What should a car rental agreement include?

Renting a car is simple and often exciting. Decrypt the contract, much less. Have you ever felt feverish in front of a multi-page lease to read, understand and sign in record time? Usually, it has everything to be scary: it engages you, and you know that omitting certain details can sometimes be costly. Let us help you understand the three main parts and save you from sweating profusely at every castle. 😉

Mandatory information in a car rental contract

This is an integral part of the conditions for renting a car: any relationship between landlord and tenant is embodied in a contract. Whether you are going through a classic agency or a rental platform between individuals, the rental company gives you the right to use a vehicle, provided of course that you have the required minimum age and the necessary documents. Although its form may vary considerably from one landlord to another, it always defines the general conditions, the duration conditions and the economic conditions. It is drawn up in duplicate so that each party can keep an original by signature.

This contract includes first and foremost:

  • Landlord’s identity or business name and address;
  • Your last name, first name, place and date of birth as well as your address and the number of your driving license;
  • Vehicle make, type, registration number and mileage;
  • Date, place, time of departure and return.

It also includes what is included in the rental price:

  • Daily price;
  • Any increases (young driver, extra driver, etc.);
  • Basic insurance automatically included and optional insurance taken out directly with the landlord (there are alternative solutions to insure your rental car and benefit from additional guarantees, but if you have taken out them elsewhere, they will not appear in this contract there 😉;
  • Options, such as a baby chair for example.

Finally, it specifies the deductible amount (what to pay in case of damage to the vehicle or an accident) and the amount of the security deposit (the security deposit that is blocked in your account by bank deposit or temporarily debited if you are a holder of a simple payment card). When the landlord demands a rental advance, this is also stated in the contract itself.

2. Vehicle condition sheet

The Vehicle Condition Sheet is a contractual and essential document that can be integrated into the lease or presented separately. The signature of both parties makes it possible to jointly determine the condition of the vehicle on departure and on return (unless, in agreement with the rental company, the vehicle is delivered outside the office’s opening hours, of course).

Before signing the contract, take the necessary time to check everything carefully and observe the defects, however small they may be, noted on the 2 copies of the sheet (scratches, shocks to the body, damaged or worn elements, etc.). You will thus not be responsible for it at the time of return.

3. The General Rental Conditions (GTC)

The General Lease Terms (GTC) often state the rights and obligations of both parties. No pun (!), Do not be confused by the forbidden appearance of the document. By synthesizing all the useful information you may need, they are your ally.

They accurately describe the costs and their framework, namely:

The methods for calculating the price including VAT and all the elements that make it up (especially by time or mileage in case of a limited mileage policy) as well as any surcharges at stations and airports.
The terms of fuel billing if you do not return the vehicle after refueling yourself or returning the meter to the same level as at departure, if applicable.

The amount of the security, the conditions of return and the conditions of exemption from payment.
Any advances on rent, their amount and the conditions of exemption.
All other related costs, conditions and sanctions, for example in case of cancellation, return of the vehicle beyond the return period or the mileage package stipulated in the contract. Etc.

car rental price

They clarify the basics of your protection and your liability in the event of a claim, namely:

The insurance covered, ie the compulsory liability insurance, which covers personal injury or property damage caused to third parties and the potential other guarantees with their exclusions and deductibles.
The optional insurance that the landlord offers with their prices including VAT, guarantees, exceptions and deductible.

They set out the landlord’s obligations with regard to the maintenance, repair, assistance and replacement of the vehicle in the event of a malfunction, incident or accident, as well as any limitations on its contractual liability.

They decide on your own obligations as a tenant:

During the rental period, in terms of respecting the vehicle as it is, routine maintenance (oil level, water level, tire pressure), the procedure to be followed in the event of an accident, etc.

For the return, on the date and under the agreed conditions (just note that even if the landlord accepts a return to the parking lot when the agency is closed, you remain legally responsible for the vehicle until keys and papers are picked up at the opening the next day).

Let’s end with one last reassuring remark …

If you always have to be vigilant, know that in France the state and the associations keep an eye on the grain. Thus, the leases of reputable companies or platforms may never have been so complete and fair.

Warnings and injunctions from the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consumption et de la Repression des Frauds) sanctioned the clauses which introduced an excessive imbalance in the general rental conditions to the detriment of the consumer. The UFC-Que Choisir has also in the past obtained annulment in court of provisions declared illegal or abusive, all of which have since been deleted from those contracts.

So reassured? 🙂 You can now explore new horizons with an easy mind!

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