Rental evictions are exploding in France

Rental evictions are exploding in France

You have received a command to pay. This is the start of the eviction procedure. Do you know how it goes? “No, no,” replies Samba (first name changed), body tense and arms crossed. “You want me to tell you? » asks Marylène Da Silva. Samba doesn't respond. “You have two months to repay your unpaid rent. Otherwise, your social landlord will summon you before a judge. I assure you, it will be a long time away. A gentleman I saw yesterday received his assignment for March 2025.” Samba knew nothing about it. As he received the mail, only one thought came to him: “I saw myself outside. » Those threatened with rental eviction are the daily life of the social worker. The Association for Social Integration through Housing, which employs him in Massy (Essonne), is booming. “We have recruited four people since 2022,” says Marylène. There is no shortage of work.

Inexorable growth

Rental evictions are exploding in France. The police evicted 21,500 households in 2023. A level not seen since the Abbé-Pierre Foundation has been collecting these figures. And an increase of 23% compared to 2022, already a record year. In 2001, their number stood at 6,337. Since then, it has grown almost inexorably. Around 10,000 from 2005 to 2015, it increased to 15,000. Then 16,000.

Then 17,000… “A fairly incredible progression,” says Marie Rothhahn, responsible for the fight against deprivation of social rights at the Abbé-Pierre Foundation. Catching up on eviction delays due to the pandemic – down in 2020 (8,100) and 2021 (12,000) – does not explain everything, according to her. Familiar with the subject, she lists the root causes. Construction of social housing has never been lower. That of the private sector is collapsing. Rents are rising with the scarcity of housing. Costs have been rising since the war in Ukraine and because of inflation. The boom in tourist rentals over the past ten years has deprived the housing market. And the Family Allowance Fund (CAF) is dysfunctional. “This administration, the most important for those at risk, delivers housing assistance and social minimums,” specifies Marie Rothhahn. The CAF controls more and cuts more and more aid, sometimes abusively, she believes. Challenging them turns into torture; the cash register is almost no longer reachable by telephone.

The gear of credits

And the “profiteers” who deliberately do not pay the rent? “Studies point to marginal situations. It's no fun having rental debt. It doesn't disappear. If you work, you are exposed to wage garnishment. » Life accidents, above all, weaken tenants. Unemployment. Disease. Depression. Divorce. Death of spouse. Samba says he was a delivery driver. That he earned 3,000 euros per month. But his truck was stolen. He hadn't assured it.

The lack of budgetary education also plays a role. By going through Samba's invoices, Marylène sees that he has subscribed to a more expensive internet box. A salesman told him that the phones bought for his children would be cheaper if he bought the box. “Oh. You've been fooled. A salesperson sold you a dream. » Samba has fallen into the trap of consumer credit. Marylène prepares a case of over-indebtedness for the Bank of France for him. This will establish a repayment plan and temporarily freeze debts if the file is admissible. “So you will no longer be harassed by your creditors,” explains Marylène. Samba is just waiting for that: “They call me all the time, leave messages, even on Sundays. It stresses me. » Samba has five children, three of whom are in Mali. He sends them money. “Otherwise they can’t eat,” he swears. He has a full-time permanent contract and a part-time one, as a security guard. He works 63 hours a week. “At 57, are you going to hold on? » Marylène worries. “It’s okay, I always have one day off a week,” he puts things into perspective. The portrait of an exhausted man, with a family to support, who has lost his financial lucidity emerges.

For Marylène, “the profiles of vulnerable tenants are a clever mix of everything. Some experience injustice: residence permit not renewed, health operation… Others do not want a food job or believe in easy money. I hear from young people who want to “start a business” but never do market research…” Pessimistic, the Abbé-Pierre Foundation fears, for its part, that the “anti-squat” law, passed last year, increased evictions. It reduces the time for negotiating an amicable solution after receipt of the order to pay, from two months to six weeks. Marie Rothhahn is worried: “If nothing changes, 27,000 households will be evicted in two years.”

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