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Tenants Stop Paying Rent to Protest Insanitary Conditions, Owner Removes Doors and Windows in Retaliation

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.

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Fuggerei – The German Housing Complex Where Rent Hasn’t Gone Up in 500 Years

In a time when the cost of renting a home seems to be getting higher virtually everywhere in the civilized world, the residents of an idyllic housing complex in Germany are living in an inflation-free utopia. The people of Fuggerei, a walled district on the outskirts of Augsburg, pay only $1 a year on rent, the same as the first tenants who originally moved here nearly 500 years ago.

Fuggerei was founded in 1514 by an affluent businessman named Jakob Fugger, as a social housing complex for the poorest people of Augsburg. The Fugger family moved to the bustling German city in the mid-14th century and established a prosperous cloth trading business. By the 16th century, the Fugger family was one of the richest in Augsburg, and their operations expanded to real-estate and banking. Jakob Fugger was the wealthiest banker in the city, which earned him the nickname “Jakob Fugger the Rich”, but he stayed true to his family’s values, and in 1514 he started the construction of Fuggerei as a way of giving back to the community.

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