A MAN who rented a 1.56 m2 flat in Paris for €300 a month for 15 years is suing his former landlord for €25,000.
Known as Dominique, his case came to light at the beginning of this year after it was discovered by the homelessness charity the Abbé-Pierre foundation.
With the help of the foundation he is suing the former landlord for the last three years of rent, plus interest and damages.
“€300 for 1.56 m2 is around €200 per metre, ten times higher than the Paris average, and well over the rents paid on the Champs-Elysées,” said the man’s lawyer Aurélie Geoffroy.
Dominique, who has since been housed in a 40 m2 flat for roughly the same cost, was ordered to leave his apartment after a prefectoral decree said it was not habitable.
For the defence, Olivier Douek said that the 1.56 m2 figure only related to habitable space as defined by the “loi Carrez”, which requires a certain minimum height, and was due to the fact that the room had a sloping ceiling. The actual living space measured 4m2.
He provided evidence from a former neighbour that Dominique had not lived in the property since January 2010 and had been sub-letting it.
Mr Douek added that no mention had been made of the housing benefits claimed by Dominique either in reference to the time he spent in the flat, or in the compensation claim.
He said that the landlord was handicapped and had been under guardianship of her daughter since last autumn and that the letting agency Riberoux should be the ones to pay if any fine was ordered.
Riberoux were “not only the administrators of the flat, the caretakers, but also the managers of the whole property, so they knew this building,” he added.
Acting on behalf of Riberoux, Céline Lavernaux said that the action was legally out of date as the five year contract was signed in February 2008 and the case had only been brought in June 2013.
She added that Riberoux would not intervene in private letting matters such as changing a rental agreement, or checking the insurance of the letter.
A decision is due on December 17.
Man lived 15 years in 1.56sq.m