What is decent housing?

Among the obligations of the landlord towards his tenant is to provide him with decent housing, whether furnished or unfurnished. It must reconcile between security and comfort so as not to present any risk that could affect the physical or health well-being of the tenant. What, then, are the characteristics and legislations that make a dwelling suitable for residential use?

The characteristics of decent housing are determined by law, more specifically in Decree No. 2002-120 of January 30, 2002, they concern sanitary standards and the necessary equipment, as well as the criteria of minimum surface area and volume.


Above all, the premises must not be the subject of an order of insalubrity or danger, such as a building threatening to fall into ruin at any time. They must also be in a fairly good state of maintenance and solidity, in order to avoid runoff, infiltration and rising water. Thus, the owner-lessor must inspect the condition of the building materials, coatings and pipes of the accommodation before handing it over to the tenant.

As for networks, installations and electrical connections, gas for heating and hot water production, they must comply with safety and hygiene standards. The rooms must be reasonably lit by natural light, that is to say that an apartment, which lacks an opening and a sufficient ventilation and lighting system, cannot be considered as decent housing.

Special attention should also be paid to the solidity of stair railings and balcony barriers.

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Equipment and layout

For a dwelling to be considered as compliant, it must include, at least, a heating installation, a continuous supply of drinking water at a sufficient flow rate, drainage systems for household water, sinks and washbasins, in working order. Steps.

As for the rooms, a kitchen, capable of accommodating basic household appliances, is essential, as well as a toilet and a shower/bath in working order which must be separated from the kitchen.

Area and volume

The presence of at least one main room with a living area of ​​9 square meters and a ceiling height of at least 2.20 meters is mandatory. The total habitable volume must be at least 20 cubic meters.

However, if the living area is less than 9 square meters, even if the total volume is 20 cubic meters or more, the dwelling is excluded from the standards of decency. They are also excluded, cellars, basements, garages and terraces, if these are not properly fitted out.

If, as a landlord, you rent non-decent housing, you will not be able to request the payment of housing allowance from your tenant, who may, moreover, require that the premises be brought up to imminent standards. and this, through renovations.

In the absence of an agreement on your part, he may have recourse to legal action which may subsequently order a reduction in the rent. Also, in the event of bodily injury caused to the tenant, the lessor may be subject to a criminal sanction.

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