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The Right of a Leaseholder Subject to Law No. 48-1360 of September 1, 1948
The holder of a lease subject to Law No. 48-1360 of September 1, 1948, may face the possibility of losing their right to remain in the premises due to certain reasons specified in Article 10. These reasons primarily stem from the fact that the occupation of the premises no longer fulfills a housing need. Additionally, the right of the lessor to repossess the premises takes precedence over the right of the tenant to stay.
The Principle of Res Judicata in Lease Repossession Cases
A commented judgment serves as a reminder that a lessor, who has previously been denied repossession based on Article 19 of the law, can initiate legal proceedings based on Article 10, 9°, without being hindered by the principle of res judicata.
In a particular case, lessors filed a repossession action in accordance with their rights under Article 19 of the law of September 1, 1948. However, their attempt was unsuccessful. Subsequently, they summoned the tenants for eviction based on a notice issued under Article 10, 9°, of the law. The Paris Court of Appeal deemed their action inadmissible, citing the principle of res judicata. The court reasoned that Articles 10 and 19 served the same purpose, which was to deny the tenant the right to remain in the premises. Since the lessors had already lost their initial action, which sought to deny the tenant’s status, they could not pursue a similar action based on a different legal ground.
Referring to Article 1351 of the civil code, which states that the principle of res judicata requires the same matter to be requested and based on the same cause, the Court of Cassation criticizes the appellate judgment. The Court argues that a decision with the force of res judicata, which dealt with the request for repossession, should not have decided on the request for forfeiture of the right to remain in the premises.
Hence, the exercise of the right of repossession does not equate to the forfeiture of the right to remain in the premises. These are two distinct legal requests, and it is immaterial that they lead to the same outcome, namely, the tenant’s departure.
Through this judgment, the Court of Cassation reaffirms an established precedent.