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FNAIM Says ‘Non’!

FNAIM’s letter arrived this morning and, in all honesty, we did not expect anything different to what was written! Here’s a reproduction of the contents of the response to our request to FNAIM to consider the new documentary evidence that we sent to them, evidence that unreservedly proves the Immobilier, who was supposed to be acting for us, actually assisted with setting us up. Deceiving clinker-plonker!  

Dated: PARIS, le 7 mars 2014

“Objet: litige Agence F IMMOBILIER

Madame, Monsieur,

Nous accusons réception de votre nouveau courrier le 19 février 2014 concernant l’affaire qui vous oppose à l’Agence F IMMOBILIER.

Nous ne pouvons que vous confirmer les termes de notre correspondence du 29 novembre 2013.

La FNAIM ne peut allier au-delà de la décision rendue par les tribunaux dans ce dossier.

Nous vous prions d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de nos salutations distinguées.”

Brief translation of the main points – ‘We acknowledge your correspondence of the 19 February 2014 concerning your opposition to the real estate agent F. We confirm the terms of our correspondence of 29 Novembre 2013. FNAIM cannot go beyond the decision of the tribunals in this case. Please accept, Madam, Sir, the assurances of our highest consideration.’

There we go, FNAIM told Monsieur C (in writing) in 2007 that they would not intervene until after the Courts had made a final Judgement. Ambiguous, or what!

So, will we let this one go, do you think? Let the lying, scheming, cheating, greedy Immobilier continue to play his part in destroying the lives, hopes and dreams of other buyers? Absolutely not! But, we will put this on the back burner for the time being, according to an old (not pleasant!) proverb, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’

Oh, yes, there is, bad publicity can sink a business even more quickly than an iceberg can sink a liner!

We are still waiting for a response from the Chambre des Notaires. We know they received our letter and the enclosed new evidence, the signed AR receipt was returned to us within a couple of days of us posting the letter and document to them, last month.

Mmmmmmm, I wonder if this is the stage where we are, once again, told that we sent an empty envelope! Oh la la!

I have to say, before I toddle off into the glorious sunshine – Spring has certainly arrived in the Haute-Vienne – there are many super, professional, honest, decent, hard-working Immobiliers out there, we have met quite a few on our travels around France. This blog post is relevant only to the Immobilier who helped to truss us up like turkeys! If anyone who is reading my blog is an Immobilier who is interested in helping us to sell our ‘pile’, please, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We are honest folks, unreserved honesty is all that we ask from real estate agents in return.

There is a Contact route on our website, Tom and I will be in the Cantal, l’Auvergne, at the house, from 1st April for at least a week. Yes, this year! Oh, and the property is sold with vacant possession – it feels so good to type those words!

Here’s the link to our website –

http://frenchvillagehouse4sale.weebly.com/

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in World

 

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Gone, But Not Forgotten – Not Yet, Anyway!

Well, Monsieur C has removed himself from our ‘pile’, but, he certainly has not removed all of his chattels!

We arrived at the house just after 4pm on Sunday 12th January 2014 – the date was very important to us, our eldest granddaughter’s 18th birthday and our youngest son’s 30th birthday! I’m so proud of my beautiful daughter, she chose to produce our first granddaughter on a January day that had already been ear-marked as a good ‘un by her mum! You can’t get more loyal and trusting than that, chuckle! 

Following a stress-free, warm, sunny journey from the Haute-Vienne in the Limousin to the Cantal in the Auvergne, we arrived at the house just before 5pm – to find the property unsecured. The lock of the main front door had been broken beyond repair. Great! That’s going to cost a few bob to repair, again! Thank goodness the guy who fitted the double-glazed windows and front door now lives just three doors along the square from our property. Cyril is a super young man and we were his first customers in the village when he started up his small business. He did a wonderful job for us, his small business has grown beyond all expectations, and, Cyril does not forget his “valued customers”.

We both also noticed the three, full rubbish bags that were, still are, parked in the entrance hall. Monsieur C had written in his letter that he would be clearing his rubbish when he returns for his remaining possessions ‘at the end of January’. Well, he “thinks” he will be able to get back to Champagnac at the end of January. We won’t hold our breath!

