Narbonne: against a backdrop of nuisance and insalubrity, neighborhood relations are turning into a nightmare

In the district of the station, the inhabitants of a small residence without history and their neighbors are confronted with very unscrupulous tenants: invasion of cockroaches, diurnal and nocturnal noise, acts of intimidation… constitute their daily life.

“The press is our last resort. We contacted the municipal social action center, the mayor, the municipal police, the Animal Protection Society, the Endangered Childhood service, the trustee on several occasions… and these days- here we met the deputy Alain Péréa”. Residents of rue Chaptal are exasperated. In question, the way of life of a family of tenants who rots their daily life. Their testimonies, as well as those of their neighbours, are eloquent.

Complaints and cockroaches galore

Hunting cockroaches, a daily sport for this inhabitant…
Independent – PHILIPPE LEBLANC

It all started well in 2010, with the arrival of these new residents, a couple with children. But since then the family has grown. “They are now two adults and five children, including one disabled, in housing that has become too small. The problems began in 2015, against a backdrop of internal family disputes”, explains the president of the union council. Since then, the situation has degenerated. “Now, we are constantly subjected to nuisances, day and night. The loud rap music, the nauseating odors emanating from the balcony transformed into a dump and which spread on the landing, the excrement and urine of a dog ( which never leaves) dripping from the balcony (on which barbecues are also made), the cries of children left to fend for themselves, the damage in the common areas, pieces of household appliances left abandoned in the street like this refrigerator still full of food, stuffed with grime and cockroaches…”.

Cockroaches by the way, this inhabitant can talk about it: “Every morning before going to work, I spend 20 minutes chasing cockroaches. My apartment is infested with critters despite 3 successive treatments in a year and a half and the many traps installed. The cockroaches come out through the kitchen hood, sneak into cutlery drawers, into my wallet… I even have to install filters in front of each ventilation opening!”. In rue Chaptal, other neighbors are witnesses : “In the residence, there lives a family with a disabled child, whom we would like to protect. On several occasions, we have heard him cry out in an unusual way, it frightens us and takes us to the heart. This family is too large for this small apartment. Not to mention the mother’s rude and abusive vocabulary towards the children… the parents seem to have given up.”

Intimidation and fear of reprisals

And residents add, “We tried to negotiate amicably with these tenants. We contacted the municipal center for social action to find them larger accommodation. But when the agents move, either the parents are absent or no one opens The hygiene service of the town hall can do nothing since we are not located within the perimeter of the rental permit.However, this same service noted in a 2019 report the disorders in the accommodation, mainly relating to the mode of occupation of the premises. A letter was sent to the occupants to inform them that their dwelling does not meet the requirements of the departmental health regulations. It is noted that these shortcomings (cleanliness of common and private premises, living quarters, lavatory and bathroom of water) may pose a clear risk to health and safety, especially of children”.

Far from being resolved, the situation continues to worsen. Communication no longer passes between the incriminated tenants and the rest of the residents. The incidents multiply, the conflicts too. The tension is rising and the inhabitants say they are victims of acts of intimidation on the part of the adult tenant as well as his children. Recently, “The man came and punched my door. I didn’t want to open the door for him and I still managed to take refuge with my neighbor, who was alone with her daughter. I filed a complaint. But we we are all afraid of reprisals and that it will end very badly”, confides this pensioner.

A thorny case, which “relates to the social”

The real estate agent, manager of the apartment where the offending family lives, wants to clarify the situation: when a new owner acquired the apartment in May 2021 with a view to renovating it, “the inventory was compliant, as were the various diagnoses. The minutes of the last 3 general meetings of the syndicate (which were held in the presence of all the co-owners except one), did not mention neighborhood problems, nor a request for judicial termination of the lease. In addition, the report of the town hall’s hygiene department drawn up in 2019 was never attached to the file. The owner therefore bought the apartment without having any clue as to the method of life of the tenants. In June 2021, a registered letter was sent to them to contact them, because the owner wanted to carry out renovation work. The letter was not recovered by the recipients, who seem to have fallen back on them themselves and closed the door”. Yes “we have no tool to constrain them at the start”, the manager ensures, however, that a procedure has just been initiated to request the judicial termination of the lease, at least 6 months before its end as required by law (i.e. September 1, 2022). Elements such as complaints lodged by residents may help to speed up the procedure. “The owner wants to sleep peacefully, renovate this apartment and install new, more conventional tenants there”. The manager readily admits it, the residents implicated “are out of place and feel themselves harassed, it is about a family in distress and adrift… but this problem is above all a social problem”.

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