Hollande’s Government Outlines Housing Priorities

Cécile Duflot.Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Matthieu Riegler

Housing Minister Cécile Duflot.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Matthieu Riegler

During a cabinet meeting Wednesday, the Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing, Cécile Duflot, presented her initial plans to address France’s housing issues. “The first step for the global policy that the government wishes to undertake is to improve the lives of the French, increasing housing access and supporting the construction effort.”

Ms. Duflot’s first act will be to issue a decree on rent regulation, published in late July. The decree will ensure that for forty cities across the country, in the case of lease renewal or the issue of a new lease, the rent can not exceed the last applicable rent, adjusted according to the Indice de Référence des Loyers (IRF) calculated by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE).

This ‘emergency’ decree – valid for one year – will eventually be replaced by new legislation redefining the relationship between landlords and tenants. Ms. Duflot wishes for reform in public insurance policies that guarantee the risks in the case of unpaid rent. Private insurers have already begun developing their policies in this matter.

In Le Monde, Ms. Duflot also announced her willingness to review the SRU. This law requires that welfare housing constitute 20% of total housing across France’s municipalities. The Minister of Housing would raise the rate to 25% and also increase penalties for non compliance.

Moreover, the state intends to implement a plan to dispose of land holdings by public institutions, such as SNCF, the national inter-city train line. It will advantageously recover unused land for new government construction. The minister said 900 sites have already been identified.

In addition, Ms. Duflot’s objective is to complete these housing bills by the end of the year. For many it is the revival of past scellier schemes. A similar bill was voted on in 2008 with the aim of developing the market for property investment. It offered a discount equivalent to 25% for nine years before moving in January 2012 to 13% in tax for acquisitions of new property. “In the fall, we will work on a system that will replace the existing one, but that will not resemble it; this device has cost France 900 million euros in 2011,” said Ms. Duflot.

Another priority is housing construction Ms. Duflot hopes to build 500,000 new homes per year including 150,000 for welfare housing. Additionally Ms. Duflot, the former national secretary of the EELV (Les Verts, The Greens), does not want her progress to overshadow her party’s push to reduce the environmental footprint of homes.

According to the 2012 report of the Abbé Pierre Foundation, 3.6 million people are inadequately housed in France and 10 million are directly or indirectly affected by the housing crisis.

Comments

  1. nice article of housing priorities

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