1. When do we talk about unpaid bills?

Technically speaking, when a tenant is unable to pay their rent on time, it's already considered unpaid rent. But according to the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales, the rent is considered unpaid when the debt exceeds more than two months' rent excluding charges (before deduction of aid).  

2. What are the causes of non-payment?

There are many things that may cause unpaid rent, including:
  • Unemployment
  • Life transition
  • Illness (medical bills)
  • Over-indebtedness

The aim is for the tenant to avoid the cancellation and termination of the lease and eventual eviction. 

3. What are the solutions to help the tenant?

Tenants can put various plans in place to prevent non-payment. 
  • Apply for housing assistance from the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF) to help finance the rent monthly. 
  • (But if the tenant had already reached an unpaid rent status, the CAF can suspend the aid.)
  • Calling on the Fonds de Solidarité pour le Logement (FSL). 
  • Set a new due date with the owner 

In case of dispute with the owner, it is possible to: 
  • Call on a conciliator of justice. 
  • Request a payment delay from the judge if a lease execution has been put in place.

4. What recourse for the owner in case of non-payment?

The first step is to send a notice of expiry to the tenant. 

The goal is to create a dialogue with the tenant and understand how this could have happened and find an amicable solution. It could be temporary, but it is necessary to find an arrangement between the two parties (i.e. payment delay, new due date, etc.).

If the tenant takes advantage and still doesn't pay the rent (and piling debts), it's time to:
  • Call on guarantors 
  • Call on a guarantor body, in order to set up a file and subscribe to unpaid rent insurance or “Unpaid Rent Guarantee (GLI).” 
  • Call Action Logement if the tenant has opted for the Visale Guarantee
  • Call on a bailiff (the costs will be added to the unpaid rent and will be paid by the tenant)
  • Appeal to the courts and take the tenant before a district court (excluding winter break)

5. When can the owner declare the unpaid?

The first declaration is addressed to the tenant, to which the owner must send a formal notice by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. This formal notice must be sent within 15 days of the dispute of unpaid.

If the tenant has chosen the Visal Guarantee, a second declaration can be made either to Action Logement or to the tenant's deposit, within 30 days.

And in a third declaration, it will be possible for the owner to report the unpaid rent to the CAF within 3 months.

6. How to avoid unpaid bills?

Several measures can be put in place for owners/landlords to avoid the risk of unpaid rent, including: 
  • Ensure the solvency of their future tenant by requiring that they earn income that's at least 3 times higher than the amount of rent.
  • Ask for proof of stable employment.  
  • Remember to analyze their rental file and its attachments.
  • (If you are a tenant and you do not know how to build a real estate rental file, A1 Real Estate has put together a guide!)
  • Ask for a deposit to compensate for the possible default of the tenant
  • Subscribe to unpaid rent insurance or “Unpaid Rent Guarantee (GLI)”
  • Use guarantors or a guarantor company, a guarantee organization such as our guarantor partner garantme.fr 
  • Include a clause in the lease that anticipates the cancellation of the rental agreement in case of such problems.

7. What is the payment deadline for unpaid rent?

The tenant has two (2) months to repay their debt.

If a tenant still has not paid, the landlord is prohibited from evicting them by their own means. They must respect the eviction procedure set up by the bailiff, lest they want to suffer the penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a fine of €30,000.00.

After this period of 2 months (or the payment period granted by the judge)
  • If the tenant has paid the sums due, they can stay on the property
  • If the tenant has not paid the sums due, the landlord must refer the matter to the protection litigation judge so that they terminate the lease and subsequently evict the tenant. The owner may refer the matter to the judge in summary proceedings.
  • The judge can still grant payment deadlines to the tenant who is able to settle their rental debt. During this period, the effects of the termination clause are suspended.

8. Where can I get more information?

For the tenant and the owner:
  • SOS Unpaid Rent
  • Accompaniment, advice, and prevention service in case of risks of evictions related to situations of unpaid rent. This service is aimed at both the owner and the tenant.

  • By Phone
  • 0 805 160 075
  • Toll-free number: call and free service, from a landline or mobile phone

9. How to recover unpaid rents after an eviction tenant?

If after eviction, the tenant has still not paid these unpaid rents, the landlord can benefit from several collection tools:
  • Seize and sell the tenant's furniture
  • This only concerns furniture that can be seized. They include:
  • Necessary equipment for everyday life
  • Personal belongings
  • Material goods needed for professional activity
  • For this seizure to see the light of day, a landlord must call on a bailiff. Without payment or dispute from the tenant, the bailiff will seize movable property and sell them at auction.

  • Garnishment on the tenant's bank accounts
  • A landlord can request recovery of unpaid rent after an eviction through garnishment on the tenant's bank accounts. In this case, they will have to call on a bailiff.
  • The bailiff will draw up a report of attachment attribution and will deliver it to the tenant's bank. If the requested amount is available, this amount will be blocked and the tenant will no longer have access to it. 

  • Garnishment of the tenant's remuneration
  • The attachment of the remuneration is made directly to the tenant's employer
  • The landlord must apply for attachment to the judicial court near the tenant's new residence. 
  • The act of seizure must be sent to the employer of the evicted tenant by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt


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