation must correspond to the needs and possibilities of the tenant and be located within 5 kilometers of his current home.
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