Rental agreement

Once your application to rent a property has been accepted, the first step consists in signing the rental agreement and paying the first expenses required in order to enter the property, including the security deposit.

Rental agreement (lease)

The rental agreement (“contrat de location”) (or lease (“bail”)) summarizes each party’s rights and obligations. It is drawn up in duplicate and must be signed by the tenant and the landlord (or lessor).

This agreement must contain in particular:
  • Name and address of the landlord
  • Names of the tenant(s)
  • Effective date and duration of the lease
  • Surface area of the property
  • Amount of the rent, and terms of payment
  • Amount of the security deposit
  • Amount of letting agency fees (if applicable)
Good to know
Once the rental agreement has been signed, you will have to pay the first month’s rent, the security deposit, and any agency fees (if applicable).

Security deposit

The security deposit (“dépôt de garantie”), which you will have to pay after signing the lease, makes you liable for looking after the property and refraining from damaging it.

The amount is governed by law, and may not exceed:
  • One month’s rent (excluding service charges) for unfurnished properties.
  • Two months’ rent for furnished properties.
If damage is found when you leave the property, you will have to pay for repairing it and the amount will be deducted from the security deposit.
The security deposit will be returned to you, either in full or after deduction for any damage you caused, no later than two months after you leave the property.

Once you have signed the contract and paid the first expenses, you can now make an appointment to carry out the inventory of fixtures (“état des lieux d’entrée”), and collect your keys.

A specific case: shared accommodation

Rental agreement

If you share the rental of a property with several people (known as “colocation”), there are two possibilities: either a single rental agreement is drawn up and signed by all of the joint tenants, or a rental agreement is drawn up for each individual tenant.
In both cases, it is compulsory for each joint tenant to sign a rental agreement and the ingoing and outgoing inventories of fixtures.

Security deposit

The landlord may require a security deposit to be paid when the joint tenants enter the property.
In this case, he/she may return the deposit to the last joint tenant to leave the property after handing back the keys (unless stipulated otherwise in the lease).
In that event, the tenants will have to come to an agreement between themselves.


As regards the guarantor (“garant”), who provides a rent payment guarantee (“caution locative”), the landlord may either require just one for all of the joint tenants, or one per tenant.
If the landlord requires a joint and several guarantee (“caution solidaire”), this means that each joint tenant and his/her guarantor are liable for all of the sums payable to the landlord (rent and service charges), and, hence, that each joint tenant (or his/her guarantor) undertakes to pay the share owed by the other joint tenants if they do not pay it.
Published on  January 7, 2021
Updated on January 28, 2021