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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!

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 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!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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EDF…We’re On To Your Little Game!

Ten hectic days, predominantly spent packing up the house and putting it into the hands of a highly recommended notaire, brought some unexpected revelations from our resident locataire, Monsieur C, and several helpful suggestions from the notaire’s English-speaking assistant. But, that little lot followed on the heels of EDF trying to rip us off!

We have learned much during our time as hobos in France, however, our minds are constantly boggled by the learning from each new lesson!

Tom and I arrived in Champagnac (15), location of our pile, during the afternoon of Sunday 7 July. I was extremely (but silently!) worried about Tom driving such a long distance after so many months of severe ill-health, but, he took his time and even the dreaded A20 didn’t phase him! The A20 is what we consider to be France’s equivalent to the UK’s M25, to be avoided whenever possible! There is a D-roads system alternative route to the A20, however, that route would have added distance, time, petrol cost and greater wear and tear on the ‘old girl’. So, we chose the A20, followed by the much quieter A89, concluding with the D979 to Bort-les-Orgues (19), aka ‘the organ pipes’, then, into the Cantal and up the mountain road to ‘our’ village high on the plateau.

Despite there having been a live electricity supply to the shop section in the house when we last visited in September 2012, in time to oversee the exit of the hairdresser, the electricity supply had been cut off by the time we arrived on this occasion.

How could that happen? According to the relevant Civil Code, the hairdresser only had the right to switch off the electricity at the meter after taking her final reading and passing the reading to EDF. Only the property owner(s) can have the electricity supply totally disconnected, unless, of course, EDF consider the supply to be in a dangerous condition – in that event, EDF can disconnect the supply without permission from the property owner(s), fair enough.

Well, here’s the twist!

Unbeknown to us, the shop’s electricity meter had been installed by a private company way back in the late 1990’s when the original hairdresser had been permitted, by our sellers, to start up her business – illegally, without the necessary permissions, as we discovered in 2010.

Paul contacted EDF to get the electricity supply reconnected at the earliest – EDF (Ciel Bleu) had no knowledge or record of the electricity supply to the hairdresser’s shop, they had no record of the property’s change of ownership in July 2007. Yet, we were paying the bills for two of the apartments, until we had the supply disconnected in 2012 after a two years fight with EDF about the unsafe condition of the wiring! For goodness sake, Tom recognised the state of the electrical wiring in 2007 – he is a retired electrician and he didn’t acquire his professional qualifications and experience on the ferry that moved us to France!

Paul gave our original 2007 client number to EDF, also the full address of the property. EDF had no record of the property address being Place de l’Eglise, their details still offered the property address as Place de Bourg (we have no idea why!) and the owners as Monsieur et Madame T, ie our sellers!

What a shambles!

Eventually, Paul was able to persuade EDF that we do own the property and we desperately required electricity to be restored to the shop area to power Tom’s nebuliser. By Thursday morning, EDF were promising Paul the electricity would be reconnected on the 5 August!

What?

So, Paul jumped up and down – just as the French do when things are not going their way! It worked, but, at a price!

On Thursday morning, EDF advised Paul that the electricity supply to the shop would be reconnected between 10am and 12 noon on Monday 15 July; the cost of reconnection would be 100 euros plus TVA, due to the fact that the ‘emergency reconnection’ would have to be carried out by a private company.

EDF (Ciel Bleu) also advised Paul to contact them immediately if the electrician had not arrived by 7pm, at the latest, on the Monday. Paul said he would do that and he asked what time the Ciel Bleu helpline would close on the Monday…….”6.30pm” was the reply!

Chuckle!

Oh, joy! The electrician duly arrived at 11.55 on the Monday morning, Bless. Hmmmmm! His uniform and van portrayed the distinct logo of…EDF! Private company, my foot!

Oh yes, we’re definitely on to your little scam, EDF (Ciel Bleu)!

Next blog page – how the current notaire will get rid of Monsieur C, because we have “no chance of selling” if the locataire remains resident in our property.

Also, we have news about our ‘way forward’, according to the European Ombudsman – the same route was also advised by our current notaire and her assistant!

Oh la la! It’s all still happening for the hobos in France!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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24/7 Is Just Not Long Enough…!

