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26 January 2022
Public thematic report
The enforceable right to housing (Dalo) was introduced in the French Law of 5 March, 2007, and is a last
resort for applicants who experience serious difficulties with housing. It requires the State to house or
rehouse households recognized as eligible, as a matter of priority and urgency, providing an offer that is
“suitable” in the sense of the Law (i.e. meeting a household’s needs and characteristics). Although the
State alone bears this responsibility, local authorities, social landlords and the employer-funded
Action Logement
are obliged to help with rehousing. When the State fails to fulfil its
obligations, it may be held liable, including liable to pay compensation. The Court of Accounts is today
publishing a new assessment of the implementation of this system, which shows that the difficulties it had
already identified in 2016, particularly in Île-de-France, have intensified: for too many households, the
Dalo is not yet an effective right, and the risk of it becoming a source of disillusionment is increasing. To
rectify this, the Court is asking for a change to the legal framework and to the way it is implemented in
practice, and is defining thirteen recommendations intended to restore its effectiveness.
Partially effective; on-going deterioration in Île-de-France
The Dalo is unique in Europe and across the world, and the number of recorded requests has increased
since it came into force on 1 January 2008. By the end of 2020, nearly 1.3 million requests for recognition
of Dalo eligibility had been submitted to the Departemental Mediation Commissions (Comed)
responsible for reviewing them. More than 60% were recorded in Île-de-France. Although the
percentage of favourable decisions handed down by the Mediation Commissions was 34.5% in 2019,
compared with 25.0% in 2008, being recognized as eligible for the Dalo is only a household’s first step.
This acquired right is only effective if the State, who is alone responsible, can quickly offer housing or
alternative housing appropriate to the
household’s needs. The results, updated since the Court’s last
investigation, are still below the commitment: between 2008 and 2020, more than 330,000 households
were recognized as eligible for urgent and priority rehousing under the Dalo; 62.8% benefited from a
suitable rehousing offer from the State. However, 78,016 of them, or 23.4% of the total, were still not
rehoused at the end of February 2021. The Court notes that the situation has deteriorated since 2016,
particularly in Île-de-France, where almost a third of the 65,000 households recognized as eligible since
2008 are still waiting for a rehousing offer from the State.
Nationally, fewer than half of the households recognized as eligible have been rehoused within the
timescales defined in the Law.
The State’s responsibility increasingly called into question
Where the State’s response is deficient, the legislator has provided two remedies: an injunction for
failure to act, with, if relevant, the imposition of a penalty; and an action for compensation. They are
used increasingly by households recognized as eligible for the Dalo and waiting for an appropriate offer.
Between 2015 and 2020, the State had to make penalty payments of nearly 130 million euros, and the
rise in the number of households still waiting for an offer is likely to increase these amounts. Litigation
imposes a heavy burden on the administrative courts, particularly in areas under stress where the
judge’s intervention can have no influence on the deciding
factor: the supply of housing.
A combination of factors causing a low-grade blockage
The growing difficulty in accessing social housing is often cited by local stakeholders but is not the only
obstacle to implementing the Dalo. Other factors come into play: their primary source is the increase in
the number of objectives assigned to local stakeholders when they allocate social housing. Since the
Dalo came into force, new categories of priority beneficiary have been created by a number of pieces
of legislation, and the result of these numerous directives is that the Dalo loses its high-priority nature.
According to the Court, this is illustrated by the still inadequate effort made by local authorities and
landlords to participate with the State in the rehousing work.
Read the report
Emmanuel Kessler
Head of Communications
+33 (0)1 42 98 55 62
Julie Poissier
Head of Press Relations
+33 (0)1 42 98 97 43
Cour des comptes
Cour des comptes