With a regular income now under our belts, and our son was still managing to find a little low paid work for a few days each month, as a registered self-employed labourer in the Autoentrepreneur (AE) system, and despite the bite of the recession, we really believed our luck was turning. How foolish of us!
We received mail forwarded from Champagnac by Madame ZC, and we felt like burning the lot, as usual! The resident locataire, Monsieur C, had suffered a burst water-pipe towards the end of the winter. Naturally, he could not be expected to go without fresh, running water, washing and shower facilities, and his wc. So, not knowing how long it would take Madame ZC to contact us, Monsieur C had called an emergency plumber. The repairs were carried out, and Monsieur C had signed the devis (quotation) with Tom’s name! He then gave the devis to Madame ZC to forward to us for payment directly to the plumber, who was approximately 5 hours drive away from our location.
Was Monsieur C legally permitted to do all that? Apparently so, according to the staff at the Tresor Public when I telephoned the water rates section. The young clerk told me, authoritatively, that Monsieur C was responsible for paying his water bills, but we, the property owners, were responsible for paying for repairs to the water-pipes. I asked if Monsieur C was legally enabled to sign formal documents, ie the devis, using Tom’s name. There was a sigh and an audible Gallic Shrug, but no verbal response. I thought about that for a few seconds, then I let the clerk know what Tom and I would do. The clerk laughed – he sounded genuinely amused – then he said, “Madame, you will go to prison for harassment.” I laughed with him and told him that I would then, at least, have a warm bed off the ground. The clerk chuckled and wished me good luck, he sounded as though he meant that, too!
I located the letter, with other documents wrapped in a water-proof bag in the car boot, that Monsieur C had addressed to Tom and me two years before, and in which he had refused, point-blank, to have any repairs or restoration works carried out on any part of the property included in his Rental Contract. I photocopied the letter, and the devis, and I wrote a cover letter. I put the cover letter, copy of Monsieur C’s letter of refusal, and copy of the devis into an envelope, addressed it to Monsieur C, and I posted it to him by registered mail later that day. In the cover letter, I wrote, “This is a well-known saying, you can’t have your cake and eat it. We do hope you are now much more comfortable. Kind regards….” We have never heard any further about that burst water-pipe.
But, the Tresor Public enjoyed a lot of fun and games at the expense of our well-being throughout 2010, and that is ongoing.
The hairdresser, ie the young woman who is a non-resident, commercial locataire who operates from the residential, strictly non-commercial property, without a Lease or a Rental Contract, refuses to pay her water rates unless we sign a 9 years Lease Agreement for her to continue operating. Tom and I have just received an updated water facture from the Tresor Public, they insist that we must pay it, we refuse. The new facture stands at just under €1,900. We had never met that young woman until 4 months after we purchased the house that can never be our home.