Why it matters. The National Assembly is examining what the “anti-squatter” law wants to change

Examination of a text eagerly awaited by property owners arrives before MPs on Tuesday: an anti-crouch bill that “tends to guarantee respect for property”.

Why it matters. There is a lot at stake: To prevent the owners of a second, rental or even main residence from being expropriated by squatters.

The owners were quickly robbed in the face of the squat

Until recently, the law made a distinction between “primary residence” and “secondary residence” in squat matters. In the first case it happened very quickly – from three days to a few weeks anyway: the owners had to lodge a complaint, prove that it was their accommodation, and the prefect ordered the evacuation of the squatters in a few days if necessary. with the help of public power.

In the case of a second home – or an empty rental or an occasional occupancy – so that the process is also “fast”, you have to react very quickly: within the first 48 hours. Beyond this very short period, it was necessary to go through a long and expensive legal process, at least two years. With a virtual impossibility to drive out during the winter break.

A first step forward last autumn

This fall, an amendment was made to the Dalo Law (refusal to housing) to bring second homes to the same level as the main residence.

Once the squat has been discovered and the facts have been reported to the police, the property owner or his beneficiaries can refer the matter to the prefect, who has 48 hours to respond before notifying the occupiers of departure. puts. And if necessary, involve the police.

Exceptions remain

However, this proceeding does not affect the illegal occupation of bare land, sheds or destroyed buildings, which are always the subject of legal proceedings.

Cases of this type have multiplied in 2020, as in November in Bondy, in Nièvre or, especially this summer, in Théoule-sur-Mer.

Very important: It is important not to try to take justice into your own hands as the squatters can turn against the owner of the property. What then risks three years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros, a heavier sentence than that of the squatters!

Heavier penalties

This is also one of the points on which the bill is to develop further: From one year in prison and a 15,000 euro fine, the penalty for the squatters is to be increased to three years in prison and 30,000 euros. A penalty equivalent to the “Home Invasion” penalty.

Another important point is foreseen: by creating a specific offense of fraudulent occupation of a building, the anti-squat rules apply to all real estate, not just residence. The text refers to “a building” defined as “property owned by a third party against the will of its owner or the person who has a title to inhabit it”.

For example, offices could be affected.

Finally, the bill provides for the annulment of the two-month period granted to the occupier to vacate the premises and compliance with the winter armistice.

The amendment to the Dalo Law passed in autumn would also be incorporated into this law if passed.

What better way to protect owners from the risk of their property being occupied, especially if it is not a permanently occupied property.