RSS

Just Jump On The Bandwagon!

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! 

Advertisement
 
22 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FNAIM Says ‘Non’!

FNAIM’s letter arrived this morning and, in all honesty, we did not expect anything different to what was written! Here’s a reproduction of the contents of the response to our request to FNAIM to consider the new documentary evidence that we sent to them, evidence that unreservedly proves the Immobilier, who was supposed to be acting for us, actually assisted with setting us up. Deceiving clinker-plonker!  

Dated: PARIS, le 7 mars 2014

“Objet: litige Agence F IMMOBILIER

Madame, Monsieur,

Nous accusons réception de votre nouveau courrier le 19 février 2014 concernant l’affaire qui vous oppose à l’Agence F IMMOBILIER.

Nous ne pouvons que vous confirmer les termes de notre correspondence du 29 novembre 2013.

La FNAIM ne peut allier au-delà de la décision rendue par les tribunaux dans ce dossier.

Nous vous prions d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de nos salutations distinguées.”

Brief translation of the main points – ‘We acknowledge your correspondence of the 19 February 2014 concerning your opposition to the real estate agent F. We confirm the terms of our correspondence of 29 Novembre 2013. FNAIM cannot go beyond the decision of the tribunals in this case. Please accept, Madam, Sir, the assurances of our highest consideration.’

There we go, FNAIM told Monsieur C (in writing) in 2007 that they would not intervene until after the Courts had made a final Judgement. Ambiguous, or what!

So, will we let this one go, do you think? Let the lying, scheming, cheating, greedy Immobilier continue to play his part in destroying the lives, hopes and dreams of other buyers? Absolutely not! But, we will put this on the back burner for the time being, according to an old (not pleasant!) proverb, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’

Oh, yes, there is, bad publicity can sink a business even more quickly than an iceberg can sink a liner!

We are still waiting for a response from the Chambre des Notaires. We know they received our letter and the enclosed new evidence, the signed AR receipt was returned to us within a couple of days of us posting the letter and document to them, last month.

Mmmmmmm, I wonder if this is the stage where we are, once again, told that we sent an empty envelope! Oh la la!

I have to say, before I toddle off into the glorious sunshine – Spring has certainly arrived in the Haute-Vienne – there are many super, professional, honest, decent, hard-working Immobiliers out there, we have met quite a few on our travels around France. This blog post is relevant only to the Immobilier who helped to truss us up like turkeys! If anyone who is reading my blog is an Immobilier who is interested in helping us to sell our ‘pile’, please, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We are honest folks, unreserved honesty is all that we ask from real estate agents in return.

There is a Contact route on our website, Tom and I will be in the Cantal, l’Auvergne, at the house, from 1st April for at least a week. Yes, this year! Oh, and the property is sold with vacant possession – it feels so good to type those words!

Here’s the link to our website –

http://frenchvillagehouse4sale.weebly.com/

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 8, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

“One Small Step…….”

When I started writing this blog post, well over two weeks ago, the title was, ‘Move Over, Victor – I Don’t Believe It!’ But, I did not feel comfortable with that title, I’m not a natural whinger and the world is filled with folks who have far more to whinge about than I do.

Yes, I was upset because my third puter in 5 years had suddenly died on me. I lost all my emails and my email contacts list, and I knew I had unopened emails to answer. Within the past 24 hours, my techie-brilliant son has been able to access and retrieve my emails and contacts list, I will be replying to those previously unopened emails later today. Thank you, Paul, you really are a wizard of the cyber-world.

Hopefully, that’s alright, then. This ancient puter that has been loaned to me will do the jobbit that I require of it – and, I’ll happily put up with the fact that it ‘moves’ too slowly to catch a virus and the keyboard sounds like a big bass drum as I type! Chuckle!

Not only did Netbook 3 bite the dust, but I was quietly waiting for the final results of a multitude of tests that would tell me, once and for all, why I have been feeling like death warmed up for months, since the end of last summer. But, on reflection, I would not have been the only little old lady in that position, I bet there were thousands, if not millions, of us in the same boat. Self-pity is not attractive, it’s boring and totally non-productive. So, I told myself, ‘get your act together, Hobo Chrissie, man up’. And, I did, I manned up!

Anyway, results of the various medical tests offered me a bit of a double whammy, the first part being a benign skin cancer on my right shin (Histiocytosis). Operative word – benign. That will teach me to appreciate that I am not immortal, wearing shorts virtually all the year round means I must also ‘cream up’ virtually all the year round! But, here’s the surprise factor – it seems that the benign skin tumour may have evolved from an ant bite!

I had noticed in November last year that a cluster of ant bites weren’t healing, the pesky insects had made a meal of my right leg way back in August. I am very sensitive to bites and stings, no matter what insect takes a fancy to my flesh and blood! However, after travelling to the (beautiful) Puy de Dome, I’d had an arthritis ‘flare’ and that took my mind off the still persistently itching ant bites. Trying to find some relief from the arthritis pain, I visited a very helpful pharmacist to check out some natural remedies that were recommended by super friends. The pharmacist pointed out to me that one of the ant bites seemed to be ulcerating and she advised me, strongly, to visit a doctor. I followed her advice, but not until after Christmas. You see, being a hobo for so long definitely gave me a false sense of security. Hobo Chrissie, you are NOT immortal, take that on board!

Suffice to say, eventually, the doctor here in the Haute-Vienne packed me off for a thousand and one tests (ok, a thousand and one is a bit of an over the top description!) and I was hit straight between the eyes by the double whammy! The benign skin tumour became the least of my worries, the second part of the whammy was looking like it could well be leukaemia. Can you see where Victor Meldrew’s catch-phrase comes into this? Sheesh!

But, it isn’t leukaemia, not at this stage. My various pills and potions, the ones that have grown on me over the years, have now been joined by truly enormous once-daily ‘bombs’ that are sulphur coloured and contain just about all vitamins and minerals known to womankind (it doesn’t have to be mankind!). Regular monitoring should ensure that deterioration does not arrive by stealth!

That’s alright, then. Sorted! What the heck did I have to whinge about? Nothing. Relax, Victor, I’m leaving your catch-phrase alone, on this occasion. Wink!

Back to the tale in hand.

Just before Netbook 3 expired, I wrote to the Law Society, Toulouse Board, to let them know we were still waiting for our file, including our Property Deeds, to arrive from our third and last avocat, Maitre AB. Despite having been assured by the Law Society, last November, that Maitre AB would be sending our file to us, sans plus tarder, aka without delay, she had not done so. I told the Board in my letter that it was no surprise to us, but, it was frustrating because we need our Property Deeds to be in hand before we begin the serious business of selling ‘the pile’.

During the past few days, we have received the following:

1. From the Law Society, Toulouse Board, copy of a (clearly) irritable missive addressed to Maitre AB, demanding (yes, demanding!) that she send our file to us without further delay. Love it!

2. From the Law Society, Toulouse Board, copy of another missive addressed to Maitre AB, informing her that the Board is ready to convene to determine if we were failed by our legal representatives during our vice cache proceedings.

3. On Friday 28 February 2014 – we received a very large package from Maitre AB. It required two signatures on two separate documents before Madame Post-lady could possibly hand the package to us. Bless her, Madame Post-lady is a lovely lass, always smiling, always cheerful, with the most expressive eyebrows I have seen in my life! She was “positive” that the package contained “good news, Monsieur et Madame”, her eyebrows were in total agreement with her words – they were above her hairline (eat your heart out, Mister Spock!), and she sported a wall-to-wall grin that actually brought the sun out from behind swiftly dissipating storm clouds!

Madame Post-lady’s eyebrows, grin and assurance were not wrong. The package contained a very polite, extremely civil, letter from Maitre AB, accompanied by our entire vice cache file including our Property Deeds!

YES! “One small step……….”, and a battle won! 

Next time? “Four Become Seven – Back To The Auvergne”. Honestly!  

 
16 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Disciplinary Hearings And An Immo Up A Gum Tree!

Tom and I have received two formal, written notifications, as follows:

The first to arrive was from the Ordre des Avocats in Toulouse, equivalent to a regional Law Society in the UK. The writer was the same gentleman who swiftly contacted us when we made our initial complaints about the incompetence of our first avocat, Maitre MA, and about our missing Property Deeds that should have been returned to us, in our file, by our third and last avocat, Maitre AB.

We have been given a Case number and both avocats will face a Disciplinary Board; we will be notified of the outcomes in due course.

So far, so good! Although, it now looks very likely that one of our avocats has lost our Property Deeds! Maitre AB assured the Ordre several weeks ago that our Deeds would be returned to us in our file without delay, she was the last avocat to have our file. Our file has not arrived, our Deeds have not arrived. The ‘pile’ is on the market and we need the Property Deeds!

Some time ago, when we were a couple of years into our house Case, we came to the conclusion that, in France, one often hires an avocat then does the work for the avocat! We reached that conclusion from our own experiences with Maitre MA and Maitre AB.

So, are there any gumshoes out there? We could do with a few handy hints about how to find our Property Deeds!

The second notification came from the Chambre des Notaires in the Cantal, the overseeing body that has been investigating our complaints about the incompetence of the notaire who administrated our purchase and our fraudulent sellers’ sale.

We have been given a Case number, the notaire is facing a Disciplinary Board and we will be notified of the outcomes in due course.

Shame we haven’t been given dates when these disciplinary Hearings will be heard. But, I will be giving both overseeing bodies a shake next week. On Monday morning, I will be posting to them copies of a piece of vital evidence that should have been seen by the justices at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Aurillac, in 2008, or, as fresh evidence by the Judges at the Cour d’Appel in Riom, in 2009. The evidence bears a September 2007 date and was received by Maitre MA that same month, it was sent to him by…wait for it, Monsieur C! The evidence proves conclusively the following facts and I will be sending copy to FNAIM, too:

1. Our sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, committed fraud against us, vice caché. The Cour d’Appel got that right, the Judges just didn’t follow through – they would have been hard-pressed not to do the right thing if they had seen all the evidence including the document we have to hand!

2. The administrating notaire, Maitre CB, did not follow the full, correct procedures as set down in the French Civil Codes. She failed us and she failed in her duty as an agent of the French Government.

3. The Immobiliere, Monsieur F, knew about the vice caché set-up long before we completed the purchase.

4. The Immobiliere collaborated with the property insurance agent who provided us with our first Buildings and Contents Insurance policy, to ensure that we did not cotton on to the vice caché before the notaire rode off into the sunset ‘en vacance’, after the sale/purchase proceedings were completed. More about that next time!

Yoo-hoo, FNAIM! This piece of evidence was not used in the litigation proceedings. So, you can mediate now, go for it, we are waiting! Monsieur F, you have had over 6 years of swimming off the hook, despite the fact that we and all three of our avocats were convinced that you were up to your neck in vice caché pooh! You can eat your heart out – we’re on your tail! 

In the meantime, for anybody out there who is purchasing a property in France, you are not required to use the same notaire as your seller(s). You can use a different notaire, the fees will be divided between the two notaires and it will not cost you one cent extra. But, using the two notaires method could save you years, or even a lifetime, of heartbreak, discomfort, fear and homelessness. 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on January 25, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gone, But Not Forgotten – Not Yet, Anyway!

Well, Monsieur C has removed himself from our ‘pile’, but, he certainly has not removed all of his chattels!

We arrived at the house just after 4pm on Sunday 12th January 2014 – the date was very important to us, our eldest granddaughter’s 18th birthday and our youngest son’s 30th birthday! I’m so proud of my beautiful daughter, she chose to produce our first granddaughter on a January day that had already been ear-marked as a good ‘un by her mum! You can’t get more loyal and trusting than that, chuckle! 

Following a stress-free, warm, sunny journey from the Haute-Vienne in the Limousin to the Cantal in the Auvergne, we arrived at the house just before 5pm – to find the property unsecured. The lock of the main front door had been broken beyond repair. Great! That’s going to cost a few bob to repair, again! Thank goodness the guy who fitted the double-glazed windows and front door now lives just three doors along the square from our property. Cyril is a super young man and we were his first customers in the village when he started up his small business. He did a wonderful job for us, his small business has grown beyond all expectations, and, Cyril does not forget his “valued customers”.

We both also noticed the three, full rubbish bags that were, still are, parked in the entrance hall. Monsieur C had written in his letter that he would be clearing his rubbish when he returns for his remaining possessions ‘at the end of January’. Well, he “thinks” he will be able to get back to Champagnac at the end of January. We won’t hold our breath!

 

As Tom and I started legging it up the first flight of stairs, we very swiftly noticed that three of the White Oak stair spindles were broken, they had obviously been brutally knocked out of their ‘beds’ in the base rail. I had spent three weeks scrubbing and cleaning the stairs from the top of the house to the bottom, after we initially moved into the property in July 2007, bringing the wood back to near enough its original colour from oily, filthy black. Tom had carefully re-sited and secured two loose, White Oak, acorn-shaped newel caps that were worn only by history, not by ill-treatment. Our architect had wanted to replace the entire staircase with a modern alternative, we were horrified at the thought of replacing such a central section of the heart of our home, a section that remained strong, safe and serviceable after we brought it back to life through hard work, determination and lashings of TLC! Thank you, Monsieur C, not! Grrrrrrh.

So, onward and upward!

We wondered where the keys might have been left by Monsieur C. Silly clinker-plonkers – that’s us! His apartment was securely locked and it remains so. No apartment keys to be found, none left with the neighbours or dropped off to the Mairie.

Up we climbed, to the loft. The door was locked, but we have a key to that section of the property. When we entered the loft, we really were knocked for a six – metaphorically speaking, of course. It’s a huge loft, the ‘tall top hat’ on a large building. The entire loft space is strewn with rubbish. Vehicle tyres and bicycle parts, cardboard boxes, wooden planks, torn carrier-bags, broken toys, piles of shredded material including dirty duvets and pillows, smashed crockery and other ceramics, plus stuff in black bin-liners that we left undisturbed and piles of junk that we could not identify – as the King of Siam said, “Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.”!

We didn’t leave anything in the loft when the plumbing and electrics failed during the winter of 2008 and we had to move out. 

Tom and I were feeling quite devastated by this time, it didn’t help our mood to find a load of dried mud that had been traipsed up the entire staircase – clearly, Monsieur C doesn’t believe in cleaning up after himself. But, in all honesty, we discovered that fact during our brief period of living in the property! So, we locked the loft door and made our weary way back down to the First Floor apartment where we sleep when we go to the house. We manage (just!) with bottles of fresh water that we fill in the shop section and carry upstairs. Electricity arrives at the end of an extension cable, again, the shop section has been the source since the hairdresser vacated. It’s not easy, stairs don’t agree with the health of either of us, but, it’s easier on the bones than sleeping in a tent, especially when the temperature drops to minus values!

Before leaving Champagnac, we placed our ‘A Vendre, la maison + le magasin’ board on the shop section shutters and cleaned up the mud from the stairway – from the First Floor down to the bottom of the house. Tomorrow, I will be writing to Monsieur C to give him a brief outline of what we expect from a human being who is exiting somebody else’s property. The menfolk and I hope he takes it on board…but, we’re not holding breath! Would you?

Monsieur C – you might have quit our house that can never be our home, but, we can’t forget you yet, you have made sure of that!

Right then – we can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, there’s work to be done, property-selling work! Yes! We will also have a lot of clearing and cleaning to do at the end of this month, methinks!

 
18 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

For Sale – With Vacant Possession!

Well, we can now see light at the end of the long tunnel! Although, we are far from naive, we know that selling our ‘pile’ could take years and it’s a buyers’ market, with a deep recession to boot. But, here’s how the latest event came to pass.

I sincerely apologise for the delay in publishing this post, I wanted to be able to offer a link to our house sale website. Paul, thank you very much, I am so very lucky to have such a wonderfully gifted techie wizard son. Bless you.

After offering Monsieur C first refusal, we received a steady stream of letters from him. Always polite, always positive, he was adamant that his interest in buying the property was sincere and he had waited since 2007 for the opportunity to have his ‘rights’ recognised. Oh, wow! We had no idea that Monsieur C was in the same boat as us as we fought for justice through the French Courts, how blindly self-centred we have been. Sigh!

At the beginning of December, we received a rather disgruntled letter from Monsieur C. In his ramblings, he claimed that he had twice contacted the notaire we had named, in order to get the buying processes under way, but she had blatantly ignored him! We knew that would not have happened, we had hand-picked the notaire following several recommendations from British folks who had moved into the area after our house Case started.

The menfolk and I sat down for a pow-wow and I suggested that Monsieur C was just having a laugh at our expense and we should call his bluff. I’m usually the one who urges caution! But, I could foresee, without a crystal ball, that Monsieur C would lead us up the garden path for at least a couple of years!

However, the menfolk said we should wait a little longer, we couldn’t afford for Monsieur C to throw one of his infamous wobblies and withdraw from the purchase proceedings for several weeks, or even months!

They had a very valid point. But, I was certain that Monsieur C had absolutely no intention of buying ‘the pile’! So, the reply that I sent to him dripped with empathy, although, it was laced with iron filings!

I was very apologetic about our notaire’s alleged tardiness and I told Monsieur C we would not tolerate it, he had obviously suffered greatly (yuk!) during the years since Tom and I had purchased the property (heave!). I confirmed to him that we would collect him from the house on Thursday 23rd January 2014 at 2:15pm, so that we could all attend a 2:45pm meeting, together, with the notaire. I reminded Monsieur C that he had received all the necessary property Reports, also, that he had expressed his satisfaction and readiness, formally in writing, with regard to proceeding to signing the compromis de vente and paying the deposit.

Bearing in mind, I went on to say, that the notaire did not appear to view his offer as sincere, Tom and I would accept a very low deposit of just 2000€ as a measure of our faith in him. I asked Monsieur C to confirm with us by return of post that the appointment time and date were convenient to him and I posted the letter with just a tiny flutter of a qualm. I was determined that Monsieur C would not add more misery to the lives of my family.

But, I am not a naturally dishonest person, I swear. Throughout December, all through the festive season and into 2014, I waited and suffered! My blood-pressure rocketed, my beta-blocker medication needed to be doubled and my menfolk thought I had turned into a mad, maudlin banshee! What if……?

On Wednesday 8th January, the lovely La Poste lady delivered Monsieur C’s latest missive to us….oh boy, I was shaking when I recognised his beautiful, copperplate hand-writing and opened the envelope. What if……?

The first sentence hit me straight between the eyes, quick translation – ‘It is done!! I moved out of the Champagnac rental property on the 31st December 2013.’ Monsieur C went on to offer his unconditional support and said, ‘In my humble opinion, you need to pursue the notaire (who administrated our purchase of the pile), concentrate your efforts on that quest….I will give evidence in support of you.’

Hmmmmmmm, right then!

Needless to say, we took steps to confirm there was no doubt that Monsieur C was not bluffing again – confirmed, he has gone, he is now living in Mussidan, in the Dordogne.

So, here we go, this is just the start, all contributed suggestions will be gratefully received and acknowledged. Tomorrow, we will be heading to the pile to batten down any open hatches and to take a lot of photographs!

http://frenchvillagehouse4sale.weebly.com/

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2014 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ding Dong Merrily – A High!

Ding dong merrily – a high,

The avocats are singing!

Ding dong, verily say I,

Their excuses are all minging!

Having survived several bouts of handbags at dawn as SFR and France Telecom battled for supremacy whilst we languished without internet connection for an entire month, I’m delighted to return to the land of techie living! Although, I do wonder how long this uneasy truce will last, a degraded line and a drop in mb power to accommodate that poorly line have been firmly established as an existing double whammy force with which we will need to grapple again in the not so distant future, I’m certain of that!

Well, this is France – c’est la vie!

During our enforced techie silence, snail mail has been slipping back and forth between me and a couple of overseeing bodies. Bless ’em, not one has accused us of posting empty envelopes to their offices, they’re proving to be far more honourable than a certain clerk in the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide in Paris!

Have we progressed?

Well, le batonnet (French barrister) who is acting for the equivalent to the Law Society office, Toulouse, and who is handling our complaints about our first and third avocats, was the first overseer to respond, very seriously and quickly, to our initial letter outlining our full package of complaints. Since that first exchange of correspondence, our first avocat, Maitre MA (let’s give him his title, although, he didn’t have any respect for us, obviously!), has admitted via le batonnet some of his faults; he has held up his hand to a number of his negligent errors that occurred throughout the course of his administrations relevant to our vice caché Case.

As correspondence gathered pace and content, it emerged that Maitre MA had appealed his dismissal from the Cabinet where he was employed during those early days when he was supposed to have been collating evidence and building our Case for the Grande l’Instance Court. His appeal was also dismissed. ‘Nuff said!

Although Maitre MA put up his hand to much negligence, and that negligence might well have condemned our Case to failure from day one, he could not resist passing some of the buck to our third avocat, Maitre AB.

The section of buck that Maitre MA attempted to pass to Maitre AB concerns our missing (apparently!) Property Deeds, the Property Deeds that Maitre MA was adamant he required to hold in his little hot hand before he could file our Case at the Grande l’Instance Court. His insistence was based on his ‘professional need’ to ‘finalise the return of the property to the sellers at the earliest, after the justices announce their Judgement’.

What a load of rubbish! As things currently stand, it appears that our Property Deeds may have been lost in the “mess” found in Maitre MA’s office following his dismissal! Or, perhaps, he took our Property Deeds with him, along with other sections of our file that were missing when our second avocat took over our vice caché Case? Who knows, we don’t! Maitre J, our second avocat – who collated sufficient evidence out of the wreckage left behind by Maitre MA to ensure recognition by the Appeal Court Judges of our sellers’ fraud – told us she could not find the Deeds in the “mess”. We believed her without reservation, that lovely lady did a wonderful job for us against all odds. Our third avocat, Maitre AB, clearly did not ever see our Deeds – although, she has admitted ignoring our plight and our requests for our file to be returned to us!

Anyway, you’re out of luck with your attempt to pass the buck regarding our missing Property Deeds, Maitre MA. Hah!

We are now waiting for a decision to come from le batonnet at the Ordre des Avocats, Toulouse. Our Case could be returned to the Cour d’Appel, Riom, for further consideration and a fresh Judgement. Or, bearing in mind that we have a potential buyer, ie our longstanding tenant, Monsieur C, who has made his intentions clear in writing (more about this later) and copies have been sent to the various overseeing bodies , we could be awarded compensation by the Ordre des Avocats, rather than the Case being thrown back into the litigation swamp. Or, we could simply receive a letter that drips empathy, sympathy, shock and horror – and nothing else!

In the meantime, the Board at the Chambre des notaires du Cantal is also now considering the evidence supporting our claim that the notaire who administrated our property purchase failed us miserably! More about that later, too!

FNAIM, aka La Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier, is the overseeing organisation that, supposedly, protects the interests of French Immobiliers (estate agents) and their clients! Last week, we received our first response from FNAIM to the letter that we sent to all the overseeing bodies on 15 November 2013. Here’s a link to the full Monty for anybody who can be bothered:

http://www.fnaim.fr/3574-qui-sommes-nous-.htm

Wow! They’re quick on the draw – not!

Interesting response, too!

Well – no surprises!

FNAIM have told us, in their letter, that they can’t/won’t get involved because we took the Case to the Courts, simple as that!

Ah, but, late in 2007, Monsieur C complained to FNAIM that our Immobilier, Monsieur F, was harassing him to move out of the property that we had recently purchased. We knew nothing about the harassment until Monsieur C told us about it in 2008. FNAIM replied that they could not/would not get involved until after Court proceedings had concluded with a Judgement. We have a copy of that letter!

Oh my! Cette ambiguïté! One for the Ombudsman, methinks, we need to give him/her something to do!

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on December 11, 2013 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dare We Even Begin To Hope?

This morning, we received a letter from the Ordre des Avocats at the Cour de Toulouse, aka the Regional Law Society that is investigating the incompetence of our first and third solicitors, Maitre MA and Maitre AB, respectively.

We were very surprised to receive the response so quickly, but we are delighted! We’re not sure if the Post Office will be open tomorrow morning, as tomorrow will be a public holiday – at least, the afternoon will be a public holiday, ie All Saints Day. However, if we can’t post our response to the Ordre des Avocats tomorrow morning, we will get it off on Saturday, or Monday at the latest. In the cover letter received, we have been asked to submit any evidence we might have to further support our complaints made against Maitre MA.

Pas de problème!

When our response, with any evidence, is received by the Ordre des Avocats, a decision will be made by them regarding our complaints against Maitre MA. We don’t know for sure, but we think Maitre AB may well have already passed our file to the Ordre des Avocats.

The cover letter was accompanied by a copy of Maitre MA’s response to the complaints we have laid against him. Here’s the gist of his response.

He stated that our house Case was complicated, but he said he had collated sufficient evidence for our Grand l’Instance hearing to proceed in our favour, and he also stated that his hard work had benefited his former Cabinet (Company).

Really? We disagree.

We will provide evidence to the Ordre des Avocats proving conclusively that Maitre MA did not obtain the following witnesses’ Attestations (Statements) and documents for presenting to the Grand l’Instance Court. Without the presentation of the following Attestations and documents, vital evidence, we didn’t stand a remote chance of winning at the Grand l’Instance:

  1. The architect’s Attestation – he had offered to provide Maitre MA with the documents and Plannings drawn up in April 2007 that confirmed we would not proceed with the purchase if we could not have a lift installed in the garage to take us to the first floor. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not contact the architect, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  2. Madame B’s Attestation (a French neighbour) – she had offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we attempted to return to the notaire, during the afternoon on the Thursday that we completed our property purchase, but she was emphatically told by the notaire’s secretary that the notaire had left the office and would be away on holiday for two weeks. Madame B had also offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we returned to the notaire, two weeks later, to complain about the presence of Monsieur C in the property, also to complain that we could not have the lift installed as Monsieur C was adamant that he had sole use of the garage. Madame B could have added a lot of weight to our vice caché evidence and the fact that the notaire was not prepared to consider the facts, ie primarily, that she had been instrumental in permitting a vice caché situation. Maitre MA was given her contact details, but did not even contact Madame B, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  3. Monsieur C’s Attestation – he had offered to provide documents to Maitre MA, ie copies of his rental contract and household insurance policy, to prove he had been an existing tenant of our sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, for a period of eight years before we purchased the property that was signed over to us as being free of constraints and for our use only. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not even contact Monsieur C, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  4. Copies of the medical documents we had to hand to prove that we required, as a matter of undeniable necessity, the means to traverse the property from ground to first floor without using stairs, ie the lift installation was an essential requirement by us if we were to proceed with the property purchase. Copies of the documents should have been presented with the architect’s supporting documents and Plannings to the justices at the Grand l’Instance Court hearing. We told Maitre MA (in writing) that we had the medical documents, but he advised us that he did not need to use them. Of course he did, as was proved when those documents were presented to the Cour d’Appel in Riom over a year later, after the Grand l’Instance hearing. Maitre MA did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

 Maitre MA admitted in his response to the Ordre des Avocats that he had been dismissed by his previous Cabinet, but he did not confirm the reason(s). He chose not to respond to our complaints about his incompetence.

In his response, Maitre MA chose to throw blame for our missing Deeds at our third avocat, Maitre AB. However, he admitted that he received the Deeds from us. Our second avocat, Maitre JJ, stated that the Deeds were not immediately found in our file when she dismissed Maitre MA and took on our Case herself, but she added that our file was very bulky and she may have missed the Deeds during her first search, she said she would look again once she had collated the new evidence (as I have given above) for Appeal presentation. Maitre JJ was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery just a few days before our Appeal was heard. Sadly, we now know she did not recover. Therefore, the Deeds are, either, still in the file, or, they were lost by Maitre MA and were never passed to our third avocat, Maitre AB – her incompetence lies in the fact that she did not return our file to us, with or without our Deeds.

We will confirm the above in our response to the Ordres des Avocats.

Maitre MA confirmed in his response that we had paid all fees in full. He denied sending us further bills for additional work that he had not done. But, copies of those extra bills are in our file (we have the originals stored at the house), ie the file that Maitre AB did not return to us when we requested. Also in our file are the letters we sent to Maitre JJ, with copies of the bills, in which we complained about being sent additional bills by Maitre MA for work that was not clarified.

I mustn’t forget, in our file, there is also copy of the coup de grace that stopped Maitre MA’s money-grabbing shenanigans and contributed to his dismissal – ie the letter we received from our second avocat, Maitre JJ, aka Maitre MA’s boss, from whom he had very recently parted company, in which she told us we were not to pay any further bills sent to us by Maitre MA.

As it appears possible that the Ordre des Avocats have now received our file from Maitre AB, we’re fairly certain they will have more than enough evidence of incompetence and lies to consider!

Are you confused? If not, can you please assist us with deciphering the text above so that we can write our response to the Ordre des Avocats? Chuckle!

We really would like to begin hoping, but, with complete honesty, I can tell you we dare not! 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farewell L’Auvergne…Until The Next Time!

This afternoon, Sunday 27 October 2013, the menfolk and I will be packed and ready to hit the road again, 24 hours earlier than originally expected. We will be leaving the magnificent Auvergne puys and heading back to the relatively flat lands of the northern part of the Haute-Vienne.

We have become good friends with the resident dog, cat and chooks. Despite our canine friend clearly feeling below par for the first couple of days after we arrived, he has been a chirpy, happy chappy since recovering. Our feline friend is a real character and she is welcome to rule our roost any time! Florence and Elizabeth are the most un-fowl chooks we have ever had the good fortune to meet!

We wish we weren’t going and that’s a fact! But, we must, and, a huge plus, we know we will be returning to the home of a friend who couldn’t have supported us more than she has done throughout the past fifteen months, specifically. So, the thought of seeing Kay on Tuesday lightens our hearts and makes us smile. Although we have been homeless since early in 2008, we don’t feel homeless when we return to Kay’s home. That feeling of belonging is worth gold-dust to us.

During the months since the ‘birth’ of this blog, and before and since that advent via forums, Facebook and Twitter, I have been asked many questions about our hobo lifestyle and the reasons why we were forced to leave our house that’s not a home. Most of those questions have been relevant, a few have been accompanied by sarcasm or disbelief, most have been asked because many folks haven’t read my blog page by page. That’s fine, our story doesn’t interest all and we expected and appreciate that choice is the preference of the individual.

However, I started this blog at the suggestion of one specific friend, called Jane, who supported my wish to ensure as many folks as I could possibly ‘reach’ would be made aware of the totally hidden, soul-destroying evil of vice caché associated with property buying in France. Family and I will do everything in our power to ensure no other family goes through what we have endured here.

Therefore, for those who are planning to purchase a property in this beautiful country, here are a selection of questions, with my answers, that folks have put to me during the past 6 years. You may find I have answered many of the questions in my blog pages, or when responding to comments made by readers and followers of my blog – there are near enough half a million folks, around the globe, who have read at least one page. That makes me feel very humble, I’m not a professional writer and I am sure my writing style very probably makes better writers cringe! But, I do my best, often in very difficult circumstance that are not conducive to producing anywhere near good enough grammar and spelling. I don’t carry a dictionary or a thesaurus, and, when I don’t have immediate access to Wifi, Google can’t be my best friend! Also, I usually forget to proof read and edit when the opportunity to access Wifi suddenly arises!

FAQs

Q Will you be writing a book?

A Yes. But, probably to the relief of many, I have requested assistance with the writing from a very good friend who is a widely recognised, extremely competent writer, she has agreed to help me. Phew!

Q When will you write the book?

A The first book is already in draft form. I am now working on the sequel. But, a book needs a beginning, a middle and an end – I’m waiting for the end to arrive!

Q Will you name names?

A Yes. If folks can’t identify the culprits, they could fall victims to the same incompetence, at the hands of the same so-called professionals, that scuppered us!

Q Is the first book all doom and gloom?

A Of course not! We are not about doom and gloom, we are survivors! Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…….” That’s spot on, in my opinion, and, oh boy, we certainly have not known what we were going to get from one day to the next – life has not been ordinary, normal, mundane, boring for us throughout the past six years, chuckle!

Q How did you get into your current situation? Didn’t you do your homework before moving to France?

A Yes, we did our homework, three years of researching and visiting France during all four seasons, north, south, east, west and central. We read up on the real life horrors that others had suffered when purchasing properties in France. We also spoke with folks who had moved to France and who moved back to the UK for a variety of reasons.

Q Did you really move to France with sufficient funds?

A Yes. We moved to France with just under 250,000 euros. We planned to spend no more than 150,000 euros on purchasing a property, including renovating/modernising it to suit our family needs. We were well within budget when everything came to a halt. It took just three years for our remaining funds to be drained by legal fees and our hobo lifestyle. Camping site fees are far from cheap; fuel and car maintenance/repairs were phenomenal – we have travelled over 200,000kms since early in 2008.

Q Why did you leave the property you had purchased?

A When vice caché proceedings commence, no changes can be made to the property, that is French law, not even minor repairs. We started vice caché proceedings within hours of property purchase completion. Temporary electrical and plumbing works completely failed after eight months of us moving into the property. We had no running water, no sanitation and no safe electricity supply.

Q Have the tenants paid rent to you?

