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solidarity for a landlord chased away by her tenant

He had simply kicked her outside to sit upstairs. A retiree from Rochefort-du-Gard has found her home after the intervention of a deputy and the solidarity of her neighbors. His unscrupulous tenant finally left the premises on Wednesday after spoiling the life of the owner.

Initially she rented the ground floor of her home to him. But the tenant took advantage of a long absence of Martine Garofalo, a septuagenarian of Rochefort-du-Gard, to appropriate the whole house and make it a real dumping ground. As a result, the owner had to take refuge in emergency accommodation loaned by the town hall before the solidarity of the neighbors and the intervention of the Hérault deputy Patrick Vignal made the tenant listen to reason. He left the scene on Christmas Eve.

“I arrive with my truck and we will load our things, everything has been settled amicably” told us Patrick Vignal around 10:00 am. The deputy turned for the occasion into a moving mediator!

A nightmare for several months

It started with the poor maintenance of the ground floor and the garden that Martine Garofalo had rented out to benefit from additional income. But quickly, the tenant, to say the least indelicate, moved up a gear. He literally kicked this septuagenarian from Rochefort-du-Gard out of her home, taking advantage of her prolonged absence (2 years in Guyana) to move upstairs and turn the place into a dumping ground.

The "remains" bric-a-brac piled up by the tenant at Martine Garofalo's.

The “vestiges” of the bric-a-brac piled up by the tenant at Martine Garofalo.

© France 3 Pays gardois

On her return, for several months Martine was no longer even allowed to return to her property. The town hall of Rochefort-du-Gard, warned of the situation, had lent her emergency accommodation for her to take refuge there.

The intervention of a deputy from Hérault

Lawyer, complaint, the legal arsenal for disputes between landlords and tenants is always very slow to put in place. And he’s a deputy from Hérault, Patrick Vignal, outraged by the injustice of the situation, which intervened personally. Not to change the law but to mediate and finally convince the tenant to leave the premises so that Martine can go home.

Mr. Vignal took charge of the case and said: “He can’t go on like this” So with my lawyer they went to look for him, the three of them discussed and when the deputy came back he said to me: ” it’s okay, he’s leaving on Wednesday! “

Martine Garofalo. Owner in Rochefort-du-Gard

"Welcome", wanted a sign hanging in the garden .... a welcome message taken a little too literally ....

“Welcome”, wanted a sign hung in the garden …. a welcome message taken a little too literally ….

© France 3 Pays gardois

The solidarity of neighbors

The media coverage of Martine’s case triggered a great outpouring of solidarity. Of volunteers flocked to clean up the second floor and restore the garden abandoned by the tenant. And an online jackpot named “For Martine” has already collected 2000 euros in donations, to finance the restoration work on his house.

Legislate but above all favor mediation

Today Martine sees the end of the nightmare. On the strength of this bad experience, the retiree intends to embark on a new battle: to change the law to better protect home owners. And she already knows that she has a strong ally in this legislative fight … Patrick Vignal.

But the deputy from Hérault, who helped with the move and accompanied the tenant, Axel, a young man of thirty more lost than mean, concludes above all that “if everyone gets started, we can sort out a lot of everyday tragedies”.

“We must revive local judges and mediation, because human tragedies like this one will multiply with the social crisis generated by the Covid”.

Patrick Vignal. deputy for Hérault

“I take Axel to the station. After a long break-up, he will be reunited with his family in Lille for the holidays …. It’s a beautiful Christmas present and I felt more useful than often in my role as deputy. ! concludes Patrick Vignal.

The report in Rochefort-du-Gard by Jérôme Curato and Eric Mangani who met Martine on Tuesday in her partly recovered house.