The authorizations to ask the owner

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The authorizations to ask the owner
Part of a tenant's rights and obligations is asking the owner/landlord for their permission and/or authorization. Whether it's a request for a sublease or permission to install fiber in the home, the tenant still has to seek the owner/landlord's about it. This ensures that there's mutual respect between both parties and that the tenant's needs and wants are met.

When should I ask the owner for permission?

  1. Construction/ Renovation Work

If the tenant wishes to do construction/ renovation work on the property outside of the regular maintenance, especially if it involves a transformation of the structure or layout of the premises (i.e. demolition or addition of a partition, installation of a shower to replace a bathtub, etc.), Article 6D of the Law of July 6, 1989, states that the owner cannot oppose this request as long as it does not substantially change or deform the property. 

With that said, the tenant cannot carry out any substantial transformational work on the property without having the owner's written authorization first. The proper way to go about it is to send a registered letter with an acknowledgment of receipt. If they (the tenant) continue with the changes without the owner/landlord's permission, the latter reserves the right to have the property return to its original state by the end of the lease at the expense of the tenant. 

In the case that the property is part of a condominium or apartment building and the work will affect the structure and/or common areas, the tenant then has to ask for the Association of Co-Owners' authorization. This must be obtained by a vote at the general meeting.  

This link shows a sample letter of request for construction/renovation work: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/R1746 
  1. Installing A Fiber

If the tenant plans to install fiber-optic cables in the property, this will also require the owner/landlord's permission. Similar to when planning to do construction/renovation work, the tenant should inform the owner/landlord via a registered letter accompanied by an acknowledgment of receipt. 
  1. Subletting

According to Article 8 of the Law of July 6, 1989, “The tenant may neither assign the rental contract nor sublet the dwelling without the written authorization of the owner/landlord, which should also include the price of the rent.

The owner/landlord has the power to grant permission to his tenant to sublet or not. And if they don't give their permission, they're not obligated to give the (main) tenant their reasons for refusal. Upon authorizing the subletting of the property, however, the owner/landlord also reserves the right to set the price of the rent for both leases (main and sublease). 

  1. Removing Furniture

The law on furnished rentals states that without the written authorization of the owner, furniture kept within the property during the lease may not be removed. If there's unstable or unusable furniture within the premises, it is essential to store it away so that it can be put back in its original place upon the end of the lease. And if the owner/landlord doesn't take are of this themselves, the responsibility falls on the tenant. 

In relation, the ALUR Law now requires conducting an accurate inventory of all furniture and fixtures (and their conditions) at the start and end of the lease to take note of damages, missing items, and the like. All inventories are to be written down and these documents are to be given to both the owner/landlord and tenant. These documents can then serve as evidence in light of certain situations, such as damages, disappearance of objects, theft, and more. 

Important Note: the owner/landlord has to indicate which furniture was stored away upon the request of the owner. This indication should also have the tenant's signature.
What are the works that do not require authorization?
Although the tenant is required to ask for the owner/landlord's permission for a lot of things, there are some that don't require it at all. They include removing the carpet, removing/replacing the wallpaper, as well as drilling holes to put up furniture, painting, etc. Moreover, even when they're done without the owner/landlord's knowledge, the latter can't oppose or even demand restoration at the end of the lease. 
  1. Tenants with Disabilities or Loss of Autonomy

These kinds of tenants will need certain renovations to a standard furnished rental. In such a case, they'll still need to send a request to the owner/landlord. However, if the latter does not respond within two (2) months, the tenant then has the right to carry on the renovation work themselves (at their expense) and the owner/landlord cannot demand the property's restoration at the end of the lease. (Law n ° 2015-1776 of December 28, 2015).
  1. Carrying Out Energy Renovation Work

The same rule applies to those seeking to do energy renovation work. The tenant is still required to send a registered letter asking for the owner/landlord's authorization with an acknowledgment of receipt. But if the latter does not respond within two (2) months, the tenant then reserves the right to continue with the work. In this situation, the owner/landlord will have no right to object. 

It's important to note that only certain types of energy renovation work, listed in a decree published on July 21, 2022, are allowed. They include: 
  • Insulation of Low Floors, Ceilings, and Attics 
  • Work to Replace Exterior Joinery
  • Sun Protection Work on Glass or Opaque Walls
  • Installation or Replacement of a Ventilation System
  • Installation or Replacement of a Heating and Domestic Water System and Associated Interfaces

What if work has been carried out by the tenant without authorization?

If the tenant carried out substantial work without asking the authorization of the owner/landlord, the latter can request that their property be returned to its original state (especially if this will affect the search for new tenants). But if the overall structure and layout of the property were not fundamentally changed, the owner/landlord cannot oppose and/or object to the tenant's work. 

In the event that the tenant refuses to restore the property to its original state despite the owner/landlord's request, or if the latter considers that the work carried out without their permission has degraded/damaged the property, it is possible to take the matter to the District Court.

Ce qu’il faut retenir :
  • When planning any substantial work on the property, the tenant is obligated to request the owner/landlord's authorization.
  • Any work done on the property is at the expense of either the tenant or the owner/landlord. 
  • Some work, especially regarding disabled tenants and/or energy renovation work, does not require the owner/landlord's authorization. 
  • The owner/landlord reserves the right to request the tenant to return their property to its original state if work was done without their authorization. If the tenant refuses, the owner/landlord can take this case to the District Court. 

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