The government's decision to extend the end date of the truce period from March 31st to May 31st was revealed by the housing minister on Monday.
“This prolongation is necessary due to the crisis,” Emmanuelle Wargon told French daily Le Parisien.
La trêve hivernale usually runs for five months, from November 1st until March 31st, and marks a period when French landlords are not legally allowed to evict their tenants for any reason.
The government extended the period last year until July 10th in order to prevent a spike in the number of homeless people as the nationwide lockdown forced the country's economy into a near-standstill.
One year later, France is struggling to prevent another flare-up in Covid numbers and a third nationwide lockdown, as virus rates continue a slow and steady rise, threatening to once again overwhelm hospitals.
The truce is meant as a humanitarian measure to ensure people don't become homeless and end up sleeping on the cold winter streets.
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When the truce ends, police or bailiffs can start carrying out eviction notices that have been piling up throughout the winter months or weren't carried out before the truce came into effect.
While the economic activity in France is currently at higher level than back in the spring of 2020, several sectors remain shut and the economic activity for those keeping open is hampered by general health rules and a 6pm nationwide curfew.
The number of people pushed into debt and rent arrears has piled up over the winter and some 30,000 eviction cases await treatment, according to a new report published by the Abbé Pierre Foundation – twice as many as the annual average.
“Either way the police would not be able to handle such a large number of evictions and it would become a big social problem,” Wargon said. “2021 is an exceptional year that we will manage in an exceptional way.”
The rules of the truce also prevent landlords from performing evictions and utility providers from cutting off gas and electricity to tenants who are in arrears.
It does not cover those living in squats or buildings deemed dangerous.