unpaid rent

When the owner notices unpaid rents, he must first contact his tenant in an amicable way. He can also directly contact the tenant's guarantor and/or his unpaid rent insurance (of the tenant or the owner).

This amicable phase is mandatory before any legal proceedings.

If the tenant benefits from a housing allowance the owner must warn the CAF (the CAF considers that there is an unpaid rent from the moment when the tenant has an unpaid rent equal to twice the amount of the rent without charge)

Finally, the owner and the tenant can call upon a legal conciliator to formalize an amicable settlement.


Concerning the legal procedure We must distinguish two cases:

  • If the rental contract has a resolutory clause
  • If the contract does not have a resolutory clause

Then proceed to à the eviction of the debtor.

I/ Residential leases with a resolutory clause


The resolutory clause provides that the lease will be automatically terminated in the event of non-payment of rent and charges on the agreed dates.


In practice, when the unpaid rent is noted and the owner wishes to terminate the lease and recover his property (thus evicting the tenant), he must :

A/ Service of the order to pay


The owner must serve the tenant and his guarantor with a bailiff's order to pay an order to pay.

In this act it is indicated to the debtor that he has 2 months to pay his debt + (bailiffs' fees).

At this stage of the procedure:

  • If the tenant contests the payments or the debt, he can always contact his landlord to find a solution, otherwise he can go to court.
  • He can request financial assistance from the FSL
  • If the tenant can ask for a delay in payment again, either in an amicable way by signing a protocol of agreement with the owner. If the latter does not agree, he must refer the matter to the court of his residence

B/ Following the deadlines of the 2 months

At the end of the of the of 2 months :

  • Either the tenant has paid the amounts due and the lease agreement continues to run
  • Either the tenant has paid a part of the sums due, in which case the owner can still refer the matter to the summary judgment judge who will decide either to terminate the lease or to grant the tenant more time to pay (during these periods the effects of the resolutory clause are suspended)
  • Either the tenant has not paid anything and the owner seizes the judge of the summary proceedings so that he notes the cancellation of the lease and pronounces the measure of eviction 


II/ Residential leases without a resolutory clause


If there is no resolutory clause in the lease contract, the landlord must first bring the tenant before the court. During the hearing the judge rules on the dispute and finally and finally announces his decision.



The owner must ask the bailiff to summon the debtor before the court in order to establish unpaid rents, to ask for the termination of the lease and to order the eviction.


He can write the summons himself or have it written by a lawyer. In this case, he must contact the court to obtain a hearing date. Once the summons is ready, it must be sent to the bailiff for service.

He can also ask the bailiff to take care of the whole summons part (drafting + registration + service)


During the hearing, the judge rules on the tenant's fault and determines whether it is likely to à terminate the lease. He can :

  • Granting payment terms in view of the tenant's situation
  • Terminate the lease and order eviction


III/ The eviction procedure for unpaid rent

The eviction must be ordered by a judge. Once the eviction procedure is in the hands of the owner, the following procedure must be followed.


A/ Service of order to vacate the premises

The owner must serve the tenant with a notice to vacate. Upon receipt, the tenant has 2 months to leave the premises.

It is important to know that at this stage of the procedure, the tenant has the possibility to seize the judge of execution to ask for delays in payments. And the judge can grant even at this stage of the payment delays going from 3 months to 3 years maximum according to the situation of the tenant.


B/ The eviction procedure

Once the 2 months deadline has expired and if the tenant does not benefit from other payment deadlines, the bailiff can proceed with the eviction.

The debtor can tell the debtor the date and time of the eviction, but this is not mandatory.

He only has to show up on working days and between 6am and 9pm.

The bailiff may requisition the public force. In any case, if the tenant is absent, the bailiff can only enter the dwelling if he accompanied by a person with police powers and a locksmith.

During the eviction the bailiff draws up a report of eviction he can also draw up a report of the inventory of the furniture if the goods have been left on the premises.


Concerning the goods left on the spot, the bailiff specifies in his report if they if they appear to have a market value. The place and conditions of access where the goods are deposited. The obligation of the debtor to remove the goods within 2 months, not renewable, from the date of service.

Namely: the goods not withdrawn will be sold at public auction and the official documents (paper, personal documents) will be kept by the bailiff for 2 years.



Going further: 

Your rights through the public service: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/dgccrf/Publications/Vie-pratique/Fiches-pratiques/recouvrement-creances

GRL Information: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F17847

Our services : https://legalcity.fr/recouvrement-de-creance/

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  1. [...] the lessor can ask to terminate his lease early if the contract contains a resolutory clause such as non-payment of the rent...

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