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Non Paying Locataire


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We have discovered  yesterday that a tenant is unable to pay the rent for the month of august and for the immediate future.

We contacted the estate agents who let the property for us, and essentially they have said it is not their problem despite paying them for their services. They said that the lease is a bailiff lease and to apply to the bailiff to have the tenants evicted. Having visited a local solicitor it would appear that our  options are as follows.


1. Take legal action.


2. Take a different approach.


Legal approach.

Find a bailiff, pay over €4,000 and commence proceedings. At the time of the court case the judge generally allows the tenant a grace period of an additional 6 months, thus we would be without rent for over a year at this stage. To add insult to injury we as the owners have to then inform the non paying tenant of his rights, ie he is then entitled to ask the judge for extra time in the house. generally the time frame allowed is another 2 months. During that time the tenant can ask the judge to postpone the eviction order for between 3 months to 3 years. generally the judge will grant such a request if the family (2 children, man and women not married to each other) have no place to go, children have to be taken out of school etc.


After then possibly after several years paying legal fees and getting no rent but having to pay tax fonciers and bin tax we finally reach the stage of getting the baliff to evict the tenant, it can not be done during winter, ie 1st November to 15th March. Before the bailiff will act he will require the local prefect to sign the eviction order, and apparently this will never happen if children are involved.


Naturally if we are unable to get the tenant out, we do have the right to apply to the administrative courts to ask for damages. More money to the solicitors, as we can not see how we can obtain monetary damages from someone with no assets and no income and an inability to pay rent.


Different approach.


1. Remove the shutters from the house, as the house is located in a small Lotissement and hopefully this may shame the tenants into leaving.

2. Another person has advocated removing the windows by entering the house and taking them away. Not quite sure about that.

3. Stand outside the house with various signs explaning to all and sundry that we can not get paid.

4. Visit the house several times during the day and night asking for payment.

5. Follow the tenants on the school run and ask for our rent in front of other parents.

6. Follow the wife to her place of work and ask her for our rent.

7. Enter the house, remove all of their goods and put them outside the premises and change the locks.


The above represents suggestions from other people.


Has anyone got any experience and advice for us.

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There was a super thread about this very problem earlier in the year and unfortunately it was 'temporarily deleted' whilst admin looked at it ( any news on that yet?)

here is a little bit of an update http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/964299/ShowPost.aspx

Rightly or wrongly, the law appears to be on the side of the tenant and I think you stand to be out of pocket no matter what you do, it's now just a question of degrees.

Why can he not pay and is he not entitled to financial assistance from the state to ensure a roof over his head ? In other words what is he doing to put right this state of affairs ?

Personally, I would change give them a dead line to pay up and then every option to leave ( sooner rather than later before the debt builds up and accept the loss of that money) , if they started playing silly buggers, I would  go for option 7 .

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Be careful about harrassing your tenants, that is taken very seriously in France and they can have you before the Gendarmes for this. I sympathise with your problem very much(we get clients like this in the building trade who don't pay up and its very annoying when money is owed and we are going without) but unfortunately tenants here have so many rights. How about applying to have the water and electricity cut off by informing the utilities in writing that the tenants do not pay the rent?
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The water and electricity is in the name of the tenants, we have rented out a new house unfurnished. We have talked with one of our french neighbours, he has told us that when the Local Town has a problem with non paying tentants, generally several bodies arrive and the tenant leaves. he is going to ask a friend of his that works for and advocat about constantly demanding and bothering the tenants.


Thank you for responding and giving us your thoughts.

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Taking anybody to Court in France is a mugs game. Even if you are in the right, and win, the Court can do nothing about making people pay up it seems.

We were done out of 100.000 francs by a swimming pool firm. We took them to Court, twice, won our case, twice, and the guy just declared himself bankrupt, moved to Paris and started a new business. We are still waiting for the money owed, 15 years on.

Name & shame, would be my tactic.

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