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Dare We Even Begin To Hope?

This morning, we received a letter from the Ordre des Avocats at the Cour de Toulouse, aka the Regional Law Society that is investigating the incompetence of our first and third solicitors, Maitre MA and Maitre AB, respectively.

We were very surprised to receive the response so quickly, but we are delighted! We’re not sure if the Post Office will be open tomorrow morning, as tomorrow will be a public holiday – at least, the afternoon will be a public holiday, ie All Saints Day. However, if we can’t post our response to the Ordre des Avocats tomorrow morning, we will get it off on Saturday, or Monday at the latest. In the cover letter received, we have been asked to submit any evidence we might have to further support our complaints made against Maitre MA.

Pas de problème!

When our response, with any evidence, is received by the Ordre des Avocats, a decision will be made by them regarding our complaints against Maitre MA. We don’t know for sure, but we think Maitre AB may well have already passed our file to the Ordre des Avocats.

The cover letter was accompanied by a copy of Maitre MA’s response to the complaints we have laid against him. Here’s the gist of his response.

He stated that our house Case was complicated, but he said he had collated sufficient evidence for our Grand l’Instance hearing to proceed in our favour, and he also stated that his hard work had benefited his former Cabinet (Company).

Really? We disagree.

We will provide evidence to the Ordre des Avocats proving conclusively that Maitre MA did not obtain the following witnesses’ Attestations (Statements) and documents for presenting to the Grand l’Instance Court. Without the presentation of the following Attestations and documents, vital evidence, we didn’t stand a remote chance of winning at the Grand l’Instance:

  1. The architect’s Attestation – he had offered to provide Maitre MA with the documents and Plannings drawn up in April 2007 that confirmed we would not proceed with the purchase if we could not have a lift installed in the garage to take us to the first floor. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not contact the architect, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  2. Madame B’s Attestation (a French neighbour) – she had offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we attempted to return to the notaire, during the afternoon on the Thursday that we completed our property purchase, but she was emphatically told by the notaire’s secretary that the notaire had left the office and would be away on holiday for two weeks. Madame B had also offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we returned to the notaire, two weeks later, to complain about the presence of Monsieur C in the property, also to complain that we could not have the lift installed as Monsieur C was adamant that he had sole use of the garage. Madame B could have added a lot of weight to our vice caché evidence and the fact that the notaire was not prepared to consider the facts, ie primarily, that she had been instrumental in permitting a vice caché situation. Maitre MA was given her contact details, but did not even contact Madame B, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  3. Monsieur C’s Attestation – he had offered to provide documents to Maitre MA, ie copies of his rental contract and household insurance policy, to prove he had been an existing tenant of our sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, for a period of eight years before we purchased the property that was signed over to us as being free of constraints and for our use only. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not even contact Monsieur C, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  4. Copies of the medical documents we had to hand to prove that we required, as a matter of undeniable necessity, the means to traverse the property from ground to first floor without using stairs, ie the lift installation was an essential requirement by us if we were to proceed with the property purchase. Copies of the documents should have been presented with the architect’s supporting documents and Plannings to the justices at the Grand l’Instance Court hearing. We told Maitre MA (in writing) that we had the medical documents, but he advised us that he did not need to use them. Of course he did, as was proved when those documents were presented to the Cour d’Appel in Riom over a year later, after the Grand l’Instance hearing. Maitre MA did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

 Maitre MA admitted in his response to the Ordre des Avocats that he had been dismissed by his previous Cabinet, but he did not confirm the reason(s). He chose not to respond to our complaints about his incompetence.

In his response, Maitre MA chose to throw blame for our missing Deeds at our third avocat, Maitre AB. However, he admitted that he received the Deeds from us. Our second avocat, Maitre JJ, stated that the Deeds were not immediately found in our file when she dismissed Maitre MA and took on our Case herself, but she added that our file was very bulky and she may have missed the Deeds during her first search, she said she would look again once she had collated the new evidence (as I have given above) for Appeal presentation. Maitre JJ was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery just a few days before our Appeal was heard. Sadly, we now know she did not recover. Therefore, the Deeds are, either, still in the file, or, they were lost by Maitre MA and were never passed to our third avocat, Maitre AB – her incompetence lies in the fact that she did not return our file to us, with or without our Deeds.

We will confirm the above in our response to the Ordres des Avocats.

