What legal recourse for a rental ?

Unfortunately, it is possible that your rental will go wrong. Depending on the difficulties encountered, there are legal proceedings to help you find a solution. These remedies are possible in both directions: for a tenant to his lessor and for a lessor to his tenant. First of all, promote the means of conciliation: discussions, negotiations, .... If all your attempts are unsuccessful, you can take legal action.
Be aware, however, that legal solutions, more or less simple, can be long and often expensive.

The search for conciliation

Before any legal proceedings, it is always best to get in touch with the other party to try to reach an agreement. It is good to remind the other party of its interest in maintaining the good condition of its accommodation, and to propose a distribution of costs if the responsibilities are shared. You can even call on professionals, who will be able to carry out diagnoses and direct you to the most suitable solutions.

The prior conciliation procedure

The conciliator's mission, outside any legal procedure, is to promote and observe the amicable settlement of disputes, in order to then propose a solution. The commission is made up of landlords and tenants.

If a compromise, even partial, is found, the conciliator draws up a report specifying the terms of the agreement, mentioned in a report, which has the same value as a judgment and can therefore be executed by a bailiff. In case of failure, a non-conciliation bulletin will be issued.

This procedure, although not widely used, is often very effective and free.

To submit your request, you must write to the judge or file your request with the registry of the competent district court to have the 2 parties convened. The clerk will notify both parties of the places, days and times of the conciliation attempt. Everyone must present themselves, except for legitimate reasons, in person and may be accompanied by a person of their choice.

The other party's formal notice

If the discussion fails, you can send them a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to give notice to the other party. You can specify your verbal exchanges, the regulations in force, the risks incurred in the event of non-compliance with them. The aim is to show that you want to assert your rights but also that you have tried, but failed, to engage in dialogue.

Legal action

The District Court is the only competent court for questions relating to rents and residential leases, without limit on the amount..

Conciliation actions preceding legal action

Since January 1, 2020, an article of law allows the court judge to declare ex officio inadmissible any legal action that has not been preceded by an attempt to conciliation, an attempt at mediation or an attempt at a participatory procedure, when this tends to pay a sum less than 5,000 euros.

Ordinary procedures

The subpoena procedure

If the conciliation fails, you can appeal to the judge of the district court. The assistance of a lawyer is not compulsory. Prepare any document beforehand (contractual documents, letters exchanged, receipts, written testimony, etc.) to provide proof of what you are putting forward.

For your information, these procedures are generally very long and tedious. If the decision of the magistrate does not suit you, you will have one month to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
But, this time, the presence of a lawyer will be essential.

The summary procedure

In addition to the ordinary procedure mentioned above, you can have recourse to summary proceedings. This procedure allows you to obtain a quick decision on a dispute, in particular when it concerns problems in the use of the rental property noted by a bailiff.
The order issued is enforceable immediately and becomes final if neither party appeals within 15 days. This is the ideal procedure for getting urgent work done.


The summary judge does not rule on the merits of the case: if the dispute is not completely settled, it will have to be subsequently tried by the district court.

Simplified procedures

The simplified referral

The simplified referral is the most suitable procedure for small disputes (amounts less than € 3,800). To use the simplified referral, all you need to do is complete a declaration form at the clerk of the district court and accompany this request with the supporting documents necessary to support your request.

The order to do and the order to pay

Newly created, these procedures are both fast and free.
They are reserved for civil disputes involving an amount less than € 7,600. To use this procedure, all you have to do is complete a form available at the registry of the district court and provide the supporting documents.

The request must be based on a law or a contract.

  • If the judge considers that the request is well founded, he orders the opposing party to execute his judgment within a specific time limit
  • If it is an order for payment, the debtor can object. In this case, the two parties will be summoned for a hearing so that the judge decides definitively.
  • If the judge rejects the request, no recourse is possible, but you can summon the opposing party before the judge by way of a bailiff

This is the ideal procedure to recover a sum of money owed to you (for example, a deposit that the owner is slow to reimburse you at the end of the rental). The claim must be certain, payable and of a specified amount. You must send your request (request) by simple or registered letter to the clerk of the competent district court (place where the opposing party lives).

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