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Truth Will Out, But Who Will Benefit?

22 Oct

During the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time writing letters, and translating them to the best of my ability, to the three main governing bodies that are reputed to exercise some form of control over the real estate agents, the solicitors, and the notaires of France, predominantly, in the Cantal Department, for obvious reasons.

Just for the Hell of it, I copied our six years long tale of woe to the Cantal Ombudsman who also determines the facts and solutions when Human Rights appear to have been breached. Well, what the heck, in for a cent…in for a euro!

Between the composing, all verifiable and well documented facts of course, the writing, the translating and researching to ascertain the correct governing bodies and relevant addresses, I have been battling with the return of chronic and, often, acute bouts of asthma! Unfortunately, I have discovered that I am still allergic to birds – just as I was 60+ years ago when the allergy was initially determined by the medical profession in Germany. Actually, I am highly allergic to the powder found in the feathers of birds, a parrot in this case!

There is a wonderful, highly intelligent, very verbal parrot in the household of our good friend who has provided family and me with a home since last summer, between pet/house sits. My allergy is not Tommy’s fault, Bless him, in fact, he is possibly just as sensitive to this Golden Oldie as I am to his feather dust! Yet, he doesn’t complain!

Anyway, onward, the letters were received by each of the four intended recipients. Well, the LRAR envelopes were received, one can’t assume that the envelopes contained anything when they were delivered – not according to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide, anyway!

To the great surprise of my menfolk and me, we received swift responses from two of the governing bodies at these offices:

Conseil Régional des Notaires d’Auvergne

10 rue Maréchal Foch

63000 CLERMONT-FERRAND

and………..

Conseil National des Barreaux

French bar Association

22 rue de Londres

75009 PARIS

The response letter we received concerning our complaints about the notaire (Maitre CB) who administrated our property purchase and the fraudulent sale of our sellers contained empathy, a clearly defined level of shock, plus the undertaking to secure our file and thoroughly investigate the complaints we have laid down before them.

The response letter received from the National French Bar Association contained the information that they would not investigate our complaints about our first and third avocats, but, they signposted us to the correct overseeing body in Toulouse. Fair enough, they even gave us the full postal address. No problem, I copied everything directly to the Regional Conseil that oversees all Toulouse avocats – sent LRAR, of course.

We’re currently pet/house sitting in our favourite mountains in the Auvergne, so, we will find out early next week, when we return to the Haute-Vienne, if FNAIM (insurers/overseeing body for French Immobiliers aka real estate agents) and the Cantal Ombudsman have responded to our complaints.

I am not accepting bets, not yet!

Having saved the best part of this particular blog page until the end of my musings for today, I must first thank my wonderful HIFF colleagues, specifically, Tracey and Pip (ladies first!), for keeping everything Hobos In France together in my absence. The HIF Forum, the Hobos Facebook Group, both of the Hobos Facebook advertising Pages, HIF Twitter Page and the Hobos brand new, just launched Google Group – Tracey and Pip, thank you both from the bottom of my heart, you are Hobo champions and the best friends anybody could ever hope for, truly.

Monsieur C, our remaining tenant, has, at long last, revealed his reason for playing his part in our six years of living as hobos in France. His revelation came in his written response to our formal letter offering him first refusal regarding the purchase of the property that is our house but can never be our home.

That offer of first refusal to existing tenants is standard law in France. It is an absolute must when selling a rented property in this country that remains firmly under the thumb of Napoleon and his centuries old Civil Codes! Whatever we think of the archaic legal system, however much we strive to persuade France that she needs to struggle and scrape herself into the 21st Century, Napoleon retains his grip and there’s little to nothing that we can do about it!

So, be aware, all or any who believe they can purchase a rental property in France, make a fortune – or, merely a living – then sell on when the novelty wears off, or the going gets tough when fortunes or world economy change, or simply because they want to move on. Luck never supercedes law in France and Napoleon’s Civil Codes are the ultimate sky-high solid wall that simply can’t be scaled or toppled!

However, it appears to be a simple matter for a law-breaker to pass on legal responsibility to an unsuspecting property buyer and walk away from the mess that ensues!

