Real estate rental: works at the expense of the landlord

Verified 09 December 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

When rented out, the lessor must deliver a dwelling (empty or furnished) in good condition. During the lease, work that is not rental repairs (small repairs and servicing at the tenant's expense) or that is not attributable to the tenant's fault, is the sole responsibility of the lessor. He has an obligation to make them happen. If it does not, the tenant has recourse.

During the lease

The lessor has an obligation to maintain and repair the dwelling he rents for the entire duration of the lease, apart from rental repairs (minor repairs and servicing at the expense of the tenant) which are not attributable to a fault of the tenant. The lessor shall be responsible for:

  • Improvements in the communal and private areas of the same building (installation of a code...)
  • Work necessary for maintaining the housing in good condition and normal maintenance (flap defects, antiquated valves...)
  • Work to improve the energy performance of the dwelling (insulation, efficient boiler...)
  • Work to meet the criteria of a decent housing
  • Maintenance of roofs and green facades

Please note

certain work normally covered by rental repairs remain at the expense of the lessor where they are caused by the dilapidated or force majeure.

Inform the tenant

Before the work begins, the landlord must notify the tenant. To do so, he must send a notification by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or hand it to him.

This notification must specify the nature of the work (improvement sought, urgency, planned energy performance...) and the way it will be done (start date, duration, need for access...).

If this work is urgent (for example, the water heater in winter), the tenant must allow access to his accommodation for the preparation and execution of the work. But it is not obligated to allow access on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

To compensate the tenant

The tenant must allow access to his accommodation for the preparation and execution of the works at the owner's expense.

However, if these repairs or works last more than 21 days, the landlord must grant him a rent reduction proportional to the duration of the work.

In some cases, the tenant may use the protection litigation judge the court on which the dwelling depends.

This is the case when the work:

  • are abusive in nature
  • or do not comply with the conditions laid down in notification of works
  • or make the use of the dwelling impossible or dangerous.

The tenant can then ask the judge:

  • the prohibition of work undertaken
  • or the interruption of work undertaken
  • or the termination of the lease, where the work renders the dwelling uninhabitable.

When the lessor does not do the work, the lessee must notify the lessor if damage occurs.

If the lessor does not take the necessary steps, the lessee must give notice to the lessor to fulfill his obligations.

Require the owner to make the major repairs that are his responsibility

Where within two months of the sending of the formal notice, the tenant and the lessor fail to reach an agreement or the lessor fails to respond, the lessee may refer the matter to the departmental conciliation commission or the court registry.

Who shall I contact


even if the landlord does not do work that he or she must do, the tenant must continue to pay the rent.

If the judge considers that the work falls within the obligations of the lessor, the judge may compel the lessor to carry out the work. It may also authorize the tenant to carry them out himself and instruct the lessor to reimburse the tenant.

The judge may also award the tenant damages for disturbance of enjoyment.

Video: What to do when the lessor does not do the work?

Vidéo - Housing - Owner's obligations: received wisdom?
Credits : Public Service (DILA)

Conversation between two friends, via SMS

* I still don't have hot water

* Again?? Your landlord still hasn't done anything?

* I called him but still nothing

* Stop paying the rent until he does the repairs!

Received idea?

Do you have the right to stop paying your rent if your landlord doesn't do the work? No!

Response from expert

No, you can't do yourself justice. You must meet the obligation to pay the rent or your lease may be terminated.

As a first step, you should verify that repairs are not included in the list of rental repairs, i.e. small repairs equivalent to routine maintenance of the dwelling that are the responsibility of the tenant.

If this repair is not the responsibility of the tenant, the landlord has an obligation to make this repair to restore the hot water. You must inform them of the problem.

If he does not respond, you must demand that he make this repair by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If he does not reply, you have the opportunity to refer the matter to the departmental conciliation committee.

And as a last resort, you can go to court.

Key takeaways

· You must pay your rent

· Verify who is to perform the work

· Owner must restore hot water

· Your efforts:

1. Alert the owner

2. Put him on notice

3. Enter the departmental reconciliation commission

· Last resort: go to court


The landlord must provide the tenant with accommodation in good general condition. However, the lessor and the lessee may agree to its restoration.

The lessor is required to issue the lessee with a decent housing, i.e. housing which is in particular:

  • in good condition for use and repair,
  • and with equipment in good working order.

However, if the rented dwelling is not in good condition at the entrance to the premises, the lessor and the tenant can agree on the taking over and execution by the tenant of the work necessary for its restoration.

If necessary, this option must be provided for by an express clause specifying:

  • the nature of the work that the lessee performs or causes to be performed,
  • the manner in which their amount is chargeable to the rent,
  • the duration of the imputation,
  • and, in the event of the early departure of the tenant, the conditions of his compensation.

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