There has been a lot of talk and unhappiness over the last few months regarding the French Governments attitude towards "expelling" - "repatriation" of various groups of people in France.
Well - it can all stop now - for a while!
It's not generally known, in particular - not known by the very people it is meant to help, and it is an "Official agreement" that is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year, which I think merits being talked about - at least as much as the "expulsions" are talked about, but it won't be - it's something "positive", and protestors' don't like them too much!
I'm talking about....... "La trêve d'hiver" - in France. It's twenty years ago that this "agreement" was formulated. It is very simple.... from the date given (normally around the beginning of November) until the 15th of March the following year: NO PERSON ON FRENCH SOIL MAY BE EXPELLED, or otherwise thrown out of his/her lodgement/dwelling, for any reason, not only for non-payment of rent, mortgage and so on...
This. as I understand it, is applicable to all irrespective of age, race, creed, religion, sex, nationality.....
After a few searches on the WWW, I have come to the result that France is the only country, world wide to have AND APPLY such an agreement. Other countries have "gentlemen's agreements" (always breakable, naturally)...!
This agreement has slowly spread to other vital areas of daily life in France.
Since the inaugeration of the Agreement, it has become more and more difficult for the utility companies - Gas, Electricity, Water - even to some extent Telephone, Internet and Television companies simply to cut off the services for non-payment. There are all sorts of measures in place to avoid such cuts, to such an extent that EDF and GDF no longer bother trying during the period.
Of course, there are and always will be abuse of such an agreement. Tenants who use it to withhold payment before disappearing on the 1st of March ....Landlords who try expelling tenants either because they themselves are not aware of the law, or hoping that the tenant isn't, which isn't too often the case, but when it is, then they are rapidly told by the Social Services of their rights.
Wherever there is money in the game, there will be abuse - on both sides, but on the whole, reasonable tenants are happy to have the possibility of secure winters, but realise it can rebound later. This agreement or Law is NOT a total suspension or freeing from paying the rent due. It is simply to cover "difficult" moments at a time of year when living "outdoors" is life threatening!
Nor is it a ground for owners, or proprietors to ignore the standards set by other laws.
Abuses, as commented will always happen, but at least NO ONE need have fear of reporting them - even in the coldest of Winters.
Yes - you will still see the "SDF" (French for "Sans Domicile Fixe" - English - "without fixed address") living in the streets, but that is normally because THEY have chosen to do so - even in Winter, but even for them you will see the "soup kitchens", the "warm blanket brigades" out to help them.
Even the local or National Police get involved nowadays - a lot of them don't like it, but they do it, because they've realised that the large Public wishes it to be so.
There is also a lot less paperwork to do than when they come across a corpse frozen to death.
This - unfortunately - still happens, but is relatively rare.
Is this at least one success story for "humanity"....?
iwmpop(mrlemarquis) - Vauvert, France - Novembre 2010
weather at Vauvert, France
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