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Ding Dong Merrily – A High!

Ding dong merrily – a high,

The avocats are singing!

Ding dong, verily say I,

Their excuses are all minging!

Having survived several bouts of handbags at dawn as SFR and France Telecom battled for supremacy whilst we languished without internet connection for an entire month, I’m delighted to return to the land of techie living! Although, I do wonder how long this uneasy truce will last, a degraded line and a drop in mb power to accommodate that poorly line have been firmly established as an existing double whammy force with which we will need to grapple again in the not so distant future, I’m certain of that!

Well, this is France – c’est la vie!

During our enforced techie silence, snail mail has been slipping back and forth between me and a couple of overseeing bodies. Bless ’em, not one has accused us of posting empty envelopes to their offices, they’re proving to be far more honourable than a certain clerk in the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide in Paris!

Have we progressed?

Well, le batonnet (French barrister) who is acting for the equivalent to the Law Society office, Toulouse, and who is handling our complaints about our first and third avocats, was the first overseer to respond, very seriously and quickly, to our initial letter outlining our full package of complaints. Since that first exchange of correspondence, our first avocat, Maitre MA (let’s give him his title, although, he didn’t have any respect for us, obviously!), has admitted via le batonnet some of his faults; he has held up his hand to a number of his negligent errors that occurred throughout the course of his administrations relevant to our vice caché Case.

As correspondence gathered pace and content, it emerged that Maitre MA had appealed his dismissal from the Cabinet where he was employed during those early days when he was supposed to have been collating evidence and building our Case for the Grande l’Instance Court. His appeal was also dismissed. ‘Nuff said!

Although Maitre MA put up his hand to much negligence, and that negligence might well have condemned our Case to failure from day one, he could not resist passing some of the buck to our third avocat, Maitre AB.

The section of buck that Maitre MA attempted to pass to Maitre AB concerns our missing (apparently!) Property Deeds, the Property Deeds that Maitre MA was adamant he required to hold in his little hot hand before he could file our Case at the Grande l’Instance Court. His insistence was based on his ‘professional need’ to ‘finalise the return of the property to the sellers at the earliest, after the justices announce their Judgement’.

What a load of rubbish! As things currently stand, it appears that our Property Deeds may have been lost in the “mess” found in Maitre MA’s office following his dismissal! Or, perhaps, he took our Property Deeds with him, along with other sections of our file that were missing when our second avocat took over our vice caché Case? Who knows, we don’t! Maitre J, our second avocat – who collated sufficient evidence out of the wreckage left behind by Maitre MA to ensure recognition by the Appeal Court Judges of our sellers’ fraud – told us she could not find the Deeds in the “mess”. We believed her without reservation, that lovely lady did a wonderful job for us against all odds. Our third avocat, Maitre AB, clearly did not ever see our Deeds – although, she has admitted ignoring our plight and our requests for our file to be returned to us!

Anyway, you’re out of luck with your attempt to pass the buck regarding our missing Property Deeds, Maitre MA. Hah!

We are now waiting for a decision to come from le batonnet at the Ordre des Avocats, Toulouse. Our Case could be returned to the Cour d’Appel, Riom, for further consideration and a fresh Judgement. Or, bearing in mind that we have a potential buyer, ie our longstanding tenant, Monsieur C, who has made his intentions clear in writing (more about this later) and copies have been sent to the various overseeing bodies , we could be awarded compensation by the Ordre des Avocats, rather than the Case being thrown back into the litigation swamp. Or, we could simply receive a letter that drips empathy, sympathy, shock and horror – and nothing else!

In the meantime, the Board at the Chambre des notaires du Cantal is also now considering the evidence supporting our claim that the notaire who administrated our property purchase failed us miserably! More about that later, too!

FNAIM, aka La Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier, is the overseeing organisation that, supposedly, protects the interests of French Immobiliers (estate agents) and their clients! Last week, we received our first response from FNAIM to the letter that we sent to all the overseeing bodies on 15 November 2013. Here’s a link to the full Monty for anybody who can be bothered:

http://www.fnaim.fr/3574-qui-sommes-nous-.htm

Wow! They’re quick on the draw – not!

Interesting response, too!

Well – no surprises!

