Published on: 15 January 2020
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What is the lease agreement?
Before you move in, you’re going to conclude a contract with your landlord to lay the terms and conditions of your stay in his property: it’s done through the lease agreement.
The rental lease lays out the conditions of your stay
What’s it about?
The lease is a written document listing the rules surrounding your rental. It contains general information about the accommodation but also clauses that regulate the stay.
There exist different types of leases. For example, the lease is different depending on whether the accommodation is rented furnished or unfurnished. As an international student, it’s the bail meublé étudiant that concerns you: it’s a lease intended specifically for students. It applies to furnished apartments and has a duration of 9 months, whereas non-student lease for a furnished apartment runs through 12 months.
The lease agreement is a legal document that is mandatory for all rentals. It is what binds landlords and tenants to respect their obligations. The lease is surrounded by legal formalism, so it would be unwise to draft it yourself. You can use a standard lease model. All you have to do is add details of the concerned parties, the amount of rent and some particular clauses if needed - as long as they’re not unfair.
What are the mandatory contents?
- Your lessor’s contact details. If it’s a real estate agency or a residence managing the property, their details should appear on the lease too.
- The effective date: it corresponds to the date you start occupying the apartment. It is for you to define it with the landlord.
- The duration: 9 months for a furnished student lease.
- The amount of the security deposit: it’s not mandatory, but it has to be specified in the lease if your landlord plans on asking it.
It also includes informations regarding the apartment:
- the address
- whether it’s a group housing or not
- construction period
- Number of main rooms
- Modalities concerning heating and hot water production
- surface of living space
- whether the building is wired or coupled to optical fibre
- Description of premises and equipments: you can be held accountable only for damage occurring in the spaces you have access to, that’s why it’s important that they’re thoroughly described in the lease. Common areas have to be listed too (bicycle storage, elevator, laundry... )
- Prior renovation : if renovations were made since the last tenant left, your lessor has to indicate their nature and their cost in the lease. This serves to you lessor if he needs to justify the potential increase in rent, or to you if you need to demonstrate the lack of maintenance if the place is in bad condition.
- terms of payment: the date on which you have to pay
- the fact you can pay by any means you wish (check, transfer, cash up to 1000€) : the lessor doesn’t have the right to impose a method of payment on you - particularly not direct debit.
- The last tenant’s rent amount and date of payment, except if he left the place more than 1 year and a half ago. This helps ensure that the lessor hasn’t unjustifiably increased the rent.
What should I be careful about?
There are some clauses you should not accept in your lease agreement. Here are a few examples:
- forbidding pets (unless they’re attack dogs. But you don’t need an attack dogs to protect yourself from the French. You’re not allowed to have monkeys, snakes or spiders, but we’re sure you can do without that).
- imposition of an insurance company chosen by the lessor: he has the right to demand your insurance certificate, but he can’t tell you which insurance company to contract with.
- imposition of visiting rights exceeding 2 hours: when the apartment is available for rent or sale, the lessor has a visiting right even if you’re still occupying the apartment. But he can’t ask you more than 2 hours of visit a day, and can’t impose visits on public holidays either.
- imposition of a method of payment: you can pay your rent with the method of payment you choose.
- interdiction of hosting people.
Setting a date of entry of effect prior to your move-in
The effective date must be included in the lease contract. It generally matches the date on which the tenant moves in.
However, some lessors will define an official date prior to your entry in the apartment, on the grounds that its the only way to secure your place. You don’t have to accept this condition: it can backfire against you if the lessor accuses you of not having paid the rent whereas you weren’t actually occupying the place.
What should I do if my landlord doesn’t mention a lease agreement?
The absence of written contract is problematic. Legally, you can have a verbal lease, but that exposes your landlord and you to too many risks. It isn’t normal that your landlord doesn’t suggest a written lease. Check whether he didn’t just forgot discussing it with you, and if he’s reluctant… find another apartment.
Signing the lease at the wrong moment
Just like any contract, the lease is a document signed by both the tenant and landlord. It must be signed before the inventory of fixtures and the entry into the dwelling. If the landlord suggests you sign at a different moment, after you move in for example, it’s can’t be good. It is then better to turn to another accommodation.
Being clear on the lease agreement with Studapart
A dedicated resource centre
The lease should not be confused with another document. From the rental application to home insurance, tenants might get a little lost in their processes. Studapart provides them with a resource centre listing all documents and information they need to know when searching for their accommodation.
A multilingual team available 6/7 days
If you haven't been fully enlightened by the resource centre, no worries! Our experts speak several languages and are at your disposal 6 days a week to provide help and guidance if you have the slightest doubt. Are you experiencing difficulties in drafting your lease? Do you want to write a letter of notice to terminate it? Nothing beats an e-mail or a phone call!