With the crisis and the confinement, more and more tenants are finding it difficult to pay their rent. Charlie Cailloux, legal advisor for the PAP.fr real estate website, gives us some advice to follow.
franceinfo: What can we advise tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent?
Charlie Cailloux: There are two things to do: warn the lessor as soon as possible, and not face it with a fait accompli. Obviously, he will be more inclined to find an amicable solution if you put your cards on the table and tell him the reasons for your temporary difficulties (we know that establishments are closed, that activity is slowing down).
And the second thing is to seek help, and you can find it from the departmental housing information agencies (the Adils) who can guide you on the financial aid available. There is a telephone number dedicated to tenants in difficulty, it is 0 805 160 075.
You were talking about financial aid … What are these aids?
There are the usual aids for tenants in difficulty, and then those which have been introduced to deal with the consequences of the health crisis: this is the case of the check for 150 euros per month given by Housing Action to employees in difficulty, and for which the Minister of Housing, Emmanuelle Wargon, announced that it would be extended to 6 months. These aids can be found at the housing solidarity fund (FSL), with Action Logement, with local communities.
Obviously, these aids are subject to conditions of resources, loss of income, they can vary from one department to another, and it is best to contact an advisor. I mentioned the Adils, but we can also address the communal social action center (the CCAS) with its town hall, which will be able to take stock with you of the aid to which you can claim.
We entered the winter break three weeks ago, so there is no risk of immediate expulsion?
Not at all, no forced eviction during the winter break between November 1 and March 31! But I would say, anyway, that the eviction with the help of the public force does not immediately concern tenants who are currently having difficulties linked to the health crisis. This is the last stage of the unpaid rent procedure, it only occurs after long months of proceedings when no other solution has been found.
And on the landlord’s side, how should we react to a tenant who in good faith cannot pay his rent?
We must remember that a legal procedure is long and expensive, and that we have a real interest in negotiating with the tenant to find an amicable solution. Obviously, I know that the amicable solution (rescheduling, waiver) is not always possible: not all donors can wipe the slate (for many, this rent is their retirement, they need it to live; for others, there is a loan to repay).
If no amicable solution is possible, the tenant must be given formal notice to pay, then an order to pay by bailiff and finally seize the court.