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One Down, One To Go – Maybe!

25 Mar

Three of us have just spent the lion’s share of a week a few kilometres inland from our favourite French beach, ie Saint-Georges-de-Didonne in the Charente-Maritime. We have visited just about every coastal area in France, from Brittany southward and from Nice westward, and we have yet to find a cleaner stretch of sand than the Saint-Georges beach. If anyone who is reading this has a hankering for a seaside holiday in France, I personally recommend Saint-Georges and immediate neighbour, Royan. Superb!

Our fourth family unit member, our son, was working for a wonderful couple inland, Gilly and Dave, pulling down a rather large shed! There can’t be many things that appeal more to menfolk than demolition! My other two menfolk and I slept soundly in the holiday home of yet another lovely friend, a super pal who has offered, on more than one occasion, to lobby the French judiciary by wearing a sandwich-board bearing words to the effect, ‘Justice for the Hobo Family’, whilst traipsing the main streets of Paris! This might present as being a tad unlikely to happen, but, believe me, that is not the case where this straight as a flying arrow friend is concerned!!

Anyway, during our few days of separation, an urgent request for pet/house sitters came our way, from a friend who lives on the outskirts of Civray. The super lady who contacted us, and who will remain anonymous, has much greater need than ours at this time. We still have the keys to the Gers property of our friends who live in the UK – we had only envisaged being away for 5 days, 6 days maximum with travelling, and we also needed to get to the Cantal to tackle the issue of having no French Income Tax Declaration documents, yet again! But, to reiterate, our friend’s need is more pressing than ours. So, we decided to drop off our two youngest family members to start the pet/house sit, Tom and I then planned to travel down to the Cantal to engage in this year’s inevitable battle with the bureaucrats! From there, Tom would drop me back at the pet/house sit to join our lads, and he would continue down to the Gers, returning to Civray to collect our lads and me in a couple of weeks. 

Good planning – not! Temperatures on the Atlantic coast barely crawled out of single figures; other than on the Tuesday afternoon, the weather was persistently cold and wet, biting winds chewed through our lightweight clothing, it was a really damp, icy, miserable week! The highlights were super lunches with Gilly and Dave, and with our lovely friends, Sue, Tchica and Elmo aka El Nino! At least we felt normal, not at all like hobos! In fact, all round, we were pampered – we appreciated that more than words can ever say.

Sadly, Tom’s breathing became more laboured as the days passed, and we knew he was fighting yet another severe chest infection come the day that we travelled to collect our son. Despite the many inhalers, the antibiotics, the steroids, the nebuliser that provides a limited period of time pumping oxygen into his lungs, Tom really does need better medical care and a stable lifestyle. We are so hopeful that 2012 will see an end to our years as hobos living in France. But, we fear we still have more mountains to climb before we even get a sniff of justice!

So, tomorrow, Tom will visit a local doctor and, once again, will be put back on his feet – for a little while at least, Bless him. The Cantal bureaucrats will just have to wait. Voila!

However, while we were off-line, an email came in from our friend and former neighbour, Madame ZC, I picked it up yesterday. It appears that the cadastre has been true to the word he gave in November 2010 – our hairdressing locataire (who is, and always has been, without a tenancy contract) has submitted her Notice of intention to quit our house that’s not our home!

To recap – after continuously querying the annual Tax Foncier cost, we were advised by letter sent from the Cadastral in 2010 that the property has always been, and will always be, residential only, due to it’s proximity to the village Church. The cadastre further advised us that both locataires, ie Monsieur C and the hairdresser, must find alternative accommodation/business premises, and the Cadastral would, as a matter of legal necessity, enforce that requirement.

Well, it has taken sixteen months, but, it appears that it’s now ‘one virtually down, one more to go’!

Do we envisage problems? Yes, we do, this is France! The hairdresser owes just under €4,000 for unpaid water bills. The Tresor Public has demanded that we must pay the unpaid bills, we have refused to pay; we advised the Tresor Public to cut off the water supply if the bills remained outstanding. The situation has been at a stalemate level for some considerable time.

