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I'm renting a furnished apartment in France. The landlord wants to live in it himself next year, so he has given me 3 month notice to move out in November. He won't actually move in for another few months, but apparently, by French law, the landlord can only cancel the contract on its anniversary date! So this is a really stupid lose-lose situation: I have to move out sooner than I want, while he misses out on rent for several months.

Is there any way we can extend the contract for a few months or a sign a new contract for a few months? I know that regular rental contracts run for 12 months or 9 months for students (and I am a student), but surely people do rent for shorter periods somehow (legally)?

Alternatively, would it work if we renewed for another 12 months, but I preemptively gave him notice that I will leave in 3 months (or whatever)? According to http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F31302.xhtml once I give notice I cannot change my mind ("dès lors que le locataire a adressé sa lettre de congé, il ne peut plus revenir sur sa décision"). So this sounds to me like it would effectively allow him to legally force me out at the agreed date.

  • The answer to your 'alternatively' question can only be answered by your landlord I'm afraid. – audionuma Aug 5 '15 at 13:59
  • Of course, but I mean: is there any loophole in that plan, which would allow me stay longer than we agreed on or anything else that makes it unworkable? – EM0 Aug 5 '15 at 16:21
  • To be sure: is your contract terminating this coming November as initially scheduled? Or is your landlord anticipating to end the contract sooner? In the second case, the anniversary rule is set to protect the renter (though not in your specific case). Renters have more flexibility to end a contract, the main constraint would be to give notice soon enough. Would your landlord accept an alternative solution? I am not sure of it, but renting you the room through short term renting system (AirBnB for example) may solve the problem. – Taladris Aug 20 '15 at 12:40
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Partial answer to the alternative mentioned (preemptive notice) : what might restrain your landlord to get into this alternative is the 'trêve hivernale', that takes place in winter in France, approximatively between november and march. During this period, you can't legally force someone out of a rented home.

Notice that even outside of this period, it is actually not easy to force someone out, you need a court decision, then you need the police to actually enforce that decision. We're speaking months here.

He might be scared to fall into this time slot (three months extension from november leads to january).

This option therefore depends on your landlord goodwill, and the trust he has in you.

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    An interesting point, but the end of the contract falls during this period anyway. So it seems to me like he'd be in the same position whether I fail to respect his notice or I fail to respect my own notice. If anything, wouldn't it be easier to enforce the tenant's own notice? "Hey, he decided to leave!" – EM0 Aug 6 '15 at 7:57
  • I'm not sure what kind of answer you're really expecting. As for the law, the situation is clear : the landlord is applying the law and you have no legal way to force him into keeping you longer than he has noticed you. As you mention, if the contract ends during the 'trêve hivernale', he will not be able to force you out before the end of the 'trêve', you'll still be acting illegally and potentially sued. If you are expecting a list of points to sell your case to the landlord, there aren't much 'legal' ones. – audionuma Aug 6 '15 at 8:33

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