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Legal : Useful tips

Tenant’s pre-emptive right




The right of first refusal (or pre-emptive right) has been established to protect the tenant if the apartment is sold.


If the owner intends to sell his property unoccupied at the end of the lease period, he must grant a leave of sale 6 months before the tenant’s deadline.


Then, It gives the priority for the tenant to enter a business transaction with the owner before the owner is entitled to enter into that transaction with a third party.


The tenant may use this right concerning the first sale after a first condominium as when a single owner decides to split his property and sell the parcels of it.





The pre-emptive right is not applicable when the landlord wishes to sell his property to one of his parents. This derogation is available to parents or to the fourth-degree relatives, as nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles...


In this case, the landlord is not obliged to propose the accommodation to the tenant.


To enjoy this right, the tenant must hold a standard three-years lease, drafted under the 6 of July 1989 Act. Are excluded tenants with a lease for a furnished rental or corresponding to a seasonal rental.


Pre-emptive right shall not apply to sales concerning insalubrious buildings or subject to a prohibition to live or an order of risk.





When an owner decides to sell his property, he has to warn the tenant by registered mail or by a bailiff at least six months before the term of the lease.


This letter has to be sent to each tenant, common-law, married or PACS living in the accommodation. In fact, each person mentioned on the contract could benefit of the pre-emption right.


If one of the occupants refuses to use this right, it does not exclude another occupant to acquire the property even if they are married.


The mail has to mention the leave for sale, the price of the property and the terms of sale. It must also reproduce the first five paragraphs of the 15.II Article of the 6 of July 1989 Act.


The offer must indicate the proportion of co-ownership affected to the parcel and all annexes as cellar, parking...


If all its rules are not observed, the leave of sale may be cancelled.



Tenant’s respond


The tenant has a statutory period of two months upon receipt of the mail to accept the offer.


After this period, a non-response from the tenant means that he has rejected the offer and he will lose his tenancy rights at the end of the lease.


This statutory period could be shorter if the tenant decides to purchase or not the property. In these two cases, he just has to send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to the owner.


If the tenant needs a loan to buy this property, he just has to mention it in the mail. The sale will be under the suspensive condition of obtaining a loan.


When the offer is accepted, it will extend the lease until the expiration of the sale.



Completion Time


The statutory period for the completion of the sale depends on the loan application.


If the tenant doesn’t need a loan, the deadline is two months after the receipt of the letter of acceptance.

If he requests a bank loan, he has four months from the receipt of the mail.


NB : If the sale is not done during this period, the offer is cancelled and the tenant will lose all his tenancy rights unless the failure is due to the owner.



Special feature


If the property has to be sold to a third party at a lower price, the owner should make a new offer to the tenant.


The sale contract to this third party must be notified by the notary or by the owner even though the tenant left the accommodation. If his new address is unknown, it will be notify to his former home issued by a bailiff.


This second pre-emptive right (stipulated in the 21 of July 1994 Act) stands as a new sale offer. The tenant has a month to respond after the mail reception.



For a rented apartment sale


If the owner decides to sell his occupied apartment, he has no obligation to propose it to the tenant. But, in this case, the lease will not be changed and it will run until its end.


We recommend you to always warn the tenant about your wish to sell the property he occupies and if he holds an obvious interest to acquire it.


In addition, if he does not want to purchase it, ask him about his availability in order to perform the necessary diagnostics for sale and to schedule the visits.

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