To determine whether a furnished or unfurnished property meets acceptable standards, landlords must comply with the terms of the Act n° 2002-120 passed on January 30th 2002, which sets out the characteristics of an acceptable property, but also those for departmental health regulations if the department has more restrictive rules.
The laws on acceptable accommodation and departmental health regulations: what provisions apply?
For both furnished and unfurnished rentals, landlords are obliged to provide the tenant with acceptable accommodation, otherwise they risk being ordered to make it compliant with regulations and can face having the rent lowered by a judge. But the n° 2002-120 Act of January 30th 2002, which sets the standards for acceptable accommodation is not the only legislation to comply with. Landlords must also take account of the provisions of the departmental health regulations, if they are more restrictive, and provided that they’re not incompatible with those of the Act of January 30th 2002 (Cour de cassation, 3rd civ. 17th December 2015).
The provisions of the departmental health regulations have therefore recently been been added to those of the Decent Housing Act on two conditions: that they are more restrictive and compatible.
An example of the departmental health regulations in Paris
The Decent Housing Act simply requires that rental properties, furnished or unfurnished, contain a main room with a liveable surface area of at least 9m² and a height under the ceiling of at least 2.2m (or a living space of at least 20m3). The departmental health regulations in Paris, which date back to November 23rd 1979, require a minimum liveable surface area of 7m² for main rooms.
Bear in mind that main rooms are defined, according to article R. 111-1-1 of the Building and Housing Acts, as rooms used as a living room or for sleep, which can include separate bedrooms, as opposed to service rooms, such as kitchens, shower rooms, toilets, closets and drying rooms.
Furthermore, in Paris, the Decent Housing Act is concluded with provisions that are more restrictive and compatible with the departmental health regulations, and a room of at least 7m² cannot be offered to the tenant to function as a main room (typically a bedroom) but as a service room, regardless of whether or not he/she decides to use it as a bedroom.