Are you going on a skiing holiday in France?


Arrhes, acompte, dépot de garantie, caution - what does the French terms in the rental agreement mean? Our legal adviser Sophie Goossens sort out the terms and gives advice on what to keep in mind when booking accommodation in France.

 A person skiing in the French Alps.

Bonjour Sophie! What to consider before booking winter accommodation in France?

- The first thing to do is to search for information about the landlord, both on the landlord’s website and by doing your own search. Check especially for reviews from previous tenants and if the landlord is easy to reach. Request a written contract that includes the details found in our checklist. Be aware that the landlord can not require more than 25 percent of the total rental price of the prepayment!

Is there anything in particular to consider when coming to / leaving the accommodation?

- When you arrive, you should check that the information in the inspection protocol is correct. Report to the landlord at once if something is missing or broken! Before leaving you should attend at the final inspection. Always ask for a signed copy of the protocol. If you have not ordered any final cleaning - ensure that the landlord notes that your cleaning is approved to avoid any additional costs.

What applies if you should have to cancel your accommodation, or if you become injured or ill during the holiday trip?

- There is no mandatory legislation governing cancellation terms for holiday accommodation, but these are written in the rental agreement. Therefore it is very important to carefully read the cancellation policy before you decide on a particular accommodation. Check with your insurance company if your home insurance policy contains a strong enough travel insurance that provides compensation if you become injured or ill. If not, it may be worth to extend your travel insurance by buying an additional insurance or a separate travel insurance.

If you are not satisfied with their accommodation, what to do?

- Turn primarily to the landlord with complaints. If the landlord does not correct the error even though you complained, and if you for some reason can not stay there, you can claim a refund of the rental price. You do this by sending a registered letter to the landlord. Also, please turn to DDCSPP (Direction Départementale de la Cohésion Sociale et de la Protection des Populations) located in the municipality of accommodation available.

Information that should be included in the rental agreement

  • Specification of the destination and rental property, including the type of accommodation, location, standard and characteristics.
  • The landlord's name, address and other contact information.
  • The date and time of arrival and departure.
  • The total rental price and payment terms. It includes payment and refund of deposit.
  • Inventory of household, eg furniture, kitchenware, electronics, etc.
  • List of services / facilities included in the price, eg parking, heating, electricity, water, bedding, towels, cleaning, etc.
  • Special requirements or obligations you agreed, for example, snow shovelling, the maximum number allowed inherent, if animals are allowed, etc.
  • Information about cancellation possibilities and cancellations fees.

French dictionary

Dépot de garantie - a deposit that covers compensation for any damage to household goods.

Caution - a deposit to cover any unpaid rent.

Arrhes - a type of prepayment. If you cancel the accommodation you lose your arrhes, but do not have to pay for the rest of the rental amount. If the landlord cancels, you get your double arrhes back.

Acompte - a type of prepayment. If you cancel the accommodation you lose your acompte, and you must also pay the remaining amount for the entire rental period. If the landlord cancels, you get your acompte back as well as compensation for any damage.

Problems with your French accommodation?

If you have problems with a trader, you can contact us at ECC Sweden for advice. Unfortunately we can not help in cases where you have rented a private accommodation.