A landowner in France left with € 40,000 in costs after the eviction of squatters

A Nantes owner faces costs estimated between 40,000 and 50,000 € to clean up a site occupied by several families of squatters for more than 12 months.

The land, which sits under the town’s Cheviré Bridge, is owned by the timber trading company Dispano. The firm says it will now have to pay to install security devices on the site to deter squatters from returning.

Itinerant families who squatted the land left on August 5, leaving behind destroyed vehicles, including cars and trailers, piles of garbage and pollution that will require specialist cleanups.

Dispano has been waiting since the start of large-scale cleaning operations.

A representative of the Nantes town hall said West France: “Legally, they have to wait two months, until October 5, before the abandoned items can be considered as rubbish.”

On October 6, representatives of Dispano, the town hall and the police will visit the site to prepare a clean-up plan.

The town hall specifies: “The removal of vehicles does not pose a problem, but a thorough cleaning of the site (treatment of garbage, pollution, etc.) obliges the owners to call on specialized public services.

Owners may also choose to keep vehicles on site for now to deter other squatters from using the land, before security measures are put in place, on advice from local police.

The site is one of many left in disrepair by the city’s squatters.

On 5,000 m2 of land located in the immediate vicinity of the impasse de l’Estuaire in Saint-Herblain, the owners recently paid € 40,000 in catering costs following the eviction of squatters.

One-third of the money was spent on removing destroyed cars and two-thirds on cleaning and installing safety devices.

And in the town of Saint-Luce-sur-Loire, north-west of Nantes, the owners of the site paid € 50,000 at the start of the year to remove destroyed cars, hire dumpsters to remove garbage and clean up the area. area after it has been cleared. .

In both cases, the costs were paid by the site owners, without financial support from the local authorities.

What are the laws on squatting in France?

Squatter eviction laws have recently changed in France as the government works to make it easier to evict squatters from your property.

The goal is to allow landowners to evict illegal squatters faster – within around 72 hours – compared to months it could take previously.

It’s called the accelerated forced evacuation procedure.

The new rules also mean that second homes are now treated the same as primary residences. Previously, the law only allowed the eviction process to be speeded up if the property in question was the owner’s main residence.

What if my property is squatted and I want to evict it?

To initiate the eviction procedure, you must file a complaint with the local police or gendarmerie as soon as possible, who will then bring the matter to the local prefect.

You will need to show proof – usually the proof of sale (called theauthentic deed of sale Where final deed of sale) – that the squatted property belongs to you and that the squatters are there illegally.

If you cannot prove your ownership, the property is your primary or secondary residence, and squatting is illegal, then your eviction request may be denied.

Owners are encouraged to make copies of their final deed of sale (by scanning it or taking good quality photos) and storing them digitally or on paper separate from the house, as the documents are otherwise usually kept on the property, and would be inaccessible in the case of squatters.

How long can it take to evict?

After contacting the police or the gendarmerie, and presenting proof of ownership, the authorities have 48 hours to make a decision. They must also justify a valid reason for their decision, especially if they refuse.

If the authorities refuse to evict the squatters immediately, the police are still required to give the squatters 24 hours’ notice asking them to leave, regardless of how long they have lived there.

It’s called the formal notice to leave the premises.

If the squatters refuse, then the authorities have the power to evict the illegal occupants by force “without delay”.

Even so, the authorities can still consider the situation of the squatters before deporting them. For example, if they are vulnerable (such as a mother with a young child or a frail elderly person), there may be a delay in evicting them while suitable alternative accommodation is found.

Authorities can even take children’s educational conditions into account before deporting.

For those in hiding from the police, however, deportation can be immediate. The new laws also mean that squatters can still be evicted even during the winter when the usual truce on normal evictions known as the the winter break is otherwise in place.

What if the new process doesn’t work?

If the prefect refuses to evict immediately, then the owners will have to use the “old” channels, which can be expensive and take months.

They are identical to the procedure for dismissing tenants who refuse to pay their rent or to leave at the end of the contract.

Read more: Why requests for the eviction of squatters in France are often refused

The process involves obtaining a French bailiff, known as a bailiff, declare the property occupied, apply to a local court for a ruling against the squatters, then instruct the bailiff to enforce the court order.

This can take “a year and a half and cost around € 3,000 in legal fees, to which are added around € 1,000 more for the bailiff”, previously explained Maître Rossi-Landi, lawyer specializing in real estate law. . The connection.

Owners, however, must go through legal channels and not try to evict the squatters themselves, as they risk a fine of € 30,000 and up to three years in prison if they attempt to do so.

What has been the effect of the new law in France so far?

Government figures show that of the 124 squatted properties reported to authorities, around three-quarters were recovered within 72 hours using the new law, the French property reported. specialized site French-Property.com.

Where in France are properties most likely to be squatted?

Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, PACA and Occitanie.

Of the 124 cases reported above:

  • 52 were in Ile-de-France
  • 17 were in Hauts-de-France
  • 16 were in Paca
  • And 13 were in Occitania.

These four regions accounted for 79% of reported squat cases.

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Read more: Ensuring the safety of second homes in France after Brexit

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