How to deal with a tenant who is not paying rent in France?
Unpaid rent in France ? What should I do ?
1°) First thing to do: Notification called a “Commandement de payer” (CDP)
If needed, the next step is an official order delivered by a bailiff.
The “Commandement de payer” is a notice that sets a time limit for your tenant to pay you (two months for a flat lease and one month for a commercial lease). This official order has to be delivered by a bailiff (our firm can hire a bailiff and follow his work).
The “Commandement de payer” is mandatory before filing a case in court.
It states that if the tenant does not pay the arrears of rent within one month (or two months) the landlord can ask for the cancellation of the lease in court.
The CDP give the landlord leverage and the tenant enough time to repay his debt.
If the tenant doesn’t comply with the demands stated in the CDP, your lawyer will bring a lawsuit against the tenant (payment and/or eviction).
Watch out! If you merely change the lock to avoid legal proceedings, the tenant may sue you. You risk being fined by the court and ordered to allow the tenant to stay (even if the rent is not paid).
2 months (housing lease) or 1 month later (commercial lease): We can initiate proceedings before the Judge des “référés” (quick and simple court proceedings)
2°) Unpaid Rent : File a case in Court
In court, you can ask for the debt, as well as the termination of the lease because of the unpaid rent.
Quite often, the tenant pays his debt in court during the (oral) pleadings.
- A repayment schedule (36 months max.) can be decided by the Judge
The tenant is entitled to ask for a 36 months term of payment (24 months for a commercial lease)
If the tenant appears in court the day of the oral pleadings in court, the judge often sets a repayment schedule. If the tenant doesn’t pay on a timely basis, meaning every month, the lease is terminated without having to refile a claim in court. The landlord is entitled to evict the tenant, with the help of the police and a bailiff.
Regarding the legal fees, the judge can require the tenant to reimburse all the legal fees.
The judgment for eviction is called “Ordonnance d’expulsion”.
3°) Eviction process (Bailiff and the Police)
The tenant has 2 months to move out voluntarily (following the notice called “Commandement de quitter les lieux”).
The bailiff and the police will forcibly remove the tenant from your property.
According to the French law, no eviction can be enforced between November 1st and March 15th (not applicable to a commercial lease).
Related Articles :
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- Termination of a commercial lease in France
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- Eviction of a Tenant: a long process (French Law)
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- What should I do if my tenant is not paying rent ? (in France)
- Can I terminate the lease ? French Law