Demolition works for six villas located in flood-risk zones in Biot on the French Riviera have begun. The properties were badly affected by devastating flash floods which hit the Alpes-maritimes town back in 2015 and caused the death of three people trapped in their homes on the banks of La Brague. The French government bought 11 of these properties from their owners and is now proceeding to demolish six villas and wall up five others. The land left after demolition might be used for community gardens as it can no longer be built upon for housing or commercial activities.
An exposé on dodgy landlords has uncovered the case of a 71-year-old man whose attic apartment is so tiny he can only stand upright in 1m2 of it, plus a young woman who lives in a 4m2 flat and is forced to share a toilet on a balcony with male tenants.
The French government has vowed to crack down on property owners who rent out apartments smaller than the minimum 9m2. The new proposed ELAN housing law will punish ‘slumlords’ on the same level as drug traffickers, risking up to five years’ imprisonment and a €150,000 fine.
An old 17th-century prison in Brest, Brittany, will be converted into housing. Built in 1670, the ‘prison de Pontaniou’ was later used for imprisoning members of the French Resistance during the Second World War and has lain empty since the 1990s. It will now be transformed after the mairie of Brest sold it to a Parisian developer who specialises in restoring historic buildings.
The project has yet to be finalised but it is hoped 30 or so apartments will be delivered by 2020 and there will be a memorial of some sorts on the property.