Are you retired and wonder how the heck you ever found the time to work?

Yes? Same here!

No? Hang in there, it will come – all things being equal, naturally!

For this past week – you know, that period of time equal to seven days and seven nights – I had set myself the following tasks to complete:

Locate and decode the EU laws we need for referencing in our formal complaint to the EUJ;

Locate, translate and decode relevant EU laws and Napoleonic Civil Codes, the bundle of joy (not!) we need to quote to the European Ombudsman concerning the ineptitude of two avocats and one notaire;

Format, write, proof read and edit as necessary the two formal complaints. Collate relevant documents and post the two packages;

Format, write, proof read and edit as necessary the content for our ‘large shack for sale’ website;

Locate and save appropriate internet links for our ‘large white elephant for sale’ website;

Travel to the ‘pile’, repack the few boxes we unpacked in July 2007, vanquish the tarantulas, hornets and no end of other creepy-crawlies that never fail to arrive to occupy the (many) unused rooms between our infrequent visits. Clean the property throughout – but not Monsieur C’s hallowed areas, ie his apartment, ‘Mon Garage’, etc;

Sort out half a dozen Immobilières (estate agents), including those who have been recommended to us by friends, and arrange for Monsieur G, a super gentleman expert who we know is on the ball and honest, to visit the ‘pile’ and collate all the information required for the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT report, including the all-important Energy rating, ie the statutory survey required before we can even put the property on the market);

Travel back to the Haute-Vienne to relieve son of childcare responsibilities so that he (son, not grandson) and Tom can return to the ‘pile’, decorate and take several dozen photographs for our ‘large carbuncle on the derriere’ website;

Enjoy myself on the forum, Facebook and Twitter, thereby, maintaining contact with family and friends around the globe.

Sigh – this blog post will be published with my red face expressing my sincere apologies for neglecting my family and friends during the past week.

However, there is an up-side, having tossed and turned during the past seven long nights – my brain just would not switch off – just before 5am today, I remembered we still have our copy of the survey and DDT/Energy reports that were carried out in April 2007 at our request and for which we paid 400€, I think the cost might now be closer to double that amount! The Energy rating was not mandatory at that time, but it was included. Therefore, apart from the termite report that only has a ‘shelf life’ of six months, the rest of the dossier is possibly still current because it’s less than ten years old.

Now, that could save us a few bob!

To clarify. Our sellers’ mandatory survey was fine, but we wanted our own survey to include a full structural report, results of Plannings enquiries, plus other information that we required if we were to proceed with the purchase, eg confirmation that we could install a lift in the garage to take a wheelchair to the apartment on the first floor of the property.

Monsieur G will know if the 2007 dossier is still legally valid, he carried out our full 2007 survey and also produced the DDT report, Plannings etc, for us to consider before we signed the Compromis de Vente. Monsieur G personally took copies of the survey dossier  to the notaire. The notaire was/is also his wife’s close friend. Monsieur G’s Attestation for the Appeal Court supported our Case by confirming all the necessary information and relevant documentary evidence was provided for the justices to examine.

We find it so strange that the Riom Appeal Court justices decided we had not expressed the need to know whether or not a disabled lift could be installed in the property before we proceeded with the purchase! 

How could that happen?

Obviously, the justices did not read all of our evidence, or, they read it and discarded the lot! Certainly, as our third avocat confirmed to us, by email, just a few days before Christmas 2009, our sellers had not submitted any evidence at all in their own defence. Well, they had not needed to, they were innocent unless proven guilty. The justices’ disregard for the evidence presented by our avoué confirmed their innocence!

So, back to this week’s tasks – what have I actually achieved during the past seven days and seven nights?

Not a lot! But, most of the content for our ‘PITA pile’ website is as ready as it will ever be, although, repacking, cleaning, decorating and photography are yet to be done.

As I must now concentrate on finalising and posting our complaints to the EUJ and the European Ombudsman, my next blog post will be written after we return to the Haute-Vienne from the Cantal. By then, we will have Monsieur C’s answer to our question regarding whether or not he is now prepared to vacate our house that’s not our home!

Hopefully, during our time in the Cantal, I will get my head together – my back-up brain cell is at critical overload level at the moment!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 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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One Down, One To Go – Maybe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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