Monsieur C Is A Very Happy Bunny!

30 Apr

So, the hairdresser will be moving out on 30 September 2012, but what about Monsieur C? No! He will not be moving out any time soon! In fact, he’ll possibly only need to move out in a box! Then, we would have more problems as one of his children could step into his tenancy shoes. French law is marvellous, it is very protective, but not if you’re an existing victim of fraud!

As a starter, it appears that his tenancy has the highest level of legal protection in France, I will explain, and he is further opposing eviction on grounds that he is a resident in the property, his tenancy is not commercial.

To clarify Monsieur C’s tenancy protection. It was revealed during our recent visit to Champagnac that Monsieur C was ‘placed’ in the property by the Social Services. We have no more details as that would ‘breach his human rights’, but the fact was confirmed by the former village Mayor, Monsieur G. It appears that our sellers were not given opportunity to refuse Monsieur C a tenancy agreement, the Social Services rule the roost in such cases.

No wonder our sellers felt the need to resort to fraud to sell the property, Monsieur C had apparently informed them that he would not move out to permit them to sell the house without a sitting tenant comfortably in situ.

Where can we go from here, regarding Monsieur C? The short answer is ‘nowhere’! The Cadastre can’t evict him, it was made clear to us that the Church will not object to Monsieur C remaining a sitting tenant in our house that truly cannot ever be our home.

In addition to the above shock, we also received a letter from the local Trésor Public to say they will no longer be able or willing to receive the rents directly from Monsieur C and the hairdresser. We must receive the rental payments directly, and pay our building taxes directly. If we refuse to accept the rental payments (as advised by our first avocat), we are “…breaking the law, Madame, and you can both go to prison.’

Do French prisons have central heating? If so, that just might be an option!

Just before we left the house, Tom and I heard Monsieur C walking down the stairs. Then, less than 30 seconds later, he walked back up the stairs to his apartment and quietly closed his door. He was obviously aware that we were in the building, Tom has great difficulty getting up the stairs to the first floor, he doesn’t climb stairs quietly as his breathing difficulties render him sounding like a traction engine, Bless.

As we left the property, we noticed an envelope in ‘our’ mailbox. Inside the envelope, addressed to us, we found a cheque made out to us and the following note (exact words):

“Bonjour! Cheque pour le loyer d’avril 2012 plus 0,38€, ci joint pour solde de 2011. Bien le bonjour à tous.”

For those without French language knowledge, here’s the translation:

“Hello! Cheque for the April 2012 rent plus 38 cents to balance the 2011 rent payments. Good day to you all.”

Monsieur C is, indeed, a very happy bunny.

That’s not all, it appears that the hairdresser needed to move home a few weeks ago; she is now a tenant in the same Public Housing apartment that the former Mayor was going to offer to us, before he was ousted by the current Mayor. I suppose looking after one’s own is normal, in any country.


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10 responses to “Monsieur C Is A Very Happy Bunny!

  1. Pip

    April 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    How you have avoided the temptation to slip something in his water I don’t know.

    Carbon monoxide could be useful.

    • hobosinfrance

      April 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Tom did consider shutting and barricading “Mon Garage” doors when Monsieur C was in there, Pip!! 😉 But, his eldest son is an avocat, he knows all about this Case, we think he might become very suspicious if anything happens to his very fit father!! Warmest regards, Chrissie

  2. Sarah Hague (@sazen)

    April 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Surely if Social Services placed Mr C there, their action applies to him only and not to his kids. Find out how you can remove the flat from being a rental property to being reintegrated back into the house (upon his death…).

    I suggest you buy a noisy parrot and keep it downstairs squawking away until he can stand it no more…

    • hobosinfrance

      April 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      At this stage, Sarah, it will take less time to stay with the vice caché and hang on to hope. We did attempt noise pollution, he loathes pop music, but he just drove off in his car. Several hours later, he returned and told us he would call the Gendarmes if we harassed him with loud music again! So, we encouraged grandson and his friends to ‘enjoy themselves’ in the room under Monsieur C’s bed-sitting room – no good, he “love(s) the sound of playing children”! The guy has ‘sole use and enjoyment of’ virtually one-third of the building, and it’s a three-storeys tall building! He has lots of space he can use to escape noise! C x

  3. fly in the web

    April 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Did the sellers enter into an agreement with a housing association by any chance…..the association do renovations and can then let the part of the property renovated.
    In the nearby town this was a mighty scam on the part of owners of large buildings….they were tied for nine years and then had a renovated property at their disposal. Oddly enough, only the well connected seemed to be able to enter into these agreements…
    Since this started the old town centre has become a haunt of drug users,tattoo artists and owners of pit bulls – but only for nine years…..

    Clearly, win the viche cache and Monsieur C becomes the sellers’ problem….but I think I’d be tempted to talk to Social Services and see what they can tell you – you might drop on someone who could explain how it was that his tenancy came about.

