• France's news in English

Tenant sues landlord for €25k over 1.6m² Paris flat

Dan MacGuill · 15 Oct 2013, 14:04

Published: 15 Oct 2013 14:04 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 50-year-old man, named only as ‘Dominique,’ is due to appear in court in Paris on Tuesday, seeking €25,000 in damages and rent reimbursement from his former landlord, according to French daily 20 Minutes.

“The money entails rent repayment from the last five years, as well as moral harm suffered by my client,” said his lawyer Aurelie Geoffroy.

When Dominique’s story broke back in January, it was found that his apartment in the 11th arrondissement of the French capital measured just 1.56 square metres of liveable space – room that he could comfortably stand up in.

It is illegal in France for landlords to rent out apartments that have less than nine square metres of habitable space.

Dominique had lived in that cramped hovel for 15 years, by the end paying an incredible €330 a month in rent, which works out as €211 per liveable square metre.

“The rent even rose with inflation,” a disgusted Geoffroy told 20 Minutes. The only furniture or appliances Dominique could fit into his tiny abode was a mattress, sink and humble hob for cooking.

The tenant’s case was championed by French housing charity the Fondation Abbé Pierre, who were seeking to bring to the public’s attention the number of minuscule apartments being rented out in Paris illegally.

“[When I first saw the apartment], I asked myself ‘how is this possible,’” said Samuel Mouchard from the organization.

“Until then the smallest flat I’d ever seen was three square metres, but Dominique broke that sad record,” he added.

Despite the legal constraints on landlords renting out uninhabitable apartments, some continue to flout the law, according to Mouchard.

“Some landlords are unscrupulous. The law is there but it needs to be enforced,” he said in January.

Story continues below…

“Tenants need to know that it’s forbidden. If they have doubts they can go to their local Town Hall where measures can be taken to protect them or to rehouse them,” he added.

Tuesday’s hearing was due to start at 11am in the magistrates court in the 11th arrondissement. Check back here for updates and the verdict.

Don't miss a story about France - Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Homeless man dines at top tables in France, then runs off
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Could France do more to ease the worries of 'Brexpats'?
Photo: AFP

Paris is rolling out the red tape for British firms, so why not British citizens in France?

Brexit: Brits in France could face 'cataclysmic' impact
Photo: AFP

Can't France make it easier for Britons to get French nationality?

In their own words: Why French police are in revolt
"Solidarity with our colleagues". Police protesting near Paris. Photo: AFP

Police have staged protests for three nights in a row across France. Here's why they say they're fed up.

France leaning right six months before election
Candidates for the right-wing Les Republicains Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AFP

... and the left has been left in suspended animation.

Disgruntled French police stage protests for third night
Photo: AFP

The French government is struggling to deal with a revolt among the country's police force.

Scarlett Johansson to run Paris gourmet popcorn shop
Photo: AFP

She'll even be serving customers apparently.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available