I saw a comment by @Woj on another question here:

Landlord gives 4 months notice to the rental agency which fails to give notice to the tenants

Since everyone is mentioning their country - in France you basically have no way to end a lease (very few exceptions apply) so you just hope for the best when you ask your tenant to leave. I do not even go into the case where they actively refuse (in this case they are practically immovable, add a young child to this and the place is theirs)

Which made me wonder about this. How do tenancies work in France and how do they differ from common law jurisdictions like England and Wales?

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    Common law jurisdictions don't matter that much in this regard as in most countries (residential) tenancies are a highly regulated area where most rules are statutory. The laws differ as much among common law jurisdictions as between common and civil law jurisdictions.
    – xngtng
    Apr 11, 2022 at 13:45
  • Yes very good point and well said. Apr 11, 2022 at 14:23
  • But yet i think the fact is that in many common law jurisdictions the laws tend to be more on par with each other than with the above depicted situation in France in terms of the strength of landlord’s rights which are fairly well limited, but not quite so drastically as over there if the quoted comment is to be believed. Apr 11, 2022 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


The official website of the french administration gives details under which conditions a landlord can end a lease in France.

As a general rule, the landlord cannot end a lease unless meeting certain conditions. The landlord has to send a letter to all of the tenant (all of them if multiple) named on the lease, and the spouse of the tenant even if not named on the lease. The letter has to be sent at least 6 month before the end of the lease if the residence isn't furnished, or 3 months if the residence is furnished. The letter must contain the reason for the ending of the lease.

There are 3 causes the landlord may use to end the lease:

  1. The landlord plans to make the residence the primary residence of them, their spouse / partner (of at least 1 year) / PACS partner, or an ascendant or descendant of the landlord or their spouse.

  2. The landlord plans to sell the residence. In this case, the tenant has the priority to buy the residence if they wish. If the tenant take the offer, the landlord is obliged to accept the offer. The landlord can also sell the residence with the lease, in which case the lease is transfered to the buyer.

  3. Under legitimate and serious cause, including but not limited to not paying rent / regularly paying the rent late, causing trouble to the neighborhood, subleasing the residence... If the tenant contests the cause, the landlord will have to justify to a judge the reason the cause of termination. In this case, the landlord can have ground to end the lease before its end date.

Otherwise, the landlord cannot end the lease, and the lease is automatically renewed at the end date without the need of explicit communication.

A tenant can be protected if they fall under certain conditions. I don't find anything protecting people with a child, but if the tenant

  • is older than 65yo / taking care of someone older than 65yo
  • and the tenant earns an income lower than a certain limit a given year

Then the tenant can be protected from these causes, unless the landlord

  • is also older than 65
  • or earns an income lower than the same limit as the tenant
  • or offers to help relocate the tenant to another residence close to the first residence which also accomodates to the need of the tenant.

Note that, if the ex-tenant found that the cause given by the landlord was fraudulent (for example saying they'll use it as a primary residence but lease it to another tenant), then the tenant can bring the case to court and get indemnized as indicated here.

  • Seize the judge? I’m fussing that’sa typo, but just not sure what it’s actually meant to say. Apr 11, 2022 at 21:18
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    @JosephP. Sorry, it's just a (too) literal translation from my native language. I meant bringing the case to court.
    – Unown K
    Apr 11, 2022 at 21:40
  • Right, I see. Do you mind sharing the original/verbatim French that was translated so literally as “seize the judge”? Apr 11, 2022 at 22:45
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    On the link I've posted about fraudulent notice, in the french version: "Si le propriétaire a donné congé [...] au locataire pour un motif [...} qui ne correspond pas à la réalité, le locataire peut saisir le juge". In the english version it reads "the tenant can refer the matter to the judge". It was just me doing the literal translation.
    – Unown K
    Apr 12, 2022 at 6:23
  • @JosephP. In English, the passive form of that meaning of "seize" remains in use (although often in conjunction with civil or international law): "the court is seized of the matter".
    – xngtng
    Apr 12, 2022 at 13:36

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