Maitre MA confirmed in his response that we had paid all fees in full. He denied sending us further bills for additional work that he had not done. But, copies of those extra bills are in our file (we have the originals stored at the house), ie the file that Maitre AB did not return to us when we requested. Also in our file are the letters we sent to Maitre JJ, with copies of the bills, in which we complained about being sent additional bills by Maitre MA for work that was not clarified.

I mustn’t forget, in our file, there is also copy of the coup de grace that stopped Maitre MA’s money-grabbing shenanigans and contributed to his dismissal – ie the letter we received from our second avocat, Maitre JJ, aka Maitre MA’s boss, from whom he had very recently parted company, in which she told us we were not to pay any further bills sent to us by Maitre MA.

As it appears possible that the Ordre des Avocats have now received our file from Maitre AB, we’re fairly certain they will have more than enough evidence of incompetence and lies to consider!

Are you confused? If not, can you please assist us with deciphering the text above so that we can write our response to the Ordre des Avocats? Chuckle!

We really would like to begin hoping, but, with complete honesty, I can tell you we dare not! 

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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in World

 

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Farewell L’Auvergne…Until The Next Time!

This afternoon, Sunday 27 October 2013, the menfolk and I will be packed and ready to hit the road again, 24 hours earlier than originally expected. We will be leaving the magnificent Auvergne puys and heading back to the relatively flat lands of the northern part of the Haute-Vienne.

We have become good friends with the resident dog, cat and chooks. Despite our canine friend clearly feeling below par for the first couple of days after we arrived, he has been a chirpy, happy chappy since recovering. Our feline friend is a real character and she is welcome to rule our roost any time! Florence and Elizabeth are the most un-fowl chooks we have ever had the good fortune to meet!

We wish we weren’t going and that’s a fact! But, we must, and, a huge plus, we know we will be returning to the home of a friend who couldn’t have supported us more than she has done throughout the past fifteen months, specifically. So, the thought of seeing Kay on Tuesday lightens our hearts and makes us smile. Although we have been homeless since early in 2008, we don’t feel homeless when we return to Kay’s home. That feeling of belonging is worth gold-dust to us.

During the months since the ‘birth’ of this blog, and before and since that advent via forums, Facebook and Twitter, I have been asked many questions about our hobo lifestyle and the reasons why we were forced to leave our house that’s not a home. Most of those questions have been relevant, a few have been accompanied by sarcasm or disbelief, most have been asked because many folks haven’t read my blog page by page. That’s fine, our story doesn’t interest all and we expected and appreciate that choice is the preference of the individual.

However, I started this blog at the suggestion of one specific friend, called Jane, who supported my wish to ensure as many folks as I could possibly ‘reach’ would be made aware of the totally hidden, soul-destroying evil of vice caché associated with property buying in France. Family and I will do everything in our power to ensure no other family goes through what we have endured here.

Therefore, for those who are planning to purchase a property in this beautiful country, here are a selection of questions, with my answers, that folks have put to me during the past 6 years. You may find I have answered many of the questions in my blog pages, or when responding to comments made by readers and followers of my blog – there are near enough half a million folks, around the globe, who have read at least one page. That makes me feel very humble, I’m not a professional writer and I am sure my writing style very probably makes better writers cringe! But, I do my best, often in very difficult circumstance that are not conducive to producing anywhere near good enough grammar and spelling. I don’t carry a dictionary or a thesaurus, and, when I don’t have immediate access to Wifi, Google can’t be my best friend! Also, I usually forget to proof read and edit when the opportunity to access Wifi suddenly arises!

FAQs

Q Will you be writing a book?

A Yes. But, probably to the relief of many, I have requested assistance with the writing from a very good friend who is a widely recognised, extremely competent writer, she has agreed to help me. Phew!

Q When will you write the book?

A The first book is already in draft form. I am now working on the sequel. But, a book needs a beginning, a middle and an end – I’m waiting for the end to arrive!

Q Will you name names?

A Yes. If folks can’t identify the culprits, they could fall victims to the same incompetence, at the hands of the same so-called professionals, that scuppered us!

Q Is the first book all doom and gloom?

A Of course not! We are not about doom and gloom, we are survivors! Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…….” That’s spot on, in my opinion, and, oh boy, we certainly have not known what we were going to get from one day to the next – life has not been ordinary, normal, mundane, boring for us throughout the past six years, chuckle!

Q How did you get into your current situation? Didn’t you do your homework before moving to France?

A Yes, we did our homework, three years of researching and visiting France during all four seasons, north, south, east, west and central. We read up on the real life horrors that others had suffered when purchasing properties in France. We also spoke with folks who had moved to France and who moved back to the UK for a variety of reasons.

