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#France: an anti-squat amendment threatens untitled occupiers

France. The anti-squat amendment supported by the Government (Ministry of Housing) generalizing the administrative eviction (by decision of the prefect and without trial) of untitled occupants was adopted in the law committees of the National Assembly on Wednesday, September 16. This proposal is excessively dangerous, and the time frame is short, since the law in which the amendment will be inserted will be discussed in the National Assembly the week of September 28.

Originally published by Squat Net.

An amendment discussed this afternoon in committee extends the expulsion without trial.
To all untitled occupants!

The proposed amendment No. 695 of the ASAP bill, inserted after article 30 bis, of the rapporteur Mr. Guillaume Kasbarian, deputy LREM and supported by the Government, extends the administrative eviction (forced eviction by decision of the prefect and without judgment), within a few days and retroactively to all untitled occupants of housing, offices, premises and vacant land.

The DAL does not support the occupation of secondary residences or the homes of others, i.e., furnished, energy, water, and regularly inhabited housing, and notes that the law that already provides for eviction without judgment in these situations is not applied by the Prefects.

However, the amendment introduces the term “occasional residence”, which is absent from French law [1]. It is also absent from the tax standard, for which a principal residence is subject to the taxe d’habitation, a secondary residence is subject to the TH résidence secondaire and a vacant dwelling is subject to a tax on vacant dwellings in certain cases.

Since it is neither a principal residence nor a secondary residence, an “occasional residence” is therefore a vacant dwelling, a ruin, a piece of land, or any space on, or in which an owner has established himself for a few hours, or a few nights, at a given time to picnic, sleep there or sleep with another person.

It could thus be a place of activity, the garden of a ruin, or a ground on which a tent was planted at a given time: it would be enough to expose at the time of the complaint that it is about an occasional residence…

Another serious deviation of this amendment, if this vague notion is maintained, would be to give a means, to slum landlords and other unscrupulous landlords who rent “on the black market”, to evict their tenants although they are up to date with their rent, a common practice in suburban houses rented by the slice and dice, Haussmann-style maids’ rooms or slums.

Without a lease, without a receipt, without a utility bill (energy, water …), the overexploited tenant would be at the mercy of an express eviction without a judge’s review, provided that the tenant, for example, denounces his situation to the hygiene service or the tax authorities. Somehow an illegal eviction disguised as a legal eviction…

In addition, occupants have frequently been scammed by bogus landlords, who take advantage of the housing crisis and the high number of vacant units. They are therefore acting in good faith.

By extension, an “occasional residence” could also be bare land, business premises or vacant offices used “occasionally” to sleep there for a night or two …

Such a measure would therefore open the way not only to the expeditious eviction of untitled occupants who, out of necessity, occupy vacant space, housing, premises, offices or land, but also to swindling bona fide tenant families as well as undeclared tenants.

Finally, this amendment would apply retroactively to persons who have been in residence for several months – or years if the landlord has not been diligent.

This amendment comes in the context of a worsening housing crisis and the deterioration of the housing conditions of the “first of drudgery”. Every year, sad records are broken: number of vacant homes, eviction judgments, homeless people, unsatisfied HLM requests, priority DALOs not re-housed …

Where it would be necessary to apply the requisition law, to implement a national strategy to mobilize vacant housing, it is chosen under the pressure of populist media and a few high profile cases, to put people in very precarious housing on the streets.

They have not been spared since July 11, the end of the winter truce of evictions. The untitled occupants of vacant premises and land are evicted by the thousands and left mostly on the sidewalk, at best after a few nights’ accommodation.

From a moral point of view, this measure severely burdens the homeless who do not resign themselves to dying prematurely on the sidewalks. Every year several hundred homeless people die as a result of their miserable living conditions and the violation of their primary right to stable housing until they are re-housed, at an average age of 49. On average, the street kills after 15 years.

If this brutal provision, which we discovered on Tuesday afternoon, is adopted in the assembly’s legislative committee, we will have to mobilize, because the emergency is there.

In fact, there will only be one debate left in the assembly from September 27 and a final adoption in the Joint Committee to change the course of things.

Unavowed intention or error of appreciation on the part of the Government? The words “occasional residence” should be deleted and a housing policy should be pursued to provide housing rather than to repress it.

[1] The term “occasional residence” was introduced by INSEE in the 1990s to designate housing occupied intermittently by their owners for professional reasons (e.g., members of parliament, on foot …). But an INSEE standard is not the law. The introduction of this standard in the census had the effect of temporarily reducing the number of vacant dwellings …


AMENDMENT N°695 presented by Mr. Kasbarian, rapporteur → amendement

ADDITIONAL ARTICLE

AFTER ARTICLE 30 AIS, insert the following article:

Article 38 of Law No. 2007-290 of March 5, 2007 establishing the enforceable right to housing and various measures in favor of social cohesion is thus amended:

1° The first paragraph is amended as follows

After the word: “others” are inserted the words: “including in the case of a secondary or occasional residence”;

(2) After the first paragraph, a new paragraph is inserted, worded as follows:

2° After the first paragraph, a paragraph is inserted after the first paragraph as follows: “The decision to issue a formal notice shall be taken by the Prefect within 48 hours of receipt of the request. In the event of refusal, the reasons for the decision shall be communicated to the applicant without delay. »

(3) The last paragraph is amended as follows

After the word “proceed”, the words “without delay” are inserted;

SUMMARY STATEMENT

The present amendment aims at guaranteeing the correct application of article 38 of the law n° 2007-290 of March 5, 2007 establishing the opposable right to housing. It thus appears necessary to improve the effectiveness of the administrative procedure for the eviction of persons unlawfully occupying occupied or temporarily unoccupied housing, such as second homes.

Firstly, in order to clarify the scope of application of article 38 and to put an end to the interpretative ambiguities relating to the notion of “domicile”, the present amendment specifies that domicile corresponds to both principal and secondary or occasional residences, with the aim of making the eviction procedure fully applicable to persons unlawfully occupying these residences.

Secondly, it introduces a 48-hour time limit for the investigation of requests for formal notice from occupants presented to the prefect on the basis of the first paragraph of article 38. In the event of refusal to act on the requests of owners or tenants aggrieved by the squatting of their housing, the administrative services will have to inform them without delay of the reasons for the refusal decision.

Thirdly, with the same objective of procedural celerity, this amendment specifies that the prefect seized of a request for forced evacuation of the premises will have to intervene “without delay”, which will make it possible to concretely reinforce the operational character of the device.

This development will facilitate the protection of property rights, by simplifying and accelerating the already existing provisions in order to effectively fight against housing squats, whether it is a primary, secondary or occasional residence.



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