One of the conditions to be met when trying to obtain a long-term rental in France with any landlord or property owner is the evidence of a French guarantor. Property owners and landlords request the provision of a guarantor especially when the renter or tenant is young or earns a low income as these property owners need assurances that the rent and other charges associated with the property will be paid in full and on time. A guarantor endorses an agreement made by the two parties (tenant and property owner), by giving an undertaking that the tenant would fulfil the obligations and make the requisite payments as agreed by both parties. The guarantor also commits to taking up the responsibilities of the tenant such as making payments and other similar obligations in a case where the tenant defaults and fails to perform his or her portion of the contract. Such French guarantors can be either individuals (personal) or institutions who meet certain specific criteria.
Requirements of a guarantor for long-term rental in France
The basic requirements for an individual to qualify as a personal guarantor in France include but are not limited to:
1. Age – Ideally, a guarantor can be any individual between the ages of 18 and 75 years
2. Credit history – For an individual to be considered credible enough to offer assurances with regards to such long-term lease agreements, such guarantor is expected to have a good credit history and high ratings as their own ability to cover their debts would be taken into consideration as well.
3. Income – In line with such expected credit ratings, a guarantor should be earning an income (either passive or active) that is at least three times the rental costs being guaranteed.
4. Residency – A suitable French guarantor must also be legally resident in France and be able to provide documents to support such residency status.
5. Relationship with guarantor – It is acceptable for a renter to obtain guarantees from a qualified family member which is generally the case for students and young professionals.
Acceptable documents for a French guarantor
For a guarantee obtained from an individual or personal guarantor to be valid and enforceable in any long-term rental or lease agreement, the guarantee must be provided in writing within a section of the long-term lease agreement or as an appendix with the relevant documents annexed to the long-term rental contract. Guarantors are generally required to provide their payslips from their employers, or a form of employment certificate (letter) stating the monthly income or evidence of their tax returns for the previous 3 months as a document to prove their ability to cover the rent cost if needed.
Types of guarantee for long-term rental in France
This guarantee can be provided as “caution solidaire” or “caution simple”. These refer to the extent to which the guarantor is liable for any rental charges or damages incurred by the renter. For “solidaire”, the guarantor agrees to be jointly and severally liable for the rent and other charges incurred by the renter. This basically means that if the tenant fails to make the required payments, the landlord can make a claim directly to the guarantor without the need to exhaust all legal avenues against the tenant. In the same line, the “caution simple” requires that the property owner utilizes all legal approaches to obtain rent charges from the renter before making a claim from the guarantor. Considering the length of time involved and costs that may be incurred in pursuing legal cases, landlords are more at ease with a “caution solidaire” which is more valuable to the property owner seeing as it saves the stress of any legal proceedings.
It is also important to note that the guarantee provided may either be unlimited or limited to a specific period of time. The guarantor may also undertake to pay a fixed or a maximum amount. In a situation where the guarantor is willing to pay an undefined amount or for an unlimited period, the landlord is required to inform the tenant about the balance of the account or any outstanding charges at least once a year. The property owner is also obliged to give an immediate report to the guarantor in a case where the tenant incurs any outstanding charges or defaults on payment. This notice is expected to be provided to the guarantor as quickly as possible after the due date of such payment as any delays may result in the loss of such guarantee.
There are generally acceptable letters which can be used as templates for guarantors to express their commitment to the contract, it is however advisable to ensure that any documents provided by an individual or personal guarantor in France is confirmed and signed by a “notaire” while concluding the contract signing process. Obtaining a qualified guarantor for a long-term rental agreement is one requirement that goes a long way in making the contract signing process relatively easy for all parties involved. Find out more information about the most suitable guarantor for you.