MARIGOT–A frail, elderly Haitian man living in Agrément is facing eviction from his shop after being unable to pay many months of rent in addition to suffering health issues. His family is appealing for urgent help.
Jean-Claude Charles (80) has been living on the island for some 50 years; at one time a successful entrepreneur contributing to community life. He acquired the commercial premises at 66 LLS Scott, Agrément, where he has been living since 2001. He originally rented the small building and made additions to it so it could be used as a shop.
Charles maintains he had permission to make the modifications in the beginning, but said he now had lost the contract. His rent is 300 euros per month.
“It is commercial premises and he did build on it, but when the business did not work anymore he could not pay the rent,” his daughter explained. “Since 2013 he has been in very poor health, not able to pay the rent or hospital bills. He owes nearly 10,000 euros. His situation is very critical now because he has heart problems.”
A court order seen by The Daily Herald was issued on March 2 and Charles has to vacate the premises by May 2. If he has not left by that date Gendarmes and the Préfecture will intervene.
His daughter said she could help him with administrative work, but not financially. He cannot live with her because she has only a small studio to accommodate her son as well and there are no other family members on the island.
According to the daughter, because he was an independent businessperson Charles was not entitled to social security and had to pay his own social charges.
“Since November 2015 I have been trying to get him into a social security system, but I have had no answers. I can’t get any social assistance,” she said.
Semsamar social housing rental manager Marcena Jasaron confirmed it was close to three years that the rent had not been paid despite many warnings and letters, and the amount outstanding is 9,700 euros.
“Why doesn’t he give up the place and why is he not in a home by now?” questioned Jasaron. “For us at his age it is doubtful we will recover the money, but in principle he cannot stay there. By leaving him there it’s an open door to others to do the same thing. This gentleman’s situation is just one of many similar situations where rent is not being paid.
“We could have put him out a long time before but we have been very patient and flexible with him. Now the judge has ordered him out and the procedure cannot be stopped. We are just doing our job. Non-payment of rent and no insurance are the two official reasons on the French side to ask someone to leave. If he’s not paying the rent he has no insurance either and his contract is up as well.”
He said family members must do whatever they could to help Charles and take care of his health.
Source: The Daily Herald Elderly man owing close to 10,000 euros facing eviction