On a second visit last month to our favorite French restaurant in the French Antilles, my husband and the owner got into a conversation about Real Estate and tenant rights and the rights of illegal immigrants in France.
The conversation started out when I mentioned that American laws are so skewed towards the tenants. I recently had my first tenant in a newly renovated condominium paint it, re-stain the 70 year old hard wood floors, wall paper one of the bathrooms, put vinyl tiles up in the other bathroom and change out all the light fixtures. All totaled, 14 lease infractions. This tenant then, after only 5 months on a 2 year lease found a new tenant to replace him and left. I took him to court. The bottom line after spending $1200.00 on a lawyer was, I was able to keep his $1500.00 deposit and settled for $1000.00. My lawyer said I was extremely fortunate to have done so well.
The young French restaurant owner told us the most shocking truth I have heard in quite a while. In France, illegal immigrants may "Squat" in an empty building. If the landlord does not figure out the illegal "squatters" are living there within a very short period of time (weeks, not months), the illegal "squatters" can then live there forever and never have to pay rent. Ever. They must also be allowed to receive gas and electricity. French society is all about the "Rights" of the citizens. The common man. Even the illegal citizens.