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Winter eviction truce ends today

Presidential candidate Hollande claims his policies would stop this date coming like a “guillotine blade” for families

PRESIDENTIAL candidate François Hollande has claimed his housing policies would mean today – the end of the “winter truce” for evictions – would no longer come as “like a guillotine blade”.

Hollande’s spokesman Bruno Le Roux made the claim in a piece in left-wing newspaper Libération.

He said while for many people this time of year is a welcome return of good weather, for “a minority which keeps growing year on year” it comes as a “threat”.

That is because it is the end of la trève hivernale (winter truce), during which landlords, even with a court order, have no right to evict tenants.

It lasts each year from November 1 to March 15 and is meant as a humanitarian measure, to ensure that people do not end up homeless in the coldest part of the year.

He said the problem was increasing because “everything’s going up, life is more and more expensive”, and that “we must fight against the indignity of being thrown out”.

Hollande’s solutions include building 2.5 million homes of all kinds, Le Roux said, with a “law of thirds” – one third social housing at modest rents, a third subsidised homes for purchase and a third ordinary market rate ones.

Hollande would also increase five-fold fines against mayors not complying with current rules on building social housing in their areas, he said. Doubling the ceiling of the tax-free Livret A, from €15,300 to €60,600 would also help people save to buy, he believes.

Landlords have the right to seek to evict tenants who do not pay the rent, or who refuse to leave after being given the contractual notice period. However, this requires a court order from a judge at the local tribunal d’instance, which can be appealed, suspending its effect.

Once a final judgment is made then the landlord has to give the eviction order via a bailiff, and then the tenant has at least two months to leave (depending on the judgment) – though it cannot take place during the winter truce.

In some cases landlords have to seek to enforce this by the police – which may be refused if the prefect believes it will disturb the peace. In the latter case, after a two-month period, the landlord is entitled to compensation from the state for losses being incurred.

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