The main types of leases in France for real estate rentals


The empty rental lease

A property is considered empty when it is not sufficiently equipped “to allow the tenant to sleep, eat and live properly in the light of the demands of everyday life.” This essentially means that the property is unfurnished. 

The rental period of an unfurnished property is set six years. However, when the owner is an individual or a family SCI, the lease term is three years. The lease may be shorter (minimum 12 months) in the following instances: 

  • The tenant is a student
  • The tenant has temporarily relocated due to work changes
  • The tenant has retired
  • The tenant is scheduled to depart

The security deposit protects the owner against any damage to the property caused by the tenant and the amount should not exceed one months’ rent (excluding charges). The deposit must be returned to the tenant within a month of them leaving the property if the inventory is in order or within two months if there are any inconsistencies.

The furnished rental lease

As explained above, in the eyes of the law, a furnished apartment is a dwelling that is sufficiently equipped “to allow the tenant to sleep, eat and live properly in the light of the requirements of everyday life”.

The lease term of a furnished apartment must be included in the contract and these properties have a lower minimum rental term of one year. However, if the tenant is a student, the term can be reduced to nine months. 

The deposit for a furnished apartment cannot exceed the value of two months’ rent (excluding charges). Aside from these key difference, a furnished rental lease works the same way as an empty rental lease (see above).

The seasonal rental lease

The seasonal rental of a furnished property, villa, house or apartment, is a short-term rental not exceeding 6 months. The legislation surrounding a furnished vacation rental is significantly more flexible than the laws regarding main residences.

The key difference is that the amount of rent and its terms of payment can be decided freely by both parties. For seasonal rentals, the rent may vary depending on the rental period (high or low tourist season), days of occupation (week or weekend), the duration of the rental and number of tenants.

The owner can request the tenant to pay a deposit (usually 20% of the rent) to cover their losses if the tenant damages the property or does not comply. 

The mobility lease

New for 2019, this type of lease was designed for people looking for temporary accommodation. This might be for a number of reasons such as a change of profession, graduate studies or beginning an internship.It is a good compromise for places where obtaining a seasonal lease is difficult (Paris comes to mind…). For this occasion, we have created a mobility lease blog post in partnership with