Today, I am fighting the battle of a lifetime with bureaucrats in our local Trésor Public. They want us to pay over 1,300€ water rates in outstanding bills left by the locataires. Madame S vacated our ‘pile’ on 30 September 2012, Monsieur C vacated on 31 December 2013. Well, Monsieur C actually returned to the ‘pile’ for an unspecified period during January this year to clear the last of his possessions, but, it seems he forgot to remove his rubbish from the loft – the rubbish that will fill two transit vans to the roof, the rubbish that we must fund for removal!
I am not a happy bunny, but I am hopping mad.
The bureaucrats are adamant that, as we are the property owners, we must pay the outstanding water bills in full and fight to retrieve our cash from Madame S and Monsieur C! We know we would not get our money back, even if we had that amount in our bank account! But, the bureaucrats refuse to take on the debtors and have chosen to hang the debts on us. They can, and will, put an Order on our property if we don’t pay the locataires’ outstanding water bills.
So, fair warning to any and all out there who rent out their properties in France – watch your back when your locataire vacates, s/he might just leave a sting in his/her tail!
Tom and I weren’t having a bad week until the letter arrived this morning from the bureaucrats. We were still feeling pretty good after Tom’s most recent appointment with the Limoges Hospital Consultant last Friday. Medical tests and assessments results carried out in March, just before we bowled over to the Auvergne to pet-sit two delightful puss-cats, HRH and Bibi, proved without doubt that the CO poisoning sustained by Tom in 2012, in the Gers, severely damaged his throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. The damage is only minimally reversible – Tom’s oxygen level read 31% in March, it had improved to 33.8% when he was tested on Friday last week, the Consultant is hopeful that this will further improve to 40% within the coming three months. However, he warned us that 40% is the best prognosis he can offer. Accordingly, it has been recommended that Tom’s condition should be given ALD status as soon as possible. We are waiting to hear further.
For those who are not familiar with the term, ALD is the acronym for Affection de Longue Durée, ie a long term major illness. That status will ensure that Tom receives the care he needs without us having to pay 200€+ every month, the basic amount we currently pay because we have only hospital in-patient health insurance top-up.
The Consultant asked us if we planned to sue the owners of the property where the CO poisoning occurred, due to the chimney not having been swept for goodness knows how many years. We told him we will not sue, the owners genuinely believed they were helping us. In return for them putting a roof over our heads for that very short period, ie no longer than ten weeks, Paul had re-decorated the rooms they requested to be re-decorated – they supplied the materials, he is a qualified, experienced painter and decorator. Paul had also maintained their property grounds throughout the period that we were there, including strimming their grass – a heck of a lot of grass to strim, each cut took two full days to complete! In all, if he had required payment for his work, the facture would have been for an approximate amount of 1,400€.
When we arrived at the property in the Gers, we discovered there were burst water pipes, caused by exceptionally cold weather and inadequate insulation (that’s what the plumber told us). We called out a plumber who repaired the pipes, four pipes in all. We paid the plumber’s repair bill and we told the property owners not to worry about it as we needed the water in order to live there, allbeit for only a few weeks. Stands to reason, we needed the water, they were in the UK and didn’t need the water!
A couple of hours after we received the bureaucrats’ bombshell this morning, Paul received an email from the owners of the property in the Gers, they are demanding 120€ from us towards their electricity bill!
Is there anybody else out there who wants a pound of our flesh? Just jump on the bandwagon, you might as well, it’s a free ride!