Two years after the ALUR law came into force, decrees are still slowly continuing to appear. One relating to the condition of a property at the start and finish of a tenancy has just been published and will come into force on 1 June 2016. A decree addressing criteria for obsolescence had been anticipated, and in that respect the document therefore introduces nothing new. In effect, it merely rubber stamps what has already become firmly established practice.
This new decree requires the creation of documentation which will allow a comparison of the entry and exit condition of rented housing. As is already common practice, upon signing the rental agreement the contracting parties will complete a jointly agreed document detailing the condition of the accommodation. Where relevant, this may also include the adoption of a schedule of obsolescence.
Comparing the condition of housing upon the entry and exit of tenants
Decree No 2016-382, issued on 30 March 2016, sets out the procedure for verifying the entry and exit condition of accommodation rented out for use as a tenant’s principal residence.
The inventory must obviously provide a complete overview of the accommodation and equipment available for the tenant’s exclusive use and, as its designation implies, must also note its condition.
It must include the following information:
- The location of the accommodation
- The name or designation of the parties, the address or registered office of the landlord, and if applicable, the name and details of a nominated contact person
- Meter readings
- The number of keys or badges allocated, and their purpose
- A precise description of each room detailing the condition of the flooring, walls and ceilings, plus the household equipment and features the accommodation offers
- The date the document was prepared and signed
- The signature of the parties
An entry inventory must also include:
- The tenant’s new address;
- Any changes in the condition of each room, fixtures or household equipment since the completion of the previous exit inventory.
The necessary inventories can take the form of a single document, or separate documents in a similar format to allow for easy comparison, and can be supplemented by comments or reservations as well as photos. They may be set up in paper or electronic form, and a copy should be given to each party.
The potential adoption of a schedule of obsolescence
The new decree also takes into consideration any marked obsolescence present in the accommodation rented for use as a tenant’s principal residence. Obsolescence is defined as the wear and tear or deterioration which occurs over time as a result of the normal use of a property and its associated fixtures and fittings.
Upon signature of the rental agreement, the landlord and tenant may decide to attach an agreed schedule defining the minimum anticipated service life for the rented property’s major materials and equipment, as well as any standard annual deduction to be applied in this respect.
Changes to an inventory once the keys have been handed over
During the ten days following the completion of an inventory, the tenant can ask the landlord or his agent to change any element on the entry inventory which relates to the housing, or the first month of the heating season in the section which details heating arrangements.
However, when a tenant leaves the accommodation, a landlord does not have the same period of ten days to review the exit inventory. He must therefore be extremely vigilant when keys are handed over: any damage discovered after the tenant’s departure cannot be attributed to him, nor deducted from the tenant’s deposit guarantee without his explicit consent.
This legislation sets out to regulate the use of inventories to reduce the number of disputes by facilitating comparisons between entry and exit inventory reports, and by determining schedules of obsolescence. The recently published decree adds nothing which is not already common practice, and it is therefore difficult to understand its precise purpose – other than to prove that decrees implementing the ALUR law do actually exist!