FNAIM have told us, in their letter, that they can’t/won’t get involved because we took the Case to the Courts, simple as that!

Ah, but, late in 2007, Monsieur C complained to FNAIM that our Immobilier, Monsieur F, was harassing him to move out of the property that we had recently purchased. We knew nothing about the harassment until Monsieur C told us about it in 2008. FNAIM replied that they could not/would not get involved until after Court proceedings had concluded with a Judgement. We have a copy of that letter!

Oh my! Cette ambiguïté! One for the Ombudsman, methinks, we need to give him/her something to do!

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on December 11, 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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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?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 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!

 
6 Comments

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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Stuffed…No Logic!

Included in the parcel of documents that we received from the ECHR, Strasbourg, is a copy of the Riom Appeal Court’s Judgement, dated 17 December 2009.

We had not seen the Judgement prior to receiving our file from the ECHR, as was acknowledged by our (third) avocat during the following email conversation held between us:

Relevant excerpt taken from the email received from the avocat on Tuesday 6 April, 2010 at 18:02:23 –

“You need to provide the tax return, all documents justifying your incomes for 2009, or minimum income and the evidence that the court’s decision has been delivered by bailiff (which actually has not been done).

The solicitor (ie the specialist Cour de Cassation avocat) is asking the legal aid office to give you an additional delay……………”

Excerpt taken from my response to the above, sent on Thursday 8 April, 2010 at 12:42:51 –

“Regarding the tax/income avis, we won’t receive that until later this month! All we have to declare for 2009 is the rent for the locataire and the hairdresser, plus my UK State Pension from October 2009……. (I actually did not receive the latter until later in 2010, due to the DWP losing my documents at least twice!).

When the avis arrives at the house, it will be forwarded to us wherever we are. We will complete and return it. Any tax will then become payable in August 2010. There will be no tax to pay, we do not have enough income to pay tax……..”

Eventually, we managed to send evidence of my pensions, UK State and Government, to the Bureau d’Aide just before the end of May 2010, by which time we had secured a further delay with the Bureau d’Aide until July 2010. We also sent evidence of the locataires’ rent being received by the tax office to pay the property taxes, we refused to accept rent directly from the locataires – following advice given to us by our first avocat.

As always, I have supporting documentary evidence to hand and copies are also included in the file sent to us by the ECHR!

So, there we have it – the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide obviously set us up to fail! As we repeatedly told the Bureau d’Aide (in writing) and our avocat (via emails), we could not produce tax documents that did not exist! However, we did send evidence of our 2009 total global income, such as it was and despite the fact that the Mauriac tax office was actually receiving the rental income that we declared.

It gets better! Well, perhaps that wording isn’t really accurate! But, the following revelation made us smile, ie my menfolk et moi – because it is totally without logic and is typically a product of France!

We definitely won at the Riom Appeal Court! Honestly! We won our claim that the sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, defrauded us when they sold us a property that reeked of vice caché!

According to the Court President’s Judgement, Monsieur and Madame T admitted their guilt. Hang in there and I will reproduce the text with the translation!

But, if we won, how did we lose? Why is ‘the pile’ still hanging around our necks?

Ok, the quick answer is that we didn’t express sufficient concern about being trussed up like turkeys and hung out to bleed until we were bled dry – not until after we discovered we had become bleeding dead turkeys! We didn’t raise questions about the hidden fraud before we discovered the hidden fraud!

Therefore, despite the sellers admitting their guilt to the Appeal Court, we were found guilty of not proving their guilt. Ouch!

‘Owzat?

Here’s that text, reproduced straight from the Riom Appeal Court Judgement documents that I have right next to my Netbook –

<Qu’il y a eu une fraude de leur part pour couvrir le bail à……>

Translation – ‘There was a fraud on their part to cover (hide) the lease…’

<Attendu que les négations des époux T concernant le bail du garage confirment qu’ils ne l’ont jamais indiqué aux acquéreurs….>

Translation – ‘Despite their other denials, the T’s confirmed that they never told the buyers about the lease concerning the garage.’

<Qu’il y a eu un dol de leur part à dissimuler le bail tant à l’agent immobilier qu’aux acquéreurs.>

Translation – ‘There was a fraud on their part to cover (hide) the lease from the buyers and the real estate agent.’