Q Did you really move to France with sufficient funds?

A Yes. We moved to France with just under 250,000 euros. We planned to spend no more than 150,000 euros on purchasing a property, including renovating/modernising it to suit our family needs. We were well within budget when everything came to a halt. It took just three years for our remaining funds to be drained by legal fees and our hobo lifestyle. Camping site fees are far from cheap; fuel and car maintenance/repairs were phenomenal – we have travelled over 200,000kms since early in 2008.

Q Why did you leave the property you had purchased?

A When vice caché proceedings commence, no changes can be made to the property, that is French law, not even minor repairs. We started vice caché proceedings within hours of property purchase completion. Temporary electrical and plumbing works completely failed after eight months of us moving into the property. We had no running water, no sanitation and no safe electricity supply.

Q Have the tenants paid rent to you?

A Not directly. Our first avocat told us we could not, in law, refuse to accept the rent, but, to accept the rent would have been considered by the Courts as accepting the tenants. Catch-22! So, we battled to have the rent accepted directly by the taxes foncier and d’habitation bureaucrats, ie equivalent to the Council Tax officials in the UK. The annual rental income just covered the annual property taxes, it has always been paid directly to the French equivalent of Council Tax office. Therefore, we have not directly received the rent throughout the past 6+ years.

Q Wouldn’t it have been better for you to return to Britain and continue the legal proceedings from there?

A No. We moved to France for reasons that remain, today, as strong and constant as they were in March 2007. Also, if we had returned to Britain and ran out of money to fund the proceedings, we could not have received Legal Aid from either country. Britain would not have been legally bound to help us, rightly so, the property is in France. France would not have been legally bound to help us, rightly or wrongly, we would have been resident in Britain. Although, eventually, our Legal Aid application was rejected in France, the reason for that rejection is still to be investigated, it was an unfair (at best), possibly corrupt (at worst), decision made by a clerk.

Q With hindsight, could you have done anything different that might have changed the course of history before it occurred?

A Yes. With hindsight, we could have continued travelling south in March 2007, to Gaillac in the Midi-Pyrenees. That was our intended destination when we left the UK on 6th March 2007. However, then, we would not have discovered what we believe is the most beautiful Region in France, the Auvergne.

Q Do you still feel that France is the country where you should remain?

A Yes. France is our home. We do not hold the country or the French people responsible for our plight. We were defrauded by one couple, ie the sellers, and that fraud was assisted by an incompetent notaire, two incompetent avocats and, in our united opinion as a family, a greedy Immobilier.

Q Do you feel you have suffered greatly through your experiences of the past six years?

A Tom and I have definitely suffered. We both moved to France with pre-existing health issues that could have caused one or both of us to pop our clogs at any time. Our often harsh lifestyle during the past six years has made things much more difficult for us. Losing toes to excruciatingly painful gangrene initiated by frostbite has certainly been Tom’s worst experience over all, although, his deteriorating health, due to advancing emphysema, has been our greatest concern. However, our lads have gained from our experiences of the past six years; grandson is definitely far more healthy than he was when we first hit the road!

Q Do you know other folks who have been caught up in a vice caché property nightmare in France?

A Yes. During the past four years, I have been put in touch with 107 families who are caught in the vice caché trap. I have no doubt that we and those 107 families are merely the tip of an iceberg!

Q Has anything been said to you, relevant to your long fight for justice, that you feel you will never forget?

A Yes. I can quote, virtually word for word, the comment of a British Immobilier who lives and works in France. He said, ‘Chrissie, if the world’s Press get a hold of your family’s horrific story, I might as well sell up and return to the UK. Your experiences, and your treatment at the hands of the French judicial system, will scupper real estate sales in France for many years to come.’

Well, that’s not what we hope to attain. But, we do hope the publicising of our fight for French justice will go some way towards preventing Napoleon’s archaic Civil Codes destroying the lives of others who fall foul of seemingly protected fraudsters and their supporters.

Onward, and upward!

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in World

 

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Two Down – Two, No, Three To Go!

We have received a very welcome message from our lovely friend, Kay. Kay is receiving our mail at her home in the Haute-Vienne while we’re in the Auvergne, pet/house sitting.

Before leaving Kay’s home just over a week ago, we asked her to open any mail that arrived for us from the overseeing bodies for notaires, avocats and Immobiliers, also from the Cantal Ombudsman. We also asked her to let us know the contents of any such letters via email or Facebook private message. Kay is English and she speaks, reads and writes fluent French, she is truly bi-lingual.

