Landlord arrested for paying man to scare non-paying tenants in Nice

Tenants had changed locks to stop the landlord from entering the home. He is now banned from going near the property

The property is located along Nice’s famous beachfront
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A landlord in Nice was arrested after paying a person €100 to ‘scare’ his tenants after a row over rent payments.

Richard Stornello – alleged to be in financial difficulties – rented out a 60m² flat on the Promenade des Anglais, the coastal road along Nice’s beachfront, for €2,000 per month in February 2024.

Mr Stornello asked to be paid the amount in cash, and it is unsure whether any official rental agreement was signed.

The tenants however did not pay any of the rent demanded, and subsequently changed the locks to the property after moving in.

The frustrated landlord then paid somebody €100 to scare the tenants, including a threat to rape the wife of the main tenant.

The tenants called the police, who arrested Mr Stornello and kept him in custody for two days before releasing him.

Read more: Couple who wrecked French chateau after pretending to be buyers jailed

Ban from going near his property

He has now been placed under judicial supervision, and is no longer allowed to go near his property nor speak to the tenants.

“The police came and told me 'this man is at home, you are the owner, you are not at home, you are at his place'” said Mr Stornello.

Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi said last week he would look into the situation, after the landlord reached out to the mayor’s office for help.

"Is it normal that, when someone comes to squat in someone's house, the mayor can't immediately evict them himself?” he said during an interview with French media outlet BFMTV.

The coastal city has had issues with squatters in recent months, and last year more than a dozen squatters were evicted from an abandoned property on Avenue Jean Lorrain – one of the most expensive streets in France outside of Paris.

Read more: France’s nicest squat? Illegal home with sea view closed down in Nice

The mayor is a vocal supporter of stricter rules regarding squatters.

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