The social housing reform worries the HLM world

Gabriel Attal wants to change the SRU law, in particular by including intermediate housing in the calculation of the HLM fees that some cities must respect.

An emblematic political tool for social diversity, the Solidarity and Urban Renewal Law, which imposes quotas for social housing in certain municipalities, has drawn strong criticism since Gabriel Attal expressed his desire to change it. Faced with the size of the housing crisis, the President of the Government has told the deputies that he will continue to “help” the world of social housing, but that the latter must “evolve”.

Among other changes, in the calculation of the quota required by municipalities subject to the SRU law, it intends to propose “the addition of partially intermediate housing (LLI, with regulated rents but higher than HLM, Editor’s note), accessible to the middle class”. be respected Adopted in 2000 to promote the construction of social housing and social diversity, this law requires municipalities with more than 3,500 inhabitants in urban areas (1,500 in the Paris metropolitan area) to have 20% or 25% of social rental housing by 2025. their headquarters.

The real estate market: Gabriel Attal promises it "unlock" housing sector - 01/31
Property market: Gabriel Attal promises to “unlock” the housing sector – 01/31

Municipalities that do not respect these quotas must meet three-year production targets to catch up, and will have to pay a fine if they do not meet the amount that will be used to finance social housing. “Putting intermediate housing against social housing is the opposite: most people who go to intermediate housing also have the right to social housing”, justified Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition, in his wishes.

Even less social housing?

“The result of what was announced is to ease the pressure on social services for the most modest”, he added. But Gabriel Attal’s announcement it stunned the world of social housing and some local elected officials. “This proposal, which will in no way solve the delay in the construction of social housing, will strengthen territorial separation, weakening compliance with the SRU law”, criticized the Social Housing Union (USH), which represents social housing. “Only 3%” of the 2.6 million households waiting for social housing are, in terms of income, eligible for intermediate housing, USH points out. “A nurse in Paris will not be able to find accommodation there”, said its president, Emmanuelle Cosse, and reminded that “there is no control over the time of resources, nor is the owner obliged to accommodate priority audiences.

LLI ceilings in Bordeaux rise to 90,070 euros, so for a couple with two children, that is 7,500 euros per month. Too much for Thierry Repentin, DVG mayor of Chambéry (Savoie) and former president of the SRU national committee.

“Since 2005, so little social housing has never been built in France”, he recalled, considering that the measure announced by Gabriel Attal would lead to even “less social housing”. It also gives a bonus to the mayors who “preferred to act in segregation”.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, the mayors of around fifteen major cities, including Paris, Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Rennes, Strasbourg and Poitiers, expressed their “extreme concern” on Tuesday. They complain that they have “rejected the policy of producing social housing”, and believe that the inclusion of intermediate housing in the SRU count would be a “big political mistake”.

Discussion of the results of the SRU law

A report published by the Abbé Pierre Foundation in December shows Almost two-thirds (64%) of the municipalities affected by the SRU law have not met their targets in the 2020-2022 period.. The cause, according to the Foundation, is the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic situation but also “a government policy that is very inappropriate for social housing”. “(This measure) means that intermediate housing would be considered social housing with the agreement and allocation commissions?” asked the director general of the Association of French Mayors (AMF), Eric Verlhac.

The Prime Minister’s announcement has also sparked debate over the results of the SRU law. “This law has clearly made it possible for social housing to exist in places where they did not exist”, assured Gilles Leproust, president of the Ville & Banlieue association. According to a 2020 assessment by the Idheal research institute, HLMs are “increasingly mixed with other housing” and “better distributed throughout the territory” since the law was introduced, but “poverty enclaves are more numerous and poorer.

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