How to terminate a rental agreement
A tenant can terminate their rental agreement at any time. They must inform the landlord or their representative by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, or via a bailiff’s notice or a letter delivered in person and signed for by the recipient.
The letter must specify the end date of the tenancy, taking into account the notice period, which is generally three months. In exceptional circumstances, the notice period may be shortened to one month in areas where demand for housing is particularly high or if the tenant can prove that they find themselves in one of the following situations (grounds for termination must be included in the letter ending the rental agreement):
- They are being transferred by their employer.
- They have secured employment for the first time.
- They are suffering from health problems that require a change of accommodation.
- They have lost their job.
- The tenant is receiving the RSA allowance for low-income households or adult disability benefits.
The lessor may also terminate the rental agreement subject to specific terms and conditions. In such cases, they must inform the tenant six months before the end of the lease period by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
Refunding the security deposit
The security deposit paid at the beginning of the tenancy is refunded at the end of the rental period. The landlord or their representative has one month to refund the security deposit if the final inventory is consistent with the initial inventory and if there is no outstanding rent or tax to be paid.
This is extended to two months if there are differences between the initial and final inventories. This period begins on the day the tenant returns the keys for the premises (in person or by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt).
What if the landlord fails to refund the security deposit?
In the event that the security deposit is not refunded, the outgoing tenant must send a formal demand to the landlord by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
If, despite this action being taken, the landlord refuses to refund the security deposit, the tenant can refer the case to the mediation commission for their département (Commission Départementale de Conciliation).
Should the mediation process prove unsuccessful, the tenant can go before the small-claims court (juge de proximité), if the value of the claim is less than €4,000, or the district court (tribunal d’instance).