That’s what happened to us, as we have learned from Monsieur C in very recent weeks.

In reply to our offer of first refusal regarding the purchase of our property at the 2007 price, with no agency fees and only 50% of the notaire’s fee to pay, Monsieur C had until the end of November to respond, but he responded very quickly with his (seemingly sincere) thanks to us for recognising his tenancy rights. He also congratulated us on ‘knowing, acknowledging and applying French law, unlike Monsieur and Madame T’, aka our fraudulent sellers and his former landlords.

Monsieur C went on to tell us that he was interested in purchasing the property from Monsieur and Madame T in 2007, but he was not offered the opportunity and they sold to us, despite the objections that he apparently lodged with the administrating notaire. Yes, the notaire who we know as Maitre CB! Hence, the forming of the bone of contention that has dominated the lives of my menfolk and me throughout the past six long years.

However, Monsieur C then confirmed in his letter that he might still be interested in purchasing the property – from us. He requested time to “sleep on it”, asked us for details of the notaire we will be using to administrate a sale and requested copies of relevant documentation. By return of post, we sent all requested details and documentation (including the necessary Energy Report etc) to Monsieur C – via LRAR, of course! We also included copies of our letters of complaint sent to the overseeing bodies and the Ombudsman. Why? No stand-alone reason, it just seemed to be the right thing to do at the time – Monsieur C has long complained about his treatment at the hands of our fraudulent sellers and the equally guilty notaire, Immobilier and our first avocat.

En route to the Puy-de-Dome to start our current pet/house sit, we called in to our house that’s not our home in the Cantal – both Departments are in the breathtakingly beautiful and as yet unspoiled Auvergne Region. We spoke with Monsieur C, he was open and friendly – and seemed to be somewhat relieved and happy! He told us he would be in touch about purchasing the property very soon, he would be attending a relevant rendez-vous the following day.

On this aspect, I am taking bets!

I’m thinking along the lines of world recession, France still teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, property prices in the Auvergne in 2007 and now, our lifestyle and our need for a settled home, Monsieur C’s knowledge of our circumstances……………my bet is that Monsieur C will offer us a pittance! He knows all about Napoleon’s Civil Codes, too, and if in doubt, one of his sons is an avocat! He will know that if we refuse his offer, we will not be able to sell at a higher price than he offers without a legal wrangle and clear evidence that his offer is unreasonable!

Bets – any takers? Or, do you think I’m being rather cynical and a tad paranoid?

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10 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2013 in World

 

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10 responses to “Truth Will Out, But Who Will Benefit?

  1. Lavinia Pearce

    October 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Your determination continues to amaze me! I hope it all sorts itself out soon!

    Lavinia

     
    • hobosinfrance

      October 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Lavinia, it’s lovely to e-see you and we all hope you and Robert are well? Thank you very much for your continued support, it really means such a lot to us. We’ll get there, one day! Law of averages is a law that can’t be corrupted! Love to you both from us all, Chrissie & menfolk xx

       
  2. catherine

    October 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Wishing you all the best. Concerned about your asthma, hope it is improving. Do you have both emergency and steady-state medication? Has it been classified longue durée so you are covered 100% for anything asthma-related?

     
    • hobosinfrance

      October 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Catherine, am having to pay for all meds at the moment – my RSI cover stopped on the 30th September and my CPAM cover hasn’t yet taken over because my passport needed to be updated! All in hand, but you know how it works here, or doesn’t work, I must wait for the bureaucrats to complete their huffing and puffing! I already have 3 ALDs, diabetes and two issues associated with congenital heart disease – so, for the time being, Tom is sharing his ‘puffers’ with me, the same meds that he uses for emphysema and associated asthma have got me through a very sticky period. Fortunately, my asthma just disappeared within 24 hours of us arriving back here in the Auvergne, a brief respite before we return to the Haute-Vienne. Just a thought – Tom was emphatically told by his doctor, just weeks ago, that asthma is no longer classified in France as an ALD, no matter what the cause or severity level. I think I’ll be checking that out! Hope all’s well with you and yours? C xx

