Commandement de Payer help

What is a Commandement de Payer?

The "commandement de payer" is a notice that sets a limited time for your tenant (your management company) to pay your rent. It must be served by a french bailiff. It's effect is to start a legal process whereby the landlord may cancel the lease. Under French Commercial Code (“Code de Commerce”) the tenant will have a limited period (usually one month as stipulated in lease contract) to pay rent arrears.

If I serve a Commandement de Payer will my rent be paid?

Your management company will consider its options. Does the management company want to continue it's business? What would be the impact to its business of losing your unit? If it's wish is to continue it's business and it considers your residence "strong" then it will likely pay your rent arrears.

What can I do if the management company does not pay my rent?

At this stage you must use a french solicitor (which we can recommend).The landlord can then have a summons served on the tenant to appear in court. The case will be judged summarily within one to three months of service of summons. If proof of non-payment of rent is provided to the judge, judicial termination of lease for breach of contract will be ordered. The Judge will also order payment of areas and eviction (termination of your lease). Once the eviction has been ordered, the situation will vary depending on whether the tenant vacates the property spontaneously or not.
  • If the tenant complies with the court order and evicts the apartments (or in the leaseback case the management company may return your keys) the owners can repossess  property.
  • If the tenant does not vacate, owners must instruct a bailiff to force the tenant to leave the premises.
  • Owners can request a payment order without eviction if they do not wish to terminate lease.
  • At any time if the tenant no longer has the cash to pay rent, it can ask the Commercial Tribunal to place it under receivership. The consequences, of receivership are that until a decision is taken on the future of the tenant (continuation, takeover, liquidation):

All eviction and payment procedures are suspended, the landlord must declare the rent arrears due to the receiver within a limited period of time. The receiver has to pay rent for the period after opening of receivership procedure. If rent cannot be paid the receiver must terminate leases. As part of a continuation / takeover plan the receiver cannot force the landlord to accept substantial changes to the provisions of the lease (reduction of rent for instance). If receiver cannot pay rent the lease must be terminated.

When deciding whether to serve a Commandement consider the implications of "receivership". If your management company manages a number of residences then one option which the court will allow is for the management company to "offload" residences. And of course if the management company chooses this path it will offload weaker residences. If you consider your residence to be "weak" then the management company might ignore your Commandement.