Top 10 things real estate agents are not allowed to do

You too have already heard “no, but go through an agency, it’s safer!” after being tricked by a landlord? A nice little trick, if your agent doesn’t overstep his rights… A little recap of the things he’s not allowed to do, how to ask about the leases before signing the lease! (Very funny. Yes, yes.)

1. Ask you for certain documents

Namely: your bank information, your vital card, a document attesting to your marital status, an extract from your criminal record, a medical file, a money order or reservation check, a photo ID other than the one on your credit card. identity or passport. If you are asked for one of these papers, it is NO.

2. Raise the rent too much

Ok, this point is a bit technical. Basically, a real estate agent has the right to increase your rent once a year, if and only if this “escalation clause” is provided for in the lease, or if the real estate agency has carried out improvement works. On the other hand, this increase is capped: it cannot be higher than the IRL (which does not mean “unreal” but rather “benchmark rent index”). Published quarterly by INSEE, it is based on the evolution of consumer prices. For 2022, this index caps the annual increase in rent at 2.48%. If you are as good at math as I am: here is a simulator that will allow you to see if you are being tricked or not.

Top 10 things real estate agents are not allowed to
Picture credits: Topito

3. Going home without your permission

It is STRICTLY prohibited. Even if you are a tenant, you are at home. Any person, real estate agent or owner included, who enters without your authorization commits a violation of domicile, either: a criminal offense. According to article 226-4 of the Penal Code, Introducing someone else’s home (…) is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros.“.

4. Make the inventory without the tenants

The inventory must actually be established in the presence of all parties: the landlord or his representative (the real estate agent, in this case) and the tenant (or his representative). According to the ALUR law, the tenant can also ask to modify it up to 10 days after its completion, if he finds new defects. (Source.)

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5. Asking you for too much deposit…

The ALUR law caps deposits: one month’s rent excluding maximum charges for empty accommodation and two months for furnished accommodation. In the case of a mobility lease, no deposit can be requested!

6. …And take more than a month to return it to you

According to article 22 of the law of July 6, 1989, and in the event that no degradation is to be deplored, the lessor has one month, from the return of the keys, to return your deposit. Not another day.

7. Asking too high fees

Two conditions in the amount of fees requested: first, they cannot be higher than those requested from the owner. Then they cannot exceed the established limits. Set by decree no. 2014-890 of August 1, 2014, rental fees can range from €8 to €12/m² depending on the area (very stretched, stretched, not stretched). For the realization of the inventory, the ceiling is the same everywhere in France: 3€/m².

Top 10 things real estate agents are not allowed to
Picture credits: Topito

8. Acquire a property that they must sell

According to article 1596 of the Civil Code, real estate agents (in their capacity as agents) are prohibited from acquiring, even through an intermediary, the property they are responsible for selling. Please note that this prohibition does not apply to employees of the real estate agency concerned!

9. Do not display the price of their services

The real estate agent is required to display the scale of his fees, all taxes included, and in a legible and visible manner, as soon as he enters the place where he receives his clients. This scale must also be accessible on its website. For each service, it must specify who is responsible for payment. (Source.)

10. Sell without a mandate

Regardless of the nature of the mandate (simple, exclusive or semi-exclusive), this bilateral contract, signed between an owner and a real estate agent, is MANDATORY for the accommodation to be on the market. It’s not me who says it, it’s the law (the law of January 2, 1970, known as the Hoguet law, to be exact)!

Unfortunately, no law forbids them to take shitty photos… Too bad, it’s not always super selling the toilet in the middle of the kitchen, huh?