Housing: “The winter break must absolutely be continued until October 31,” asks the president of the National Housing Confederation

Housing: “The winter break must absolutely be continued until October 31,” asks the president of the National Housing Confederation

The winter break has for the moment been extended until July 10 due to the coronavirus epidemic. Eddie Jacquemart also asks to put the question of“Rent moratorium on the table”.

Apartments in Montbéliard in the Doubs department (photo illustration).  (LIONEL VADAM / MAXPPP)

“It is absolutely necessary that we put in financial security the tenants and the first-time buyers of family property”, asked Eddie Jacquemart, president of the National Housing Confederation, on franceinfo on Friday, May 22. He called on the government to extend the winter break “Until October 31” while it has been for the moment extended until July 10 due to the coronavirus epidemic. This would mean the impossibility of evictions until March 31, 2021 since the winter break begins each year on November 1. If the economic and social crisis hardens, Eddie Jacquemart also asks to put back the question of “Rent moratorium on the table”. A measure that authorizes “Suspension of the payment of rent in certain very specific cases”, specifies Eddie Jacquemart.

franceinfo: Unpaid rent rates have been on the rise since the start of the health crisis. Does this increase surprise you?

Eddie Jacquemart :It is no wonder. Moreover, on March 16 we had in fact immediately asked the President of the Republic to intervene to establish the moratorium on rents because we knew that tenants and first-time buyers would have had difficulties in paying their rent and their deadlines. Unfortunately, that was not accepted by the government at the time. So, we started with slightly more complicated measures, technical on a case-by-case basis in the social sector. And we are very worried because in the private sector, for the moment, we have no direct interlocutor and we know that it is the jungle that will happen now for tenants and buyers.

What do you recommend?

The problem is that with the exit from confinement, we will be heading towards more and more complicated situations with people who will lose their jobs and with corporate bankruptcy filings. So, in fact, we are heading towards a very serious situation. What we are advocating is eventually to put the rent moratorium back on the table. The moratorium is a suspension of the payment of rent in certain very specific cases. And above all, what we want is for the Minister of Housing to issue the decree to continue the winter extension. The winter break must absolutely be continued until October 31. Since from the month of November, you know that the new winter break will begin. It is absolutely necessary that we put in financial security the tenants and first-time home buyers. There are countries like Germany which took measures in March to spread rents over two years with no possible eviction due to a health crisis. So I think that here, we still have to go further in the measures to be taken for the government, because I have the impression that we are doing a lot of things for everyone. But we forgot the inhabitants.

In your opinion, we are not doing enough for tenants?

We are asking for the establishment of a residents’ compensation fund, that is to say a set of measures that could be implemented very easily for tenants who are in difficulty. So the social landlords have put things in place, but it’s still complicated. A general measure should have been taken to make it fair throughout the territory of the Republic. There, we started on a case-by-case basis and depending on the negotiations that there will be with tenant associations and social landlords, in such and such a territory, there will be measures that will be taken, but which will not be the same for everyone.