Immediately prior to leaving the Haute-Vienne for the Auvergne, Tom and I had received a swift response to our letter of complaints about our first and third avocats. We were advised by the French equivalent of the national Law Society to send copy of our complaints to the regional Law Society in Toulouse, the city where all three of our avocats are based. We followed that advice last Saturday, 19 October 2013.

This is a reproduction of the Facebook private message that we have received from Kay:

“Hi Chrissie

Good news!

As promised an important looking letter so I have opened it for you…

It is a letter from the Ordre des avocats at Toulouse Courts; a same day reply too and in French it says…

Toulouse le 21 Octobre 2013

Ref: GM678213(ML) Dossier No G 7934 AFF. BAXTER Me AB

Dear Sir and Madame

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated the 7th October, received this day the 21st.

I am immediately interrogating both MA and AB and will be getting back to you.

Yours sincerely etc.

Fredric DOUCHEZ

Hope things are now moving in the right direction for you all Love Kay”

I have removed both avocats’ full names, leaving initials only, the time to name and shame is still not here.

One day soon…………..!

So, the overseeing body for Cantal notaires is now investigating our complaints, and the regional overseeing body for Toulouse avocats is also investigating our complaints.

FNAIM (Immobiliers aka real estate agents) and the Cantal Ombudsman to go. Oh, and a decision to be made by our tenant, Monsieur C, regarding whether or not he wishes to buy the pile. 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in World

 

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Truth Will Out, But Who Will Benefit?

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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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in World

 

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Twists And Turns, Tools And Tottie!

Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed our recent six days spent at ‘the pile’ in the Auvergne, despite the fact that our house is not our home and five of the days were filled with hard work!

Currently, the menfolk and I are living in the Haute-Vienne (87) in the Limousin. I have to say it is the wettest, most humid region of France, in our experience. Tom and I are both asthmatic and high humidity is our worst enemy, it’s even more problematic for us than our various allergies – and, we do have more than a few allergies between us!

However, the lovely lady, Kay, who has provided us with a roof and all home comforts in the Haute-Vienne throughout the past year, has been a true benefactor and we will forever be grateful to her. Kay, if you’re reading this, thank you from the four of us for being a pure diamond of the very highest value.

During those first five days in the Auvergne, Tom completed the repacking of all the tools that he and Paul brought with them from the UK when we moved to France in 2007. I recalled how excited and – surprisingly – organised they were when they initially unpacked all the tools and placed them in regimental array in the two sheds at the back of ‘the pile’. They were like two kids opening Christmas presents!

Whilst Tom packed downstairs, I continued to repack the possessions we had unpacked for use between moving into the house and moving back out when the sanitation failed and the electrical wiring gave us a flashing warning. By then, we had been legally advised by our first avocat that we must not make any changes or repairs to the property, due to our vice caché lawsuit.

Unfortunately, I was repacking on the bottom deck, ie in the ground floor shop area, but I was having to shift our possessions from the top deck, 5 flights up, where we had originally stored all the (still) packed boxes and the possessions we had unpacked to use. Nightmare! I will be 64 years old next month and I felt as though I was closer to 84 years old! My poor old ticker was in a right old state by the end of each day! By golly, Monsieur le Docteur, those wonderful beta blockers certainly earned their keep during those five, very huffy puffy days!

However, we completed our tasks in time to enjoy a wonderful sixth day traversing La Chaine des Puys d’Auvergne to lunch with great friends at Le Bar St. Thomas in St-Genès-la-Tourette.

Check out La Chaine des Puys d’Auvergne here, the scenery is truly amazing, it is embedded in our minds and hearts and the reason why, in a few immortal words, “We’ll be back.”! –

http://www.auvergne-tourism.com/regional-nature-parks/the-auvergne-volcanoes-park-279-2.html

You can also check out Le Bar St. Thomas, here –

http://www.barstthomas.fr/Qui-sommes-nous.html

Hi, Pat and John! Great food, super atmosphere, simply the best of everything.

Well, it’s good to share!

The lunch party was organised by ‘our Tottie’, friend to all who attended – you know who you all are, wonderful company, friendships made to last a lifetime.

But, all too soon, we needed to be heading back to Limousin humidity and another very important task! Accordingly with French law, before we can publicly place ‘the pile’ on the market, we must offer first refusal to Monsieur C.

