AN ANNUAL ban on evictions in France has come into force and now lasts until April 1.
The trêve hivernale (winter truce) began on November 1 and is a period during which landlords, even with a court order, have no right to evict tenants.
It is meant as a humanitarian measure, to ensure that people do not end up homeless in the coldest part of the year. The measure does not apply to squatters.
During the trêve, it is also illegal to cut off gas and electricity supplies in the event of unpaid bills.
Every year in France, between 110,00 and 115,000 eviction proceedings begin when the trêve ends.
The end date was previously set at March 15 but was extended by the recent Loi Alur housing law.
Figures released earlier this year showed the number of evictions for rent arrears in France has risen 37% and the number of calls to police to help removing tenants has doubled in 10 years.
A landlord can begin proceedings during the winter truce 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.
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.