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TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 831
Experience:  Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
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What remedies when landlord refuses to return security deposit

Customer Question

What remedies when landlord refuses to return security deposit on Paris apartment?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 4 years ago.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Hello, The only remedy for you in France is to sue the landlord before a French small claims court (Tribunal d'Instance) of your arrondissement in Paris. The court will reveiw the matter (listen to all the arguments, look at the evidence and determine whether or not if your security deposit should be returned. If the court rules in your favor, then you will have a court order that you can take to a huissier de justice to garnish the landlord's bank account or have his/her property sold at a public auction to collect your security deposit.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Until you have a court order, there is really noting you can do with respect to a bad faith landord, except sending him/her registered letters requesting the return of your security deposit. In any case, you must first send a registered letter to your landlord requesting the return of your security deposit. This will be one of the first things the French court will ask you (if you did it). The registered letter (lettre recommandée avec AR) will be your proof that you tried to get your security deposit without going through the court system. and that you did not rush into going taking the matter to court.

JACUSTOMER-dv41ulbs- :

The apartment is in the 6th Arr., but the landlord lives in Vienna. Can I still sue him in the 6th?

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Yes. According to the information you gave me, the court of jurisdiction is the Tribunal d'instance of the 6th arrondissement of PARIS.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

I am glad I was able to answer your question. Please don’t forget to provide a positive rating so I can get credit for the service I provided to you. If the answer was particularly helpful a BONUS is always appreciated too! Best regards XXXXX XXXXX!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You omitted any mention of the Commission departmentale de conciliation de Paris which is the first step and probably the most important before going to court. You also omitted to mention I was entitled to interest after the two months ans that the two month period began with the return of the keys. You also forgot to mention that my rights are spelled out inArticle 22 of law 89-642 of July 6, 1989.

Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry if my answer was not what you were expecting. I answered your initial question according to what you wrote (the information you gave me), what you asked, and what you can do under French law.

It is true that most disputes between landlords and renters fall under the jurisdiction (competence) of the Commission Départementale de Conciliation the CDC, but not all the disputes fall under the CDC. Taking your matter to the CDC is an option and not an obligation. Taking the matter directly to the court is better because the CDC may not work and can be a waste of time. Only a court order can oblige the landlord to pay. This is why I answered to take the matter directly to a French small claims court.

My answer is a general answer and can not replace the advice that a lawyer would give you during a legal consultation. Only your lawyer can advise you what to do. Please understand that it is against the JustAnswer policy to advise customers on this website. While I am indeed a French lawyer in Paris, on this website, I am just a French law expert answering questions on French law and on my free time. I did not advise you, I just answered your question in accordance to what you can do under French law.

In order for me (or any lawyer, solicitor, or barrister) to counsel someone and tell them what they should do, I would need to see him/her (in person or on the phone), see all his/her documents, see all his/her evidence, get all the facts, understand the whole situation, ask a lot of questions, and establish a formal attorney client relation. In fact, the Just Answer disclaimer clearly states the following: "Posts are for general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), and do not establish a professional-client relationship." No attorney client relationship has been formed.

There are many claims you can make before the court, by the actual claims you make will depend on your case and the advice of a lawyer who knows your case. In a consultation, a lawyer will tell you about the many different interests and other claims you can make.

As for not giving you the article of the law. You did not ask for articles of the French law. Some customers on this website ask for the laws some don’t. I used to give the laws, but most of the time if the customer did not ask for the law, they would write me that they did not ask for the law, they just want an answer. I no longer second guess.

Also, your rights are protected in many other articles of the law n° 89-642 of July 6, 1989, not just article 22. Your rights are also protected in many other French Codes, not only just article 22 of law n° 89-642 of July 6, 1989.

Please can you alter your rating because it is classed as negative, which means it affects my feedback rating and I receive no credit for helping you.

I am more than happy to answer further questions in order to ensure that you are satisfied.

Thank you very much