Commercial Lease Checklist

Bail commercial checklist
Jurisdiction: France

I. Who are the parties?

A. With respect to the lessor (bailleur):

1. Does the potential lessor have both:

(a) legal capacity (capacité juridique); and

(b) the authority to lease the premises?

If yes to both (a) and (b) --> continue to I. B.

If the answer to either (a) or (b) is no:

2.  With respect to the building, is it subject to a life estate (usufruit)[1], and if yes, has the lessee obtained either:

(a) consent to lease the premises from a person possessing the lawful right to dispose of the property (nue-propriétaire)[2]; or

(b) special judicial authorization?

3.  Is the building community property (|bien commun|)[3] and if so, has the lessee obtained valid consent to lease the premises from both spouses?[4]

4.  If the lessor does not have legal capacity, has the lessee obtained consent from the lessor’s authorized legal representative?

B. With respect to the lessee (preneur):

1.  Is the lessee a business professional or commercial entity (commerçant)[5], registered with the Commercial and Companies Register (Registre du commerce et des sociétés)?[6]

2.  If not, is the lessee an artisan?[7]

3.  If the lessee is neither a business professional/commercial entity nor an artisan, do one of the exceptions under Article L 145 of the French Commercial Code apply?

- owner of lease-managed funds (propriétaire du fonds mis en location-gérance)[8];

- educational institution (établissement d’enseignement);

- member or representative of a French Commune, using government services (commune exploitant un service en régie); or a

- public company (entreprise publique)?

If the answer to either 1, 2, or 3 is yes, continue to Part II.

If the answers to 1, 2, and 3 is no, the commercial lease rules do not apply.

II.  What type of property is to be leased?

Is the property in question a (i) building, which has already been constructed/developed, or does the lease concern (iii) commercial or artisanal premises?[9]

If yes to (i) or (ii) à continue to part III.

If no to (i) and (ii) à the commercial lease rules do not apply.

III.   Will business assets (fonds de commerce)[10] be exploited in the building or premises?[11]

If yes à continue to part IV.

If no à the commercial lease rules do not apply

IV.   What are the characteristics of the lease agreement’s terms?

A. Duration:

1. Is the agreement for (a) a seasonal lease (location de saison) or (b) a short-term lease (bail de courte durée), that is, is the lease term less than two years?[12

If yes to (a) or (b) à the commercial lease rules do not apply.

If no à continue to question 2.

2. Does the agreement consist of a long-term lease (bail emphytéotique)?[13]

If yes  à the commercial lease rules do not apply.

If no à continue to section B.

B. Subject matter:

1.  Is the purpose of the lease to construct property?

If yes à the commercial lease rules do not apply.

If no à continue to question 2.

2. Does the lease involve real estate concessions (concessions immobilières) ?[14

If yes à the commercial lease rules do not apply

If no à the lease is indeed commercial and the rules governing commercial leases apply.


  1. Right to use and enjoy property and the fruits therefrom, but not the right to transfer the property, which are held by the life estate holder. C. civ. Arts. 578 and 582 s.
  2. While the term “nue-propriétaire” has been translated to “bare owner” and “remainderman”, life estate holder, seems to be the most accurate translation. A nue-propriétaire is person, who possesses the right to transfer the property in question to another, but has neither the rights to use nor enjoy the property, as such rights are held by the life tenant (|usufruitier|). C. civ. Art 578 s.
  3. A bien commun makes up part of the marital community and is normally subject to equal division between the spouses upon the dissolution of a marriage. C. Civ. Arts. 1401,1421.
  4. Failing consent of both spouses, the lease may be rescinded. C. civ. Art. 1425.
  5. For more information, please see Lexplique France: Commerçant.
  6. For more information, please see Lexplique France: Registre du commerce et des sociétés. C com. Art L 145-1.
  7. For more information, please see Lexplique France: Artisan.
  8. C com. Art L 145-1.
  9. The French commercial lease rules do not apply to movable property, vacant plots of land, or property that is not fixed to the ground.
  10. For more information, please see Lexplique France: Fonds de commerce.
  11. The commercial lease rules do not apply to commercial business entities, which are engaged in civil activities.
  12. C. com. Art. L 145-5.
  13. C com. Art. 145-3.
  14. Loi du 30 décembre 1967.