If the hairdresser moves out of the property without paying her unpaid water rates, the onus of responsibility for payment of those unpaid bills legally falls on Tom and me – despite the fact that the hairdresser should not have been operating her business in our property, she has never had a rental lease or any kind of contract with us. We didn’t even know she existed until months after we purchased the property – the sellers, the notaire, the Immobilier, the former hairdresser, all had been aware of her impending takeover of the hairdressing business. Nobody informed us, we were told, by the Immobilier, the notaire and the original hairdresser, that the hairdressing business would be closed at the end of the 9 years commercial lease period in December 2007. We were given copy of an Attestation that confirmed what we were told. 

Madame ZC has advised us that the hairdresser actually had her Notice delivered by l’huissier (a French bailiff), a service for which she would have been required to pay. In fact, all the hairdresser needed to do was to send a Registered letter to Tom and me, and sending the letter to our house that’s not a home would have been legally considered as good enough! Tenants have virtually all the rights here in France, landlords (willing or not!) have very few rights. Certainly, a tenant who does not give Notice is very unlikely to be pursued, it is too costly in both time, effort and money!

Why has the hairdresser gone to time, trouble and expense to notify us, via l’huissier, that she is vacating? Well, we may be exhibiting classic signs of paranoia – that wouldn’t surprise me, but we honestly believe the hairdresser’s action heralds more trouble to come! I will be speaking with l’huissier tomorrow, for as long as my mobile credit lasts, after Tom has been seen by a doctor.

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8 responses to “One Down, One To Go – Maybe!

  1. catherine

    March 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve been away for a month, just getting caught up. Hope Tom’s health is on the mend.

    I think I would put something in writing to the various authorities that while you have received the hairdresser’s notice to quit the property, you were never her landlord, having never issued or signed a contract or accepted any type of rent, monetary or otherwise. So, she is not giving notice to you as her landlord but to the owner of the property she has unlawfully been using and abusing (use of water to which she had no right).

    How do these peopke get away with it? Worse than the squatters’ rights in England!

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Catherine, hope you and yours have really enjoyed your break; it’s lovely to see you. Yes, what you have suggested is precisely what we are going to do – copies will also be sent to the Cour de Cassation and to the ECHR, in addition to copies of the hairdresser’s letter of Notice! They get away with it because French laws are so archaic; many tenancy laws are Napoleonic. Napoleon was a good guy where protecting the rights of common folks was concerned in his own era, but, unfortunately, his laws are not realistic in the 21st Century! Repealing those laws and passing Bills and Acts for new laws will take massive funding, which France does not have! So, the judiciary are expected to ensure many Cases go to Appeal and to the Cour de Cassation, in order that victims like us pay for repealing of French laws! In our Case, that judicial expectation backfired when we ran out of money and applied for legal aid! Warmest regards from us all, Chrissie and family xxxx

       
  2. Sarah Hague (@sazen)

    March 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I understand your concern. In your case, nothing is straight-forward and things keep coming back to bite you.

    I hope Tom is feeling better.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

      Hi Sarah, you’re so right! After losing the Riom Appeal we decided that we would never again accept anything on face value, not even the (unexpected) positivity of an avocat! Nowadays, we investigate each and every nook and cranny before we move one foot in front of the other. Some might call that scepticism, we call it risk assessment! Hence, although the results of my telephone conversation with the Maitre at l’Huissier’s office in Mauriac were positive, family and I will remain alert until Tom and I travel to Champagnac, via Mauriac, to collect the documents that are there for us. However, we are extremely hopeful, as we must be, without hope and positivity we would never have got this far! Warmest regards, Chrissie

       
  3. cialis preis

    April 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    gleich als waren es nur jene Krankheiten:)

     
    • hobosinfrance

      April 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Hi cialis preis, Ich bin nicht sicher Ihrer Bedeutung aber Danke für das Lesen über meine Familie die Situation in Frankreich. Chrissie

       
  4. seo

    April 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      April 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      Hello seo, sincere apologies for not responding earlier, family and I have been ‘on the road’, as hobos often are! Many thanks for taking the time to comment, I’m pleased that you found the information you needed, and thank you very much for your support. Kindest regards, Chrissie

       

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