However, here’s where we (apparently) went wrong –

<Qu’aucun élément du dossier ne démontre qu’ils ont attaché une quelconque importance à ces locaux.>

Translation – ‘No evidence on the record shows that they (we) have attached any importance to these areas.’

Mmmmmmmm, we obviously should have had our crystal ball primed to tell us all about the hidden tenants and their hidden Contracts before we purchased the property. Clearly, commencing a vice caché lawsuit within hours of discovering the fraud doesn’t adequately express our horror and anger at being forced to attach importance to the tenants!

There’s a lot more, including the opinion of the Court that the justices did not believe it important that we needed (and our architect attested that we had obtained Planning permission for) the disability lift to be installed in the garage because that was the only location agreed by the Planning Office. What! It was certainly important to us that we avoided having a bundle with the Planning Officer before we had even got our feet under the table of Madame France! However, it’s possible that the justices and the Planning Officer eat at the same restaurants. Just a thought!

It’s not worth me taking this crystal ball back to whence it came, French Customer Services staff don’t generally ‘do’ returns!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2013 in World

 

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Brilliant! A Triple Whammy Red Letter Week!

On Wednesday this week, summer arrived in this tiny hamlet that nestles between the Haute Vienne (87) and the Creuse (23). By lunch time, the clear blue skies were twinned with wall-to-wall sunshine – and the temperature was already at 30°C, plus some! The end of winter 2012/2013 has been a long time coming. Result!

The post-lady arrived with Tom’s health cover Attestation. Despite the CPAM clerk insisting that Tom was required to have his translated birth certificate verified; Tom and our good friend, Kay, insisted that verification is not a legal requirement. Kay had accompanied Tom to the CPAM office in Bellac, she speaks fluent French, and they were armed with the details of the law that confirms no verification is necessary. Obviously, the CPAM assessment team took the facts on board. Result!

As Tom was opening his CPAM envelope, I was opening a hefty parcel with ‘European Court Of Human Rights’ clearly printed on the top, left hand corner. Yes, the parcel contained our house Case file. Result!

Well, each document is a copy of the original. That’s fine, the fact that the ECHR is still holding on to the originals indicates the Court is taking seriously our declaration that we are making formal application to the EUJ, Luxembourg, as we have been advised to do. I will finish checking through the contents of the parcel during this coming weekend and it will be sent to the EUJ on Monday morning.

All afternoon, the menfolk and I were grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat! Even the late afternoon appearance of rollicking, growling thunderstorms, clattering, battering hail and bucketing rain did not remove those wide smiles.

We felt and still feel a tad rejuvenated!

Our lovely friend, Cathy, who works and lives in Champagnac (15), just three doors away from our house that’s not a home, was absolutely correct, jumping up and down as her countrymen and women do has worked a treat! Thank you so much, Cathy, I only wish we had left British, stiff-upper-lip dignity behind and had taken up the French stance a few years ago. But, this is no time for regret, it is time to continue moving forward – it is, after all, our very last chance to obtain that elusive outcome that my menfolk and I set out to find six years ago, justice.

In the meantime, if the DWP International office staff members in Newcastle see their bureaucratic way forward to ensuring my (very late) pension is paid to me in full early next week, Tom and I will be en route to Champagnac next Sunday, 16 June 2013. We have a lot to do, re-packing and getting the property ready to sell.

It is very doubtful that Monsieur C will consider moving out of our ‘home’ (a loose term!), although, he has told us several times that he ‘…could move tomorrow. I have nothing against you and your family, I have a problem with Madame T and I want to see her found guilty of fraud.’ That just is not going to happen, Monsieur C, much is the pity. However, let’s see if you offer to quit our ‘home’ (that loose term again!) when we tell you face to face that Madame T will not be made to atone for the fraud she committed against us in July 2007.

Would anyone like to place a bet on whether or not Monsieur C will now quit our ‘home’ (that loose term yet again, so very boring!)? Buttons or matchsticks only, I’m afraid, the DWP has left me rather short of euros! Bless their little cotton socks, they must be trying to encourage us to save during these difficult times that are seemingly governed by austerity!

Oh la la!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2013 in World

 

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