Here’s how that commences, I have also posted this little gem on HIFF (Hobos In France Forum) and in the Hobos In France Facebook Group –

“The following information has very recently been confirmed to my family and me by a French notaire:

Before we can place our property on the market we must first invite our locataire (tenant) to purchase the property. This right is his because his lease agreement states that his apartment, located within the property, is unfurnished. A tenant with a furnished apartment in the property would not have this same right of first refusal.

Our offer to the tenant must be handed to him by the local hussier (Court Bailiff) and the tenant then has two months to accept or reject our offer. The two months period is extended to four months if the tenant needs to secure a mortgage.

If the tenant rejects our offer on grounds that he considers our asking price to be excessive, we must not proceed with selling our property to any other interested party. We must wait until the tenant either proves his case against the asking price or withdraws his objection and accepts or refuses our offer.

If the tenant initially rejects our offer but changes his mind if we accept a lower than original asking price offer from another party, we must return to the drawing-board with the tenant – the ball of first refusal returns to his court! The tenant then has a further month to confirm his interest or reject our offer. If he confirms his interest, he has two months to complete the transaction – four months if he requires a mortgage. If he again rejects our offer of first refusal, we can proceed with selling to another party – if there’s anyone left out there who might be interested!”

Twists and turns!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2013 in World

 

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Halcyon Days Of A French Summer……..

The months of July and August represent ‘the summer’ across France – only those two months, I should add! We can enjoy high temperatures, wall-to-wall sunshine, picnics by the lakes and on coastal beaches, from as early as mid-April right through to mid-November. But, July and August are the only summer months that are recognised as such by the French people.

During those two months, the famous laid-back French lifestyle adopts the stance of supine! Heaven help the householder whose plumbing springs a leak, or the car-owner whose exhaust drops off, or even the victim of fraud whose life has been turned upside-down and inside-out.

Finding a plumber who is not ‘en vacance’ during July and August is a true feat of determined dedication! Finding a garage mechanic to sort out the exhaust – without initially posturing, prancing and pursing lips as the calendar is scrutinised for a time and day that will not inconvenience ‘mon holiday’ – can take many frustrating days! Obtaining a Court hearing date during the hallowed months of July and August, well, forget it!

After living in France for a couple of years, it gradually clicks into place that virtually the entire French workforce is ‘en vacance’ during the months of July and August, unless the tourism industry is involved. Although, it is a fact that family and I have discovered a number of French tourist information centres with locked doors and shuttered windows during July and August. Usually, a scrap of paper sellotaped to the door proclaims something along the lines of…..‘Fermé. Raisons exceptionnelles.’ Quick translation – ‘if you’re having a summer holiday, so are we’!

Chuckle!

So, bottom line, knowing how France ticks, we were not expecting to hear from the notaire this side of mid-August, despite being advised by her assistant that she would return from her annual holiday at the end of July. In order to give her as much information as possible up-front of receiving the anticipated date of the first rendez-vous, we sent her a package that we’re fairly certain will have resulted in her feeling rather shell-shocked!

Included in the package were separate files containing the full raft of survey results and Reports that we commissioned in April 2007. We were fully aware that the sellers had procured the basic necessities, but we also required a full structural survey and written, verified confirmation that our Planning requirements would be acceptable to the local Council. Copies of our architect’s Plans, dated from April 2007 to July 2007, inclusive, showing how our ‘pile’ would have been returned to its former glory as simply a family home with a lift installed in the garage to take us to the first floor. With ‘shot’ lungs, ie advancing emphysema (Tom) and a proven dicky ticker (moi) between us, we knew a house comprising more than one storey was not for us, not without that essential lift.

Had all things been equal, the property would no longer have been an ‘apartment block’ by Christmas 2007.

Prior to tucking the beautifully bound architect’s files into the package, I couldn’t help myself – I just had to take a final look through what might have been the future for our autumn years.

What a seriously stupid error of judgement!

For hours over several days, I ran the full gamut of emotions – deep sadness, raging anger, sour bitterness, fear of an endlessly stretching, empty, homeless future for my menfolk, soul-destroying disappointment – you name it, I believe I felt it.

I didn’t post the package for almost a week. There’s no point to anybody asking me why I didn’t post it earlier, I really don’t know the answer! Suffice to say, though, as soon as I handed it over to the lovely lass in La Souterraine La Poste, a huge weight seemed to lift from my shoulders and I felt at peace, as happy as Larry in fact!

Nowt so queer as folk, eh!

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in World

 

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How The Zest Was Won…Back!

