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Who is responsible for the damage of a rental property?

Verified 17 February 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Depending on the origin of the damage (negligence, wear, force majeure, burglary), either the tenant or the owner bears the responsibility.

The tenant is obliged to make the leasehold work and repairs throughout the term of the lease. The damage caused by his negligence (lack of maintenance or lack of care) during the lease is his responsibility.


Damage caused by lack of maintenance or care during rental can be of a variety of nature, including: 

  • hole or stain on walls,
  • door pressed,
  • burnt carpet,
  • damaged parquet.


The tenant is liable for such damage if he is the author of it or if it is caused by:

  • persons who ordinarily reside with him in the dwelling,
  • the persons it hosts or invites,
  • persons who intervene punctually at his request (craftsman or professional mandated to perform works for example),
  • a sub-tenant.

In order not to be considered liable, the tenant must demonstrate by any means that the damage cannot be attributed to him (e.g.: large repair to the owner).


rental risk insurance obligatorily underwritten by the tenant covers damage caused by water damage or fire at his home.

Damage caused by dilapidated shall remain the responsibility of the owner.

In order to distinguish between aging and deterioration, the landlord and the tenant can decide on an aging grid as soon as the lease is signed.

This grid defines at least a theoretical lifetime and annual flat-rate reduction coefficients for the main materials and equipment of the rented property. These elements (theoretical service life and coefficients) are used to modulate the price of the rental repairs to which the tenant is bound.

The grid must be selected from the aging grids that have been the subject of a collective agreement ..


Aging corresponds to natural wear and tear on the premises due to prolonged normal use of the dwelling, for example:

  • paintings that have passed color,
  • or worn floor coverings.


If the damage that occurs during renting results from the dilapidation of the dwelling, the repairs are the responsibility of the owner, even if they have the nature of rental repairs..

Damage caused in the event of force majeure are the responsibility of the owner, even if the degradations have the nature of rental repairs..

This is the case, for example, when a storm occurs.

The tenant is responsible for damage to the dwelling during the term of the lease.

However, if the damage was caused by a burglar, the repairs are not his responsibility. The tenant must contact your insurer.. The insurer will indicate to the tenant the steps to be taken, which vary depending on the type of insurance contract the tenant has taken.