       
  3. Pip

    October 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    A mighty brief visit to read your latest missive. I am busy closing up the house for the winter and leave at the crack of dawn, well before dawn really, tomorrow to go home to my beloved who I left behind when I left on Saturday.
    Have no fear for HIFF as Tracey is doing all the work and I am just jogging along looking for problems or suggesting more work for her.
    I am sorry to say that I fear you may well be right about Monsieur’s intentions – it would be par for the course.
    Must be something in the air down there!!
    I almost feel guilty when we arrive in our village as we are welcomed like returning natives and I constantly thank whatever powers there be that we had nothing like the problems you had despite having a tenant in part of our house when we bought it.
    Your guts and grits never ceases to amaze me. That sounds like your speciality in a southern USA kitchen!
    Good health returning soon I hope. Bit of a reversal of the famous expression “Sick as a parrot.”
    Love to you all.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      October 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Hello Pip, and, as always, your words put a cushion under the hope family and I carry in our hearts – after we have picked ourselves up from the floor where we end up rolling with laughter at your wonderful humour! 🙂 Poor Tommy, thank goodness he’ll never understand how ill he makes me feel, love him!

      I have no fears whatever for HIFF, I know everything Hobos is safe in yours and Tracey’s hands, although, I can’t wait to get back onto the forum, I must admit, I really miss our non-Faceache members! Hopefully, tomorrow.

      Your experience when you arrive in your village is as it should be, Pip, it’s also how it is for us, ‘our’ neighbours have apparently never stopped hoping that we would eventually win our Case and return to Champagnac to buy another property there! But, in August, Tom and I had to let ‘our’ immediate neighbours know that we will definitely not be buying again in the same village – too many sad memories and we don’t feel we could ever go back.

      Have a safe journey, Pip, and our love to you and Kim.

      Chrissie, Tom, Paul & Z xxxx

       
  4. Chris and Martin

    October 22, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Well, Chrissie, I hope you do sell – but I also hope you get a decent price! If anyone deserves a bit of luck it is you and your family. 🙂

     
    • hobosinfrance

      October 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Hello Chris, it’s brilliant to e-see you. 🙂 You and Martin also have had more than your fair share of worry and pain this year! We all hope you’re now well on the way to attaining a full recovery. In complete honesty, Chris, if Monsieur C offers us Mickey Mouse money, we’ll have to challenge his idea of realistic property pricing to be able to sell if we reject his offer – we could initiate such a challenge through a notaire, I’m currently researching the hows and whys! 😉 However, if Monsieur C offers us a low but realistic price, enough for us to purchase another property that will be our home, we will take it – and start afresh! Tom and Paul have good, professional skills in building works, plus, we have family in the UK who are also professionally skilled in all aspects of building works, they are just waiting for us to yell for their assistance, and we will if we’re given that chance to need the assistance! Love to you both from all of us, C & menfolk xxxx

       
  5. Jean

    October 23, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    If he offers you a pittance, will you take it?
    Would it be worth it to cut your losses and draw a line under the whole sorry tale?
    What happens if you don’t accept? Wait until he dies – or can his relatives carry on with the tenancy? (I think I read that somewhere.)
    If the previous owners (his landlords) sold without giving him first refusal and seem to have got away with it, could you have done the same, even though you know it’s not legal and morally wrong.

    Good luck anyway.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      October 25, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      Hello Jean, many thanks for your interest and your support, both are much appreciated. We are aware that Monsieur C can’t offer us less than 55,000€, that is the lowest price any notaire will put on the property if it is to remain a rental property; we strongly suspect that would be Monsieur C’s ultimate intention. As it was destined to be a family home when we purchased, that 55,000€ would leave us losing well over 100,000€ if that’s what Monsieur C offers. But, yes, we would accept his offer to get our lives back! It’s as simple as that.

      If we didn’t accept Monsieur C’s offer, we would have to prove it unrealistic to be able to sell at a higher price to another buyer!

      Yes, if Monsieur C should depart this world, either of his two sons could continue his tenancy.

      No, we would not have got away with not offering him first refusal – we know he was waiting for us to attempt to take that path!

      Warmest regards, Chrissie

       

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