Senate removes jail term for evicted tenants

Senate removes jail term for evicted tenants

“There are still many questionable things in this text, but the senators have removed the most odious: the six-month prison sentence against evicted tenants”, greets the president of the Federation of Solidarity Actors, Pascal Brice. The Senate adopted by 252 votes for and 91 votes against, Thursday evening February 2, the bill of the deputies Renaissance Guillaume Kasbarian and Aurore Bergé adopted on December 2, 2022 in the Assembly, but it has previously made substantial modifications to it. “He softened the text a lot for tenants, and he toughened it against squatters”summarizes the secretary general of the Syndicate of the judiciary, Thibaut Spriet.

The Senate did not remove the criminal sanctions created by the deputies against tenants refusing to leave their accommodation after an eviction procedure. But if he kept the 7,500 euros fine, he finally waived the six months in prison, denounced by several associations such as “the return of prison for debts”suppressed in the 19the century.

The senators followed the favorable opinion of the government and the law commission to remove this penalty “perceived as a stigma”, in the words of the rapporteur of the text, the deputy Les Républicains du Bas-Rhin, André Reichardt. Pascal Brice sees it “a republican and humanist leap from the Senate and Elisabeth Borne” ; Thibaut Spriet nevertheless points to a “criminalization of the tenant, while no offense is created against a landlord who does not fulfill his obligations to provide decent housing”.

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“A republican and humanist leap”

Other highly criticized points voted by the Assembly have been reviewed. The judge could continue to grant time limits for payment and then for keeping the premises even if the tenant has not paid the last installment of rent (which is very common) and if he does not request it – this point was considered crucial insofar as 60% of tenants do not show up at the hearing. The period between the order to pay and the summons to court has been extended to six weeks – the deputies had shortened it to one month, instead of the current two. The senators, on the other hand, followed the senators on the division by three of the other deadlines of the procedure.

So that a social diagnosis of the tenant can nevertheless be carried out before the hearing, the senators have made it compulsory further upstream, which the associations consider inappropriate and unfeasible for the already overwhelmed social services. Finally, the role of coordination committees for the prevention of tenant evictions has been strengthened, “to the detriment of the judge and with the risk of deciding too soon whether a tenant is in good or bad faith”critic Thibaut Spriet.

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