What is the “trêve hivernale”?
Do you regularly hear about the “trêve hivernale” (winter truce)? Are you wondering about the consequences of this expression?
AGN Avocats explains it all!
What do you need to know about the winter truce?
The winter truce is the ban on rental evictions from November 1 of each year until March 31 of the following year (since the 2014 ALUR law). It suspends any eviction measures that might have been taken against a tenant who fails to meet their obligations. In other words, it ensures that tenants have a roof over their heads during the winter period, even if, for example, they don’t pay their rent.
To find out more about the obligations of tenants whose failure to comply with these obligations can lead to eviction, see our article: On what grounds can I evict my tenant?
What is the purpose of the winter truce?
The winter truce ensures that tenants are not left without housing during the winter, and thus satisfies the right to housing and respect for human dignity, two fundamental principles in France.
The truce constitutes a pause in eviction decisions taken by a judge: no eviction can take place during this period.
What are the effects of the winter truce?
If a tenant is granted a stay of eviction during the harsh winter season, even though they have not fulfilled their obligations to their landlord, the latter is unable to reclaim their rented property: they are therefore left alone to fulfill their obligations!
To ensure that property rights are not completely disregarded, and to strike a balance between property rights and the right to housing, exceptions have been made to the protection afforded by the winter truce.
Eviction of a tenant during the winter truce is permitted in three cases:
- Provided that tenants are rehoused in adequate conditions that respect the unity and needs of the family;
- When the building concerned has been the subject of a peril decree, i.e. if the building is insalubrious;
- When the judge has authorized the eviction of people who have taken improper possession of a property that does not belong to them, in other words, “squatters”.
What cannot be done during the winter truce?
During the winter truce, what can’t be done is “kick the tenants out”, in other words, evict them by force. Public force is therefore never used during this period, except in the specified exceptions.
In the same sense, the winter truce also prohibits gas and electricity cuts in the event of unpaid bills. This truce period prohibits any action that might violate the tenant’s right to housing and respect for their dignity.
What can be done during the winter truce?
While tenants who fail to meet their obligations cannot be evicted from their home, the owner of the occupied property does have other options.
In fact, legal proceedings for lease termination and eviction are still possible during the winter break. Between November 1 and March 31, landlords can take their tenants to court for non-compliance with one of their obligations, and obtain an eviction order: only the physical and material eviction from the premises is suspended during the winter!
The landlord can then serve the order to vacate the premises by bailiff, and initiate eviction proceedings, which will only be carried out once the winter break has expired.
On April 1, tenants subject to an eviction order must leave the premises. Failure to do so exposes the tenant to eviction proceedings.
“Although landlords cannot evict tenants, they can sue them!
For landlords, the end of the winter truce means the end of occupation of their property by tenants who fail to meet their obligations, especially those who don’t pay their rent. The landlord can then initiate eviction proceedings and reclaim possession of the property!
Has your tenant failed to meet one of their contractual obligations?
Use the online rental eviction procedure on the AGN Avocats website, and get your tenant evicted for 990 euros, excluding bailiff’s fees.
If you would like more information on rental eviction, AGN Avocats invites you to read these articles: