Monsieur MA, the avocat, had patiently listened as we told him everything. I asked him if our property insurance policy might cover us for payment of any legal fees, he said he would look at our policy and let us know. In the meantime, we were to send all relevant documents to him, he would assess and let us know if we had a case for claiming back our money and moving on. Within an hour, we were standing at the photocopier in the village La Poste copying some 60+ documents. The originals had to be sent to Monsieur MA, but we kept copies, as you do! The documents were posted to Monsieur MA, we have never seen them since.
We crossed the road between La Poste and our property, heading back – couldn’t look at the house, we both felt sick. As we approached the front door, Madame A, the hairdresser, called us into the shop, she looked worried. Madame A congratulated us on our purchase and asked us if we had been informed about her planned departure in December. We confirmed that we had been informed, but she still looked worried. She then asked us if we had been informed about the sale of her business. Tom and I just shook our heads, I asked Madame A how the sale of her business was relevant to us. She then told us she had sold her rental Lease to another hairdresser who would be working with her from late October until the hand-over planned for December; she added that she had informed the Immo months before, ie before we paid the purchase deposit for the house.
I asked Madame A for a copy of the Contract between her and her Lease buyer, she immediately went into the back of the shop, took a document from a filing cabinet and handed it to me. It was an Attestation, and the sale had been agreed by the proprietor, Madame T, aka the female half of our sellers, around the date when we had made our formal offer to buy the property. I pointed out to Madame A that an Attestation is not a Contract of Sale. She nodded and explained that the Contract was held by the notaire. I asked her for the notaire’s contact details, she wrote down the information – her acting notaire was the same notaire who had conducted our property purchase! With great difficulty, Tom and I thanked Madame A and returned to the telephone to contact avocat Monsieur MA, he was out of the office. We posted a copy of Madame A’s Attestation to the avocat.
Later that day, our architect, Monsieur G, contacted us and asked if we could visit his office before 5pm, if convenient. We confirmed we would be there by 4:30pm, wondering if something else was going to slap us in the face before bedtime! Not a bad guess, as things turned out! Reality of life!
Architect, Monsieur G, confided to us about his long association with the Immo, they had even gone to school together. He also cautioned us about the Immo’s ‘less than honest business style’. Apparently, the Immo had contacted Monsieur G that morning, by telephone, and had asked if we intended to continue with the renovation works. Monsieur G told us he had made clear to the Immo that it was not his business to know anything about our intentions or expectations. Monsieur G then made us coffee and we told him the entire story to that date. He told us he was not at all surprised, pointed out certain facts about the commissioned works (I will clarify later) and offered his full support. We gratefully accepted that offer.
Monsieur G eventually offered hard evidence to support us for two Tribunal (Court) hearings spanning 2+ years. His documentary evidence was not presented to the first Tribunal, that was due to Monsieur MA and his incompetence – incompetence that led to him being dismissed by his Boss. But, that’s another story! Monsieur G’s hard evidence was largely ignored by the Appeal Court in December 2009.