Owners of unsanitary accommodation ordered to pay 32,000 euros for hotels for their tenants

Although many slumlords make big profits by renting out unsanitary accommodation, the practice can be expensive if you get caught in the courts. Especially since the National Assembly recently passed a bill to tighten the sanctions against this type of practice. In this case, reported by Actu.fr, the Administrative Court of Appeal upheld the obligation of the owners of unsanitary apartments located in Savigny-sur-Orge to pay a bill of almost 33,000 euros for the costs of moving their tenants. An SCI (real estate company) owned by six members of the same family rented an apartment for €700 a month between January 2010 and June 2015. However, following two visits by the Regional Health Agency (ARS) to Île-de-France in February 2014, the report concluded that the accommodation in question was “unfit for living and unsanitary”. This resulted in a prefectural decree dated February 28, 2014, which ordered the owner of the site “to ensure the resettlement of its inhabitants” to two months.

The family, who lived in an unsanitary apartment, was eventually moved to a hotel between August 2015 and July 2016, racking up a bill of more than 32,000 euros, as Actu.fr recalls. The court rejected three arguments of the owners. The first related to the fact that the tenants had not paid their rent since they had received a payment order in June 2014, which usually leads to the termination of the tenancy in the event of non-payment after two months. However, in this particular case, this notice was unnecessary because the prefect had previously stated that the accommodation was not decent and the owner should therefore arrange to move,“without the fact that the tenant was not informed about the payment of her rent”specifies the decision.

No limits

As for the second reason for the owners’ protest, it concerned the amount of compensation, almost 2,700 euros per month, much more than the 700 euros of rent. The court replies that this does not follow from any provision “that the amount of compensation payable to the state when the prefect replaces a defaulting owner in order to secure the resettlement of the inhabitants was limited to the amount of the contractually agreed rent”. The same refusal for the fact that the lease was signed for only one person and that two adults and two children ended up staying in the premises. The judges specify that it does not establish anything “The obligation to relocate residents is limited to the benefit of the signatory of the lease agreement” and that, in addition, the owners do not demonstrate this condition.

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