Who is responsible for the damage to a dwelling being rented?

Verified 14 March 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

It's either the tenant or the landlord. It depends on the cause of the degradation: neglect and lack of maintenance of the housing, dilapidation (or natural wear and tear), cases of force majeure, burglary.

Examples of damage

Neglect or lack of maintenance of the dwelling can be the cause of the following deterioration:

  • Hole or stain on walls
  • Depressed door
  • Burned carpet
  • Wooden floor damaged


The damage caused by the tenant, due to his negligence or lack of maintenance of the accommodation, is his responsibility.

Indeed, the tenant must make the leasehold works and repairs during the lease.

The tenant is also responsible for damage caused during the lease by the following people:

  • Person who habitually resides with him in the dwelling
  • Or anyone they host or invite
  • Or a person who intervenes on a case-by-case basis (for example, a craftsman or other professional contracted to carry out work)
  • Or sub-tenant

In order not to be considered liable, the tenant must demonstrate by any means that he is not responsible for the damage (this is the case, for example, when a major repair to the owner is the cause of the deterioration).


the tenant must take out a home insurance that covers at least rental risks, i.e. damage to the dwelling caused by water damage or fire.

Examples of damage due to age

Aging refers to natural wear and tear due to normal and prolonged use of the dwelling, such as:

  • Paintings whose color has passed
  • Worn floor coverings


The damage caused by the dilapidated are at the owner's expense, even if the necessary repairs are on the list of rental repairs.

To distinguish between damage due to dilapidation (the owner's responsibility) and damage (the tenant's responsibility), the landlord and the tenant may decide to apply a dilapidation grid.

This grid defines a theoretical lifetime and an annual reduction coefficient for the main materials and equipment of the dwelling. These elements (theoretical lifetime and coefficient) are used to vary the price to be paid by the tenant for rental repairs, depending on how long the tenant has occupied the dwelling.


The landlord and tenant must choose this grid from among the collectively agreed obsolete grids.

Degradation resulting from a force majeure (for example, a storm) are paid for by the owner, even if the necessary repairs are listed rental repairs.

When a burglar has caused damage to the dwelling, the renter must use his home insurance. To do so, it must contact your insurer.

The insurer will tell him what steps to take. These steps vary depending on the type of home insurance contract signed by the tenant.

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