Concerns over the return of rental evictions
Are we going to witness the massive return of rental evictions? The winter truce, which protects tenants from evictions and people staying from homelessness, will end on May 31, as confirmed on April 28 Emmanuelle Wargon, Minister Delegate in charge of housing, and Marlène Schiappa, in charge of citizenship.
While usually the truce lasts from 1er November to March 31, in 2020, due to the health crisis, it was first postponed from 1er April to July 10, 2020. Then the government asked the prefects not to grant the assistance of the police force, necessary for the eviction, or to put people in the streets only if they could guarantee rehousing or, otherwise, accommodation. These two measures have borne fruit since, in 2020, less than 3,500 people were evicted, a historically low figure, against 16,700 in 2019. Nearly 40,000 accommodation places were also opened, bringing to 200,000 the number of places that can accommodate homeless people.
But this year ? On the government side, “We are continuing the instruction given last year: no eviction without rehousing or accommodation, and we are not going to massively close the 200,000 open places”, we assure the cabinet of Emmanuelle Wargon. The ministry also recalls having planned a budget of 30 million euros additional to supplement the envelope dedicated to the aid for unpaid rents, and 20 million for the compensation fund to owners injured by decisions not to grant the assistance of the public force.
“We must salute the efforts made, but we still have major concerns for the future”, reacts Christophe Robert, general delegate of the Abbé-Pierre Foundation. “Both on accommodation and on rental evictions, the stakes are even higher than last year and several hundred million euros are missing for the State to have the means for its ambitions”, details Florent Guéguen, director of the Federation of Solidarity Actors.
On accommodation, “For the most part, the 40,000 places opened were in hotels, and with the resumption of tourist activity, there is a strong risk of capacity loss, especially in large metropolises, which should be prevent by opening long-term sites ”, he continues, adding that “The instruction not to hand over to the street had not been followed perfectly everywhere”, for example in Seine-Saint-Denis.
As for rental evictions, “There were few in 2020 but that does not mean that there was no dispute, he continues. It is estimated that there are today around 30,000 people at the end of the procedure and therefore on the verge of being deported, i.e. double compared to usual, and that is without counting the people made vulnerable by crisis “. The associations fear that the prefects will not be in a position to relocate everyone, the HLM allocations having fallen by 20% in 2020, or to accommodate due to the saturation of the park. They also doubt that the owners’ compensation fund, which reached 78 million euros in 2005, is sufficient to compensate them all, and therefore prevent all evictions. In short, concludes Christophe Robert, “The health situation is still very tense and access to housing very limited, the question of an extension of the truce of evictions beyond May 31 is raised very seriously”.