    • hobosinfrance

      April 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      No agreement with a housing association, but I know that has been a major problem for several people (all British) during the past few years. 😦 The bulk of the information we have about the tenant came from the village (former) Mayor. He was, still is, seething about our situation, he is also a doctor, our GP! He told us about Monsieur C suddenly turning up at the village municipal camping site with an old tourer caravan in which he lived until the SS intervened. Apparently, Monsieur C paid no site fees for the duration of his stay, and he refused to move when the Mayor ordered him off site for the winter periods! The Mayor tried to invoke legal proceedings, but that’s when the SS stepped in! Our sellers had several rental properties, including the property that we bought, and it seems that the SS press-ganged our sellers into renting to Monsieur C. I asked the Mayor aka our GP if Monsieur C was considered to be a danger to children (thinking about grandson), he replied, “No, not children, but he is a very nasty person, and you both need to be careful.” We couldn’t draw out any further information. Warmest regards, Chrissie

  4. sallyschateaux

    April 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    How sickening, I know exactly how frustrated you both must feel, there seems to be no ‘normal’ protection in France whatsover, if I hear the words ‘this would never happen in England’ again I shall scream, how very very true though !

    • hobosinfrance

      April 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Hi Sally, many thanks for your comment, and for your support. No, our situation would not happen ‘in England’, because England & Wales laws, together with European laws, would prevent that. The huge problems with French laws relate to the vast number of Napoleonic laws that France is struggling to repeal, but can’t afford to repeal! So, folks like my family and me must suffer the consequences of an archaic French judicial mess, in order that Napoleonic laws can be repealed one by one at the expense of the victims! We actually ‘won’ our Appeal in the Riom Appeal Court, but Napoleonic law gave victory to our sellers, despite the justices ‘recognising’ the fraud. You’re quite right, there’s no ‘normal’ protection in France, 300+ years old laws can’t possibly equate with the 21st Century! Warmest regards, Chrissie

  5. Tink Bastian (@tinkbastian)

    May 1, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Dear Chrissie, I know your situation too well. Having lived in France, Britanny, as expats before moving to the USA. Britanny is as you know also an area where many Brits live and a couple of the friends we made went through the same fraud cases. Luckily we were only renters, a choice we wisely made before we would decide to settle there for good. True, French law is very protective of the renters. After reading your blog from the beginning I was wondering if you and the family ever considered, now you know Monsieur C. never has to move and probably never will, to offer the house as a real rental property and find yourself another place to live? It seems you can not win this war, no matter how unfair it is, maybe joining them instead of fighting them will have better results? My heart goes out to you all though and I admire your strength and persistence! We moved away from France because we were tired of fighting/dealing with the system and we didn’t even have property. Still my husband as a one man company/free lance worker had oodles of bureaucracy to deal with. Strangely enough I _do_ love France and do miss the way of life.

    • hobosinfrance

      May 2, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Hello Tink, many thanks for your comment, your interest, and for your support, all very much appreciated. During the past 4+ years, we have met (personally or via the internet) many folks who have needed to battle their way through the French justice system, as we are doing. Many gave up the fight, lost virtually everything they worked for during their entire working lives; others are still battling! In all cases, the biggest losses have been health and well-being, closely followed by property and money. When we purchased our French property, we were fully aware that in the region of €40,000 needed to be spent on it to renovate and modernise. As French law forbids any works to be carried out on a property at the centre of judicial proceedings, we could not have the works carried out. The lion’s share of the €50,000 we had put to one side for the works has been spent on legal fees and the additional costs of living as we do! Our life savings went the same way. People really do not have any idea how expensive it is to live as we have done, and as we still do! Without those essential renovations, we can’t rent out the rest of the property, we can’t even live in the approximately 40% of the house that’s not currently occupied by the tenants – no electricity and no sanitation, and that’s apart from the stairs that Tom can’t climb now! It’s even more than a Catch-22 situation! So, if we don’t keep fighting for justice, we will eventually lose the property anyway! We’re absolutely certain the State of France will welcome the opportunity to take it from us on any grounds they can think of to do that! The house was purchased for our retirement, and as our children’s inheritance at that inevitable time in the future, we are determined to see this through to the (possibly bitter!) end. Always, in the forefront, we think about what will happen if we don’t see this through, nothing will be done to even minimise the current certainty that our situation will be suffered by others in the future. Nothing will prevent France doing this over and over again to other families, whatever their nationalities. It must be stopped, and only a higher judicial power than the Cour de Cassation can do that. Hence, the reason why we also filed at the ECHR when we did. Fraud and deception should never be permitted to impact on lives as our sellers’ fraud and deception has impacted on our lives. With total honesty, I can tell you that Tom and I are extremely weary, our nomadic lifestyle does not come naturally to us, and it is taking a huge toll on our health, more so during the past year than during the earlier years. But, we still manage to scrape the strength from somewhere to meet each day as it comes! So, although I can clearly see your point, ie ‘joining them instead of fighting them’, that simply is not possible. Kindest regards, Chrissie


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