This highly recommended document is the contract between the landlord and the tenant.  The law requires that a standard written lease is drawn up, signed by the landlord and the tenant.

Its minimum duration is three years tacitly renewable for empty accommodation (if the owner is an individual) and one year for furnished accommodation.

The information which must appear in the lease:

  • the name and address of the landlord and of the tenant,
  • the duration of the rental and the date from which the tenant disposes of the accommodation,
  • the description of the accommodation and annexes (cellar, garage, garden, etc.),
  • the floor space,
  • the intended purpose of the rented premises (i.e. residential or professional use),
  • the amount of the rent and charges and the payment terms of the rent and the conditions of its possible revision,
  • the amount of the security deposit,
  • the terms of leave (in what form should it be given? At what time?).
  • the amount of the last rent if the accommodation is vacated less than 18 months before the lease is signed.


This valuable document will allow you to justify the recovery of your deposit when you leave your accommodation. Here are a few tips for conducting your inventory.

The tenant and the owner must establish the inventory together when the keys are handed over and when they are returned. To be valid, the inventory must be signed by both parties (it can be amended within 10 days and within one month regarding the heating elements).

Do not hesitate to report any problems you detect when entering the accommodation, and require specific terms (humid, ripped, holes, dirty) rather than vague terms (adequate, average, fair). Also indicate the number of keys handed over and check that they work properly.

Do not forget to read the individual electricity and cold-water meters. Lastly, test the equipment made available to make sure that it works.


The energy performance diagnosis (DPE) which must be appended to the lease, mandatory and the responsibility of the lessor for rentals since July 2007, provides potential tenants with information on the energy consumption of a property.

The energy performances range from A for low-energy housing (BBC label level) to G for the most energy-intensive housing. This indicator is expressed in primary energy (KWhPE/m²/year).

As of July 2018, an ELECTRICITY diagnosis will also be mandatory.


When entering accommodation, a guarantee (security deposit) must be paid and it is sometimes necessary to find a guarantor (joint guarantee).

The security deposit (often called a guarantee) is a sum of money paid to the owner or to a real estate agency when the lease is signed, intended to cover any breaches by the tenant at the time of his departure (rent, repairs, payment of charges, etc.). The owner may deduct from the security deposit any sums remaining due by the tenant. Its amount may not be more than 1 month’s rent (2 months for a furnished rental) excluding charges and cannot be reassessed during the lease.

The owner may require a third person to stand surety or to act as guarantor to guarantee the payment of rent and charges in case of default by the tenant. The joint guarantee commitment must be written (on the lease or in an annex) and must indicate: the amount of the rent and its revision conditions which appear in the lease; the maximum amount beyond which the person will not provide his guarantee; the duration and extent of the guarantee; a handwritten mention by the guarantor, indicating that he is aware of the extent of his obligation.


Taking out insurance for your accommodation is an obligation.

The tenant is required to provide evidence of his insurance policy to the landlord, when the keys are handed over then each year at the lessor’s request. If necessary, he/she has a period of one month to provide the certificate.

The tenant must take out home insurance with the insurance company of his/her choice.

Your insurance contract must guarantee:

  • your furniture, your personal belongings, the contents of the apartment,
  • your liability for the damage you may cause to others (neighbours or third parties): water leaks and flooding in neighbours’ homes, for example,
  • your liability vis-à-vis the owner, i.e. the so-called “rental risks” guarantee.

Your liability is incurred for any destruction and deterioration (attributable to you) caused to the rented accommodation.


Rent can be freely determined in Bourgogne, also with the option to choose any payment method. It is revised once a year based on changes in the reference rent index.

The rent can be revised once a year if this is stipulated by a clause in the lease. The revision date is the date indicated in the lease or, failing that, the anniversary date of the lease. If the lease does not include a revision clause, the rent remains the same throughout the lease.

The rent can be accompanied by other charges inseparable from your accommodation. Rental charges are usually paid every month, in the form of a provision for charges. An adjustment is carried out each year to adjust the tenant’s payments to the actual expenses. Their amount must be detailed by category of expenditure at the time of the adjustment.

The owner must provide the tenant who so requests with a receipt, free of charge.


Upon arrival in your accommodation, you are free to choose your energy supplier: you can either keep the regulated rate or choose a market offer. To help you in your choice, visit the website

To have an Internet connection, a land line or even TV channels, many operators offer “boxes”. Competition now makes it possible to have unlimited package deals at low costs. To find out about your Internet/telephone subscription options, which operators can connect you and the various rates offered, visit the following websites:


You must inform the Post Office of your change of address, which will then forward your mail to your new address. Your mail will be forwarded for a period of six or twelve months. You can subscribe either in a post office or on the Internet: (paid service).

Ensure that there is a mailbox showing your name at your new home!

Other steps:

Do not forget to change your address:

  • on the following documents: identity card, driving licence, registration card, passport, voter’s card, etc.
  • with the following organisations: family allowance fund (CAF), tax centre, insurance, mutual insurance, social security, bank and other financial institutions.

There is a website that allows you to change your address with several organisations in one step

The MSAP can help you with these formalities.


The Maisons de Services au public (M.S.A.P.) (public service centres) can help you use the Internet for accommodation search sites and online services, in particular for APL (housing benefit) simulations. The MSAP agents can also help you prepare applications (APL, LOCA-PASS®, application for social housing, etc.).

You will also find information there, in particular regarding the LOCA-PASS®, MOBILI-PASS®, the security deposit and guarantee for rental risks, the Housing Solidarity Fund, etc.

Depending on your needs, you will be directed to or put into contact with the organisations of Nièvre (notaries, real estate agencies, CLCV, CNL, UFC Que choisir 58, Action Logement, CDHU-SOLIHA 58, ANAH, etc.). You will also be able to receive help for writing letters (notice, for example).


Take advantage of Neighbours’ Day to get to know those around you! This will allow you to create links and avoid the lack of communication that usually leads to neighbourhood quarrels.