Tenant’s responsibilities: everything you need to know

You have found rental accommodation to settle in France! Congratulations! You have now moved in, undone your suitcases and boxes and even started to feel at home. Then you realise that you don’t know what are your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. And which expenses are for you and the ones for the landlord.

The tenant‘s rights are the landlord duties and the tenants‘ duties are the owners‘ rights.

These are your main responsibilities as a tenant. I hope it will help you avoid any surprised or issues during your tenancy.


Photo credit: Nathan Fertig


First tenant’s responsibilty: Pay the rent and the rental charges on time


The rent and rental charges should be paid at the date stated in the lease.
The rental charges are expenses paid by the landlord that he/she can charge back to the tenant. 

These expenses can include:

  • Services for the accommodation use (water consumption, communal heating consumption, equipment for the lift repair…)
  • Communal areas expenses: maintenance and small repairs
  • Rental tax (taxe locative): municipal services for the accommodation use (sewage system maintenance, household rubbish tax)


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Respect the use of the property

The type of use is stated in the contract. If it is stated that the property if for housing residence onlyit cannot be used for professional purposes (unless stated in the residence rules and under specific conditions).


Do not perform transformations without the landlord authorisation

Any transformation to the property or its equipment should be done with the landlord prior written approval. If you make improvements without his prior written consent, the landlord doesn’t have the obligation to compensate the tenant. 

If the modifications impact the security in the property or the good use of the equipmentthe landlord can request that you put it back to its original condition.

tenant rights & responsibilities
Photo by Charles Deluvio

Responsible for the property damages 

The tenant is responsible for any deterioration that may occur during the tenancy. It is therefore essential to make a comprehensive and complete inventory report on the property condition when signing the lease.


Give access to the landlord for necessary repairs

As a tenant, you should grant access to the property in the following situation:

  • Common areas improvements or repairs, or another apartment of the residence.
  • Normal maintenance of the property
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Repairs to make the property decent

The landlord should inform the tenant of the type of repairs and the duration. If the renovation work lasts more than 21 days, the tenant can request a rent discount. If you cannot remain in the property during the renovationyou can end the contract.
Repairs cannot be done during weekends or bank holidays without tenant consent.


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Take care of the property maintenance

Photo by Julie Molliver


Small repairs and everyday maintenance are the tenant’s responsibilities as well as any bigger repairs that are the result of the tenant misuse. 

Some repairs are the landlord’s responsibility such as the important repairs or the ones due to the property ageing.

Examples of repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility


  • Maintenance of interior areas:
    • Keep the apartment clean
    • Touch up of paintwork and wallpaper
    • Wardrobe and locks repairs
  • Plumbing:
    • Unblocking of water pipes, replacement of seals and collars
    • Emptying septic tanks
    • Minor repairs to fittings and replacement of gas pipeline accessories
    • Cleaning of lime deposits
    • Replacement of shower hoses
  • Electricity:
    • Replacement of switches, sockets, circuit breakers, fusesbulbs
  • Equipment maintenance:
    • Sweeping of smokegas and ventilation ducts routine 
    • Boiler maintenance (should be done once a year plus when needed)
    • Maintenance of the appliances mentioned in the lease: washing machine, fridge, dryer, extractor hood, …


When a concern arises and you disagree with your landlord request, the first thing to do is to check your rights and responsibilities. It can also happen that your landlord is not aware of some aspect of the rental law, so it is always better to remind him of the legal background. 

Many associations in France inform tenants and landlord regarding the rental law and sometimes offer mediation when needed.

hope this article clarified for you your obligations as a tenant and will help you maintain the property you live in. I will detail in a coming article the landlord’s duties.


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If you have any questions, please let me know in the below comments.

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