It’s been over a month since Nicole and Pascal Vermeulen, a middle-aged couple from Lignières, France, have had to sleep in fear of someone simply walking into their home at night. That’s because they don’t have a front door anymore, or windows for that matter, after the house owner removed them as punishment for not receiving the rent.
Three years ago, when the Vermeulen family found a 110 square-meter house for rent in the village of Lignières, for €500 a month, they thought they were getting a good deal, but things started going south soon after they moved in. The building’s septic tank got clogged years ago, which rendered the toilet and shower virtually unusable. The tenants have had to deal with human waste coming up through the toilet and the shower drain on more than one occasion, and the bathroom walls are constantly covered with mold. Also their garage always smells like a sewer. Despite their repeated pleas to the owner of the apartment to get the septic tank fixed, and the home being declared insanitary by the CAF (Direction of Family Allocations), the owner simply disregarded the problems.