A French couple’s clever way to get squatters out in just two days
A couple whose newly bought French house was occupied by squatters found a clever way to get them out in just two days – causing such a huge buzz on social media that two ministers intervened.
But now the media buzz has turned more to whether the couple knew the squatters were there before they bought and managed to negotiate a significant drop in price as a result, then kicked off the social media coverage with the aim of getting the family out quickly and making a profit. .
Their squatting story was widely relayed on Twitter and covered by several French media outlets who insisted it was the first house they had ever bought.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Ecological Transition Minister Amélie de Montchalin then took to Twitter themselves to ask the local prefect (prefect) to solve the problem.
Mr. Darmanin asked the prefect to order an eviction notice by invoking article 38 of the DALO law after the couple had fulfilled all the legal conditions for an eviction procedure on the Ollainville property in the department of Essonne (Ile-de-France).
This situation is unacceptable.
With @AdeMontchalinwe immediately ask the @ Prefect91 to initiate the procedure of article 38 of the DALO law for a rapid evacuation of illegal occupants. https://t.co/kDereCdug9
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) June 9, 2022
The Parisian – the first French outlet to report the story – and other outlets have now raised questions about whether the couple knew the squatters were in place before buying – and negotiated a much lower price as a result.
The house was bought for €140,000, significantly less than other similar houses in the area according to a real estate agent contacted by France Inter.
The couple said they did not know of any squatters living in the house during the three visits they made in September 2021. They said they saw a mattress on the floor and concluded that someone could have slept there one night , Le Parisien said in a press release following complaints from readers of fake news.
Read more: The success of France’s new squatter law is the ‘postal code lottery’
Journalists from The Parisian said some contradictions in the couple’s statements have now convinced them that the couple knew about the squatters before buying.
Le Parisien was the first media to report on the affair; Credit: Le Parisien
What is the DALO law?
The Dalo Law was signed into law on March 6, 2007, and it was the law the couple used to get rid of their house in just two days, a process that can often take much longer.
“The Dalo law introduces the possibility of faster eviction when the accommodation is someone’s main residence,” said a spokeswoman for the Essonne Departmental Housing Information Agency (ADIL). , adding Article 38 aims to protect owners.
Read more: Woman rents French second home for a few weeks, tenant refuses to go
The owner must file a complaint with the police, produce legal documents to prove ownership of the house and ask the police to witness the illegal occupation. An expulsion order can then be served by a prefect.
For the couple in this high-profile case, the criteria were met in two days (June 3 and June 4), reports the Essonne prefecture.
Amendment of the law in 2020
The DALO law introduced an amendment on December 7, 2020 which added that the only possibility for a prefect to refuse an eviction order is if it would go against “the general interest”.
The amendment does not specify how the term can be understood but it could suggest that it was added to offer a backdoor solution to the prefect but which is – in reality – almost impossible to lift.
Camille Giraudet, policy manager at the Confédération Syndicale des Familles union, said eviction orders can often be politically motivated, given the profile of the couple of first-time homeowners hit with double payments – one for the mortgage on the new house and one to rent another property because of the squatters.
“If this couple negotiated a discount on the price, it means they were aware something was wrong,” Ms Giraudet said, adding she was not surprised as some estate agents run full businesses. based on the purchase of properties occupied by squatters.
She said the government’s involvement in this particular case had put pressure on the prefect to act quickly.
The restrictive amendment was added after several owners of second homes complained of “squatters” in highly covered cases, Ms Giraudet said.
Ms. Giraudet said she could not answer the question of whether the amendment distorted the original meaning of the DALO law, which was supposed to protect tenants.
“I just wish the evicted family were offered social housing,” she added, saying that was too often not the case.
There are two different procedures in place to recover property that has been taken over by squatters in France. One is through litigation, which means it has to go through the courts.
It can take a very long time if the squatter(s) has a case for staying on the property, such as lack of alternative housing or other evidence that they shouldn’t leave.
The second procedure is administrative.
A new procedure, launched on February 1, now allows bailiffs to guide owners who are victims of squatting throughout the process of recovering their property by administrative means.
The bailiffs can offer free advice to the owners, but their assistance in the procedures will be invoiced approximately 200 to 300 €, to be specified according to the case.
This is usually a much more efficient way of dealing with squatters, with the situation usually being resolved within 72 hours. However, it took longer than that in 40% of cases in 2021, reports Le Figaro.
You can find a bailiff near you on this site.