The numbers are staggering. Twenty-three thousand tenants housed in the Paris Habitat social park are in debt. Twenty-three thousand households are not up to date with their rent. In this figure, there are nearly 800 identified households, whose slate oscillates between 12,000 euros and 40,000 euros. In total, the largest lessor in the City of Paris, with 120,000 housing units, has 50 million euros in unpaid rents.
This huge figure should be put into perspective. It goes back several years. What, on the other hand, is very current is that, for the past year 2020, that is to say since the start of the health crisis, Paris Habitat shows an increase of 10 million euros from the hole .
In three years, its unpaid bills have increased by 15 million euros. On March 31, 2018, the sum amounted to 35 million euros. This year, however, there were no more tenants in debt. What has increased is the “slate” of those who are most in financial difficulty.
The primary responsible health crisis
The RIVP and Elogie-Siemp, the two other donors of the city of Paris are also “in the red”. They show respectively 17 million euros and 10.1 million euros of unpaid rent.
“The health crisis had financial consequences and therefore affected HLM tenants not only in Paris but throughout France,” we reframed at AORIF, the association which brings together the Ile-de-France social housing organizations. The donors told us that they were seeing profiles of indebted tenants arriving that they had not seen before: artisans, traders, autoentrepreneurs. Many donors have also set up, from the first confinement, social units on unpaid debts to help “first-time debtors” to find solutions. “
For these tenants, it is often small debts. “It is a controlled situation, assures Ian Brossat, the deputy (PCF) of the mayor of Paris. There has been an unprecedented effort by the donor and its social services to get their heads out of the water ”.
Degraded psychological situation
Debt staggering, social assistance, proposal for cheaper housing, place in old people’s residence of the CASVP (social assistance center of the city of Paris), accommodation in hostels … In one month, on March 31, Paris Habitat succeeded to get 1,368 tenants out of the bad debt situation.
On the other hand, the situation of the most indebted was invited to the last Board of Directors (CA) on April 1. “We have families in a situation as deteriorated psychologically as materially”, moved Jean-Jacques Anding, representing the tenants for the CLCV which wanted “an exemption from the debt for a certain number of families, insofar as they are not in bad faith ”.
A special fund will be set up for one year
In the end, a “fund to help tenants with unpaid rents” for a period of 1 year was created. Tenants “in bad faith” are therefore not eligible, that is to say those who have refused to open their door for years to the caretaker, to social services, those who cause problems of use, those who are not. – holders of a current lease or a terminated lease, those who are suspected of drug trafficking …
For most of the targeted households in great difficulty, they are mainly single men, more in their fifties. There are, however, a few families – “They sanctify the roof and therefore the rent”, indicates a source close to the matter – including a couple with a 6-year-old child.
Jean-Baptiste Olivier, “the only right-wing elected (LR) to the board of directors of Paris Habitat” voted “for” last Thursday … “I did not oppose this device, knowing that it only covers a year “. And to add: “We are surprised that the lessor has 50 million euros in arrears, but these tenants who have 40,000 euros in debt, they have not paid their rent for years. “
This fund will offer a partial forgiveness of debts. Paris habitat has invited other partners around the table, City, State, CAF… who will put their hands in the wallet.
In the background and in the midst of the crisis, “with the impoverishment of tenants,” notes Ian Brossat, there is the lessor’s desire to avoid evictions which will resume in June. The winter break has been extended. “Last year, there were only five tenants evicted”, rejoices the deputy mayor. For Paris Habitat, which advocates “Zero homelessness”, “an eviction is a failure for everyone”.