 

As Tom and I started legging it up the first flight of stairs, we very swiftly noticed that three of the White Oak stair spindles were broken, they had obviously been brutally knocked out of their ‘beds’ in the base rail. I had spent three weeks scrubbing and cleaning the stairs from the top of the house to the bottom, after we initially moved into the property in July 2007, bringing the wood back to near enough its original colour from oily, filthy black. Tom had carefully re-sited and secured two loose, White Oak, acorn-shaped newel caps that were worn only by history, not by ill-treatment. Our architect had wanted to replace the entire staircase with a modern alternative, we were horrified at the thought of replacing such a central section of the heart of our home, a section that remained strong, safe and serviceable after we brought it back to life through hard work, determination and lashings of TLC! Thank you, Monsieur C, not! Grrrrrrh.

So, onward and upward!

We wondered where the keys might have been left by Monsieur C. Silly clinker-plonkers – that’s us! His apartment was securely locked and it remains so. No apartment keys to be found, none left with the neighbours or dropped off to the Mairie.

Up we climbed, to the loft. The door was locked, but we have a key to that section of the property. When we entered the loft, we really were knocked for a six – metaphorically speaking, of course. It’s a huge loft, the ‘tall top hat’ on a large building. The entire loft space is strewn with rubbish. Vehicle tyres and bicycle parts, cardboard boxes, wooden planks, torn carrier-bags, broken toys, piles of shredded material including dirty duvets and pillows, smashed crockery and other ceramics, plus stuff in black bin-liners that we left undisturbed and piles of junk that we could not identify – as the King of Siam said, “Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.”!

We didn’t leave anything in the loft when the plumbing and electrics failed during the winter of 2008 and we had to move out. 

Tom and I were feeling quite devastated by this time, it didn’t help our mood to find a load of dried mud that had been traipsed up the entire staircase – clearly, Monsieur C doesn’t believe in cleaning up after himself. But, in all honesty, we discovered that fact during our brief period of living in the property! So, we locked the loft door and made our weary way back down to the First Floor apartment where we sleep when we go to the house. We manage (just!) with bottles of fresh water that we fill in the shop section and carry upstairs. Electricity arrives at the end of an extension cable, again, the shop section has been the source since the hairdresser vacated. It’s not easy, stairs don’t agree with the health of either of us, but, it’s easier on the bones than sleeping in a tent, especially when the temperature drops to minus values!

Before leaving Champagnac, we placed our ‘A Vendre, la maison + le magasin’ board on the shop section shutters and cleaned up the mud from the stairway – from the First Floor down to the bottom of the house. Tomorrow, I will be writing to Monsieur C to give him a brief outline of what we expect from a human being who is exiting somebody else’s property. The menfolk and I hope he takes it on board…but, we’re not holding breath! Would you?

Monsieur C – you might have quit our house that can never be our home, but, we can’t forget you yet, you have made sure of that!

Right then – we can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, there’s work to be done, property-selling work! Yes! We will also have a lot of clearing and cleaning to do at the end of this month, methinks!

 
18 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2014 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. 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 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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Moving Back To The Cantal!

Since our house Case started, family and I have often wondered if our biggest error was made when we didn’t carry on down-country to settle in the Midi-Pyrenees. The Midi-Pyrenees was where we were heading to in 2007, but the mountains of the Auvergne were Sirens that persuaded us to end our house search there! However, in recent weeks, we have reached the conclusion that the Auvergne was, and remains, right for us, individually and as a family unit.

We miss the Sirens! Tom and I miss the relatively good health we enjoyed in the Cantal, and we all miss the space, soaring Golden Eagles, green lizards with blue heads, rural peace, crisp ‘dry’ snow that melts without leaving filthy slush for days on end, dry heat with relatively low humidity, spectacular storms that follow the meandering rivers and crackle and drum-roll below the top of the high plateau where our house is located. We miss the excitement of discovering exotic orchids that long ago disappeared from the British countryside – not just one or two orchids, but fields filled with orchids! We also miss the kindness of the villagers who made us feel welcome, valued and valuable. Only a handful of folks are responsible for our plight.  

