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Two Disciplinary Hearings And An Immo Up A Gum Tree!

Tom and I have received two formal, written notifications, as follows:

The first to arrive was from the Ordre des Avocats in Toulouse, equivalent to a regional Law Society in the UK. The writer was the same gentleman who swiftly contacted us when we made our initial complaints about the incompetence of our first avocat, Maitre MA, and about our missing Property Deeds that should have been returned to us, in our file, by our third and last avocat, Maitre AB.

We have been given a Case number and both avocats will face a Disciplinary Board; we will be notified of the outcomes in due course.

So far, so good! Although, it now looks very likely that one of our avocats has lost our Property Deeds! Maitre AB assured the Ordre several weeks ago that our Deeds would be returned to us in our file without delay, she was the last avocat to have our file. Our file has not arrived, our Deeds have not arrived. The ‘pile’ is on the market and we need the Property Deeds!

Some time ago, when we were a couple of years into our house Case, we came to the conclusion that, in France, one often hires an avocat then does the work for the avocat! We reached that conclusion from our own experiences with Maitre MA and Maitre AB.

So, are there any gumshoes out there? We could do with a few handy hints about how to find our Property Deeds!

The second notification came from the Chambre des Notaires in the Cantal, the overseeing body that has been investigating our complaints about the incompetence of the notaire who administrated our purchase and our fraudulent sellers’ sale.

We have been given a Case number, the notaire is facing a Disciplinary Board and we will be notified of the outcomes in due course.

Shame we haven’t been given dates when these disciplinary Hearings will be heard. But, I will be giving both overseeing bodies a shake next week. On Monday morning, I will be posting to them copies of a piece of vital evidence that should have been seen by the justices at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Aurillac, in 2008, or, as fresh evidence by the Judges at the Cour d’Appel in Riom, in 2009. The evidence bears a September 2007 date and was received by Maitre MA that same month, it was sent to him by…wait for it, Monsieur C! The evidence proves conclusively the following facts and I will be sending copy to FNAIM, too:

1. Our sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, committed fraud against us, vice caché. The Cour d’Appel got that right, the Judges just didn’t follow through – they would have been hard-pressed not to do the right thing if they had seen all the evidence including the document we have to hand!

2. The administrating notaire, Maitre CB, did not follow the full, correct procedures as set down in the French Civil Codes. She failed us and she failed in her duty as an agent of the French Government.

3. The Immobiliere, Monsieur F, knew about the vice caché set-up long before we completed the purchase.

4. The Immobiliere collaborated with the property insurance agent who provided us with our first Buildings and Contents Insurance policy, to ensure that we did not cotton on to the vice caché before the notaire rode off into the sunset ‘en vacance’, after the sale/purchase proceedings were completed. More about that next time!

Yoo-hoo, FNAIM! This piece of evidence was not used in the litigation proceedings. So, you can mediate now, go for it, we are waiting! Monsieur F, you have had over 6 years of swimming off the hook, despite the fact that we and all three of our avocats were convinced that you were up to your neck in vice caché pooh! You can eat your heart out – we’re on your tail! 

In the meantime, for anybody out there who is purchasing a property in France, you are not required to use the same notaire as your seller(s). You can use a different notaire, the fees will be divided between the two notaires and it will not cost you one cent extra. But, using the two notaires method could save you years, or even a lifetime, of heartbreak, discomfort, fear and homelessness. 

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10 Comments

Posted by on January 25, 2014 in World

 

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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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Two Down – Two, No, Three To Go!

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

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

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

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

“Hi Chrissie

Good news!

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

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

Toulouse le 21 Octobre 2013

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

Dear Sir and Madame

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

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

Yours sincerely etc.

Fredric DOUCHEZ

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

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

One day soon…………..!

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

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

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in World

 

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