You have 4 months to contest the surface area of ​​a dwelling if it is too small


If the rented accommodation is smaller than expected, a rent reduction can be obtained but there are strict deadlines for claiming it. The law of July 6, 1989 specifies that when the living area of ​​the thing rented is less than one twentieth of that expressed in the rental contract, the tenant may request a reduction in the rent proportional to the difference observed. The tenant can contact his landlord, preferably by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, in order to ask him for the reduction in the rent legally provided for, recalls the Se Loger group. If the two parties disagree or if the tenant does not receive a response from the owner within two months of his request, he can go to court.

Attention, the tenant has a period of only four months from the complaint to the owner, underlined the Court of Cassation, in a judgment dated November 09, 2022 (Cass. Civil 3, 9.11.2022, S 21-19.212). This is a deadline that cannot be suspended or interrupted, the judges said, and must therefore be strictly adhered to.

An incompressible delay

The Court of Cassation was seized by a tenant to whom the owner had not responded when he had claimed a reduction in his rent after noting that the rented area was less than 5% of that indicated in the lease. The landlord responded to other requests made in the tenant’s letter but made no comments on the request for a reduction in rent, advising the tenant to give notice of his lease to find another property that could suit him. However, the case was brought to justice more than five months after the first request made to the owner, that is to say more than a month after the time limit, observed the Court, and the summons was therefore inadmissible.

The tenant argued that the discussions with the owner, during these five months, had logically led to a suspension of this limitation period, but it is a period of “foreclosure” and not of “prescription”, replied the judges. The difference being that the first is not subject to suspension or an interruption which would prolong it by making it start again for a new duration.



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