Since receiving the ECHR knock-back, family and I have been swinging back and forth between feeling defeated and depressed and positively determined! The former emotions have far outweighed the latter, I have to confess. Never mind a river, I think we have cried an ocean of tears between the four of us!

Each time we read back through the various Courts’ decisions, we find another anomaly that just should not be there. There are a couple of good examples to follow –

In the Riom Cour d’Appel judgement:

The justices declared that we had not submitted any written evidence of our need for sole use of the garage in order for a disabled persons’ lift to be installed. Monsieur C had stated (in his Attestation to the Appeal Court) that the garage was “mon garage” and he had sole use of it in accordance with his rental contract with our sellers. The justices also declared that the Plannings, produced by our architect, Monsieur G, were signed and dated July 2007, ie ‘far too late for the notaire, the sellers and the Immo to consider before completion of the sale/purchase processes’.

I’ll break that down and clarify a few points.

The justices declared that they “recognised the sellers’ fraud”. Right, then, that’s clear enough.

The justices did not acknowledge that we had not even been aware of Monsieur C and his rental contract, pre-purchase, even though Monsieur C confirmed the facts in his Attestation to the Appeal Court and the justices declared that they accepted those facts!

The justices made no mention of the original Plannings that include detailed drawings of the disabled persons’ lift – all copies hand-delivered to the notaire (by the architect), to the Immo (by us) and to the sellers (by the Immo) – signed and dated 2nd April 2007, not July 2007, ie before we even signed the Compromis de Vente!  

The justices made no mention of the copy medical documents and the EU Blue Disabled badge submitted by us as evidence!

Doesn’t it pong just a little?  

Our first avocat requested copies of all documents relevant to the property purchase. He also required the original property Deeds for ‘the property returning processes to be administered swiftly after the Judgement’, he was adamant the justices’ decision would be in our favour.

Despite telephone calls and emails from us (in January, February and March 2013), our third avocat has still not returned our file to us, including the original property Deeds!

But, never mind, the current notaire’s assistant told us that is not an insurmountable problem. We’re not so sure.

The current notaire has called for copies of all Monsieur G’s Plannings documents, including the DDT, etc. She is not able to give Monsieur C his marching orders via expiry of tenancy lease, but, she can and will send him packing when she writes to inform him that the entire property is being returned to single home status!

Wow! We didn’t know that could be done! But, obviously, our first notaire would have known it could be done in 2007!

The current notaire will apparently be handling it personally and she will be sending the legally binding formal Notifications via the people who originally placed Monsieur C in the property, the Social Services. The latter agency apparently has a duty of care to re-home Monsieur C. The notaire is a Government Agent of ‘she who must be obeyed’ status!

In the meantime, the current notaire and the European Ombudsman are in total agreement – we must now direct three separate complaints, in writing, to the ‘overseeing bodies’ for notaires, avocats and Immobiliers. The grounds, in each case, are incompetence and unprofessional conduct, we have been strongly advised to demand compensation. We have also been provided with the relevant names and addresses of the overseeing bodies.

So, that’s my job for tomorrow. No peace for the wicked!

More to come – a warning for the folks who rent out their properties in Saujon (in the Charente-Maritime) and in Poitiers (in the Poitou-Charente)! It appears that Monsieur C will probably be moving to a rental property near one of you! Er…forewarned is forearmed if you have an empty rental property at this moment! He has already checked out Saujon and he likes what he saw; he will be conducting a recce in Poitiers at some point during August!

Wink! Just thought I would let you know!

It’s now looking possible that our current notaire will not need to give Monsieur C the Order of The Boot! Although Monsieur C was seemingly quite determined to remain in our pile for eternity, when we first arrived on Sunday 7 July, he appeared to have changed his mind by Tuesday 16 July!

But, we’re not leaving anything to chance or trust – we feel that taking a chance on the locataire doing as he says he will do would be a fool’s game, and we don’t trust him as far as we can spit as individuals! We still do not have a copy of Monsieur C’s rental contract. ‘Owzat?

Also to come – how Tom and I met up with (after a number of aborted attempts!) delightful Tottie Limejuice (of the brilliant “Sell the Pig” book fame, here’s a link, Control+click to access)

http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Pig-Tottie-Limejuice/dp/1480274917?tag=duckduckgo-d-20

in company with her lovely friend, Gill (or Jill, I didn’t ask, d’oh!), in the panoramic, awesome Cantal volcanoes country! Oh boy, you have to drive over (using the bridges, of course!) and around those sheer precipices and spectacular craters to fully appreciate the beauty – and the fear!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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