A Not directly. Our first avocat told us we could not, in law, refuse to accept the rent, but, to accept the rent would have been considered by the Courts as accepting the tenants. Catch-22! So, we battled to have the rent accepted directly by the taxes foncier and d’habitation bureaucrats, ie equivalent to the Council Tax officials in the UK. The annual rental income just covered the annual property taxes, it has always been paid directly to the French equivalent of Council Tax office. Therefore, we have not directly received the rent throughout the past 6+ years.

Q Wouldn’t it have been better for you to return to Britain and continue the legal proceedings from there?

A No. We moved to France for reasons that remain, today, as strong and constant as they were in March 2007. Also, if we had returned to Britain and ran out of money to fund the proceedings, we could not have received Legal Aid from either country. Britain would not have been legally bound to help us, rightly so, the property is in France. France would not have been legally bound to help us, rightly or wrongly, we would have been resident in Britain. Although, eventually, our Legal Aid application was rejected in France, the reason for that rejection is still to be investigated, it was an unfair (at best), possibly corrupt (at worst), decision made by a clerk.

Q With hindsight, could you have done anything different that might have changed the course of history before it occurred?

A Yes. With hindsight, we could have continued travelling south in March 2007, to Gaillac in the Midi-Pyrenees. That was our intended destination when we left the UK on 6th March 2007. However, then, we would not have discovered what we believe is the most beautiful Region in France, the Auvergne.

Q Do you still feel that France is the country where you should remain?

A Yes. France is our home. We do not hold the country or the French people responsible for our plight. We were defrauded by one couple, ie the sellers, and that fraud was assisted by an incompetent notaire, two incompetent avocats and, in our united opinion as a family, a greedy Immobilier.

Q Do you feel you have suffered greatly through your experiences of the past six years?

A Tom and I have definitely suffered. We both moved to France with pre-existing health issues that could have caused one or both of us to pop our clogs at any time. Our often harsh lifestyle during the past six years has made things much more difficult for us. Losing toes to excruciatingly painful gangrene initiated by frostbite has certainly been Tom’s worst experience over all, although, his deteriorating health, due to advancing emphysema, has been our greatest concern. However, our lads have gained from our experiences of the past six years; grandson is definitely far more healthy than he was when we first hit the road!

Q Do you know other folks who have been caught up in a vice caché property nightmare in France?

A Yes. During the past four years, I have been put in touch with 107 families who are caught in the vice caché trap. I have no doubt that we and those 107 families are merely the tip of an iceberg!

Q Has anything been said to you, relevant to your long fight for justice, that you feel you will never forget?

A Yes. I can quote, virtually word for word, the comment of a British Immobilier who lives and works in France. He said, ‘Chrissie, if the world’s Press get a hold of your family’s horrific story, I might as well sell up and return to the UK. Your experiences, and your treatment at the hands of the French judicial system, will scupper real estate sales in France for many years to come.’

Well, that’s not what we hope to attain. But, we do hope the publicising of our fight for French justice will go some way towards preventing Napoleon’s archaic Civil Codes destroying the lives of others who fall foul of seemingly protected fraudsters and their supporters.

Onward, and upward!

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Down – Two, No, Three To Go!

We have received a very welcome message from our lovely friend, Kay. Kay is receiving our mail at her home in the Haute-Vienne while we’re in the Auvergne, pet/house sitting.

Before leaving Kay’s home just over a week ago, we asked her to open any mail that arrived for us from the overseeing bodies for notaires, avocats and Immobiliers, also from the Cantal Ombudsman. We also asked her to let us know the contents of any such letters via email or Facebook private message. Kay is English and she speaks, reads and writes fluent French, she is truly bi-lingual.

Immediately prior to leaving the Haute-Vienne for the Auvergne, Tom and I had received a swift response to our letter of complaints about our first and third avocats. We were advised by the French equivalent of the national Law Society to send copy of our complaints to the regional Law Society in Toulouse, the city where all three of our avocats are based. We followed that advice last Saturday, 19 October 2013.

This is a reproduction of the Facebook private message that we have received from Kay:

“Hi Chrissie

Good news!

As promised an important looking letter so I have opened it for you…

It is a letter from the Ordre des avocats at Toulouse Courts; a same day reply too and in French it says…

Toulouse le 21 Octobre 2013

Ref: GM678213(ML) Dossier No G 7934 AFF. BAXTER Me AB

Dear Sir and Madame

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated the 7th October, received this day the 21st.

I am immediately interrogating both MA and AB and will be getting back to you.

Yours sincerely etc.

Fredric DOUCHEZ

Hope things are now moving in the right direction for you all Love Kay”

I have removed both avocats’ full names, leaving initials only, the time to name and shame is still not here.

One day soon…………..!

So, the overseeing body for Cantal notaires is now investigating our complaints, and the regional overseeing body for Toulouse avocats is also investigating our complaints.

FNAIM (Immobiliers aka real estate agents) and the Cantal Ombudsman to go. Oh, and a decision to be made by our tenant, Monsieur C, regarding whether or not he wishes to buy the pile. 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in World

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,