The house we purchased was our primary home, not a holiday home, and we were the first British family to buy a primary residence in the village. We burned our bridges before leaving the UK, sold our house and most chattels, bought one-way tickets and moved to France – lock, stock and barrel!

Of course, those who have read my blog from day one will already know our house that’s not a home is the only property in the world that we own. But, other folks, who have cherry-picked – for whatever reason – when reading my blog, don’t know about that fact. In recent weeks, a couple of people have asked me why family and I didn’t just up sticks and return to the UK when we had to move out of the house in Champagnac. There are reasons, very valid reasons, as previously mentioned in my blog, but there are two extremely important reasons. The first is that we can’t obtain legal aid in France if we live in the UK, and we can’t obtain legal aid in the UK to fund this last step of our house Case in France. Secondly, we moved to live permanently in France for several reasons, those reasons still apply today, just as they did when we initially decided to move to France. Voila!

So, we will be returning to the Cantal. The hairdresser, Mademoiselle S, is due to vacate our property on Sunday 30 September, as confirmed in her formal Notice to us that was delivered by l’Huissier (baliff). Recently, the hairdresser sent a brief letter to us requesting permission to delay her exit from our property until March 2013. She told us (in her letter) her new business premises won’t be ready for occupation until then. She also asked us to ‘take pity on’ her business. Needless to say, we have responded to the letter with an emphatic “non”!

Copies of all relevant documents have been sent to the Cour de Cassation and the ECHR. Of course!

However – and, yes, this is the ‘but’ that tends to accompany most (all?) of our plans in France! Says she, rolling eyes! If Mademoiselle S decides to remain in our property until March 2013, leaving us out in the cold for another winter, our fifth winter as hobos in France, we won’t be able to do anything about it. Why not? I will elucidate next time!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in World

 

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The Beginning of the End

You might be thinking the title of this post is rather strange. But, moving to France was, indeed, the beginning of the end of life as we knew it in the United Kingdom. We brought family with us, and we also left family behind.

Tom and I had been researching for our potential retirement location since before 2003; we had e-looked around various countries in Europe before finally making a decision that changed our lives and outlook more than we could ever have envisaged.

In 2003, following an extended holiday in France with my sister and brother-in-Law, Tom and I decided France would be our retirement destination. Not too far from our UK-based family, easily accessible via road, sea and air. I was equipped with a French language GCE ‘O’ Level – ok, so it wasn’t as helpful as I thought it might have been, but it still turned out to be a base on which to build my French language skills. Several years later, I realised my French language skills had not fared well through French residence, despite all my efforts. Intending to inform our Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) specialist avocat (solicitor) about our difficulties, I asked him if he had enjoyed his sausages and chips for dinner! He was not amused! In fact, he is nothing short of a misery at any time! Hope he reads this and knows that I have him weighed up!

There are many words, and much terminology, that can’t be translated from English to French, or vice versa!

We intended settling in the Midi-Pyrenees, in the south of France; that was the area where we had enjoyed such a wonderful recce type holiday with my sister and bro-in-Law in 2003. No part of the Midi-Pyrenees is too far from the Mediterranean Sea, and my roots, on my mother’s side of the family, had originated three or four (not entirely sure which) generations ago in a tiny canton just outside Gaillac, in the Midi-Pyrenees.

However, as the old adage goes, even the best laid plans…..etc! We eventually landed in the Cantal, Department 15, on a plateau between the beautiful rugged volcanic peaks of the Auvergne. The Commune of Champagnac-les-Mines is typical of the huge number of dying communities to be found in the Massif Central, specifically, in south-central France. It is located between the Auvergne Mountains and the Cantal mountain range, ski-slopes barely an hour away from our house that’s not a home. Champagnac is an idyllic, sleepy  farming community where we have met and lived among some of the most down-to-earth, genuine French folks it has been our great pleasure to meet. The village ticked all of our boxes! We knew, from travelling extensively around France, that we would certainly not find a better environment in which to retire. It also ticked all the boxes of our family members who had accompanied us to live their French dream.

In the last week of July 2007, we purchased a 150+ years old traditional stone house that faces Champagnac’s Village Church, it is a house in which we can never live.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Expectations, France, Life, People, Time, World

 

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