A couple of squatters, aged 73 and 79, sentenced to 8 months in prison
Of the squatters septuagenarians, it is rather rare. And squatters sentenced to prison, that’s even worse. The squatters face a year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros, according to the law. But in fact the sanction is rarely applied because they are often not solvent. As for the prison sentence, it is not frequently pronounced “because the courts are undoubtedly aware of the housing crisis and that they must take into account the difficulties in finding accommodation”, tries to explain Master Romain Rossi-Landi, lawyer specializing in real estate law. Before adding:However, the squat is a lifestyle, a choice not a necessity.“.
In a recent case, a couple of 73 and 79 years old was sentenced to 8 months in prison by the court of Castres, in the Tarn. A sentence more severe than that required by the prosecutor: 8 months suspended prison sentence accompanied by an obligation to have a fixed residence, and prohibition to issue checks and to direct a company or an association. The septuagenarians squatted in a house for three years after pretending to buy the property. “I think the court took into account the backgrounds and criminal records of the two squatters», evokes Maître Romain Rossi-Landi.
Indeed, the couple of atypical squatters would not be their first misdeed. They would have created fictitious associations to recover subsidies or false announcements of seasonal rentals to obtain deposits or even an online kitty to restore a so-called castle before pocketing the sum collected. Different procedures against them are underway in Arras and Avignon.
And yet, this couple made a good impression on retirees who wanted to sell their house in 2013. They do not negotiate the sale price, set at 260,000 euros, claiming to have the means to pay without taking out a loan. The sales agreement is therefore signed. While waiting for the authentic deed, the buyers ask to occupy a room or two of the house, as they live far away, in the Vaucluse. They also cite some health issues. Castres pensioners accept without hesitation. “We drank an aperitif with them, they seemed very nice“, they confide in The Midi Dispatch.
Scammers are actually banned from banking. Despite this situation, they will manage to occupy the house for 3 years. How did they manage to stay there for so long? By producing false documents with the header of notaries invented from scratch, for example. The Castres launched an eviction procedure which ended in October 2016. Their damage is estimated at more than 37,000 euros even if the victims do not hope to recover this sum. The case only now comes before the courts, the investigators having struggled to hear the couple of squatters, they are constantly vanishing.