Man lived 15 years in 1.56sq.m

Homeless charity calls it “worst example of abuse” as tenant charged €330 for room less than the size of a single bed

17 January 2013

WORKERS from a homeless charity have found a man living in a flat in Paris that is less than the size of a single bed - just 1.56 square metres.

The 50-year-old, named Dominique, had been living in the “flat” for 15 years and was paying €330 a month in rent.

Samuel Mouchard of charity la Fondation Abbé Pierre said it was the worst example of abuse he had ever seen, but told RTL : “Everything rents, and everything rents very expensively.”

The tiny flat was under the eaves of the property and there was only room for a tiny mattress, a sink and a single cooking hotplate.

Dominique, a casual worker, said: “I return home and I sleep. With the slope there’s only 20cm where you can stand up. You cannot live like that, you just survive. But at the end of the day, you say it’s that or the street.”

A fellow tenant persuaded him to approach Fondation Abbé Pierre who said the flat was illegal. The prefect ordered that it be shut.

In the meantime, Dominique is awaiting a court judgment later this month to oblige his landlord to rehouse him in a flat “adapted to his needs”.

He told RTL that “a studio would be heaven”.

Legally, the minimum size of a flat for rent is 9sq.m for the main living area, with a minimum 2.2m under the ceiling. The total volume must be more than 20 cubic metres. Smaller flats can be rented as holiday rentals or second homes – but local housing regulations apply; in Paris, that is a minimum 7sq.m of floor space.

Landlords who rent such tiny flats face paying a tax that is based on the rent charged per square metre, and taxes anything over €40 per square metre.

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