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“One Small Step…….”

When I started writing this blog post, well over two weeks ago, the title was, ‘Move Over, Victor – I Don’t Believe It!’ But, I did not feel comfortable with that title, I’m not a natural whinger and the world is filled with folks who have far more to whinge about than I do.

Yes, I was upset because my third puter in 5 years had suddenly died on me. I lost all my emails and my email contacts list, and I knew I had unopened emails to answer. Within the past 24 hours, my techie-brilliant son has been able to access and retrieve my emails and contacts list, I will be replying to those previously unopened emails later today. Thank you, Paul, you really are a wizard of the cyber-world.

Hopefully, that’s alright, then. This ancient puter that has been loaned to me will do the jobbit that I require of it – and, I’ll happily put up with the fact that it ‘moves’ too slowly to catch a virus and the keyboard sounds like a big bass drum as I type! Chuckle!

Not only did Netbook 3 bite the dust, but I was quietly waiting for the final results of a multitude of tests that would tell me, once and for all, why I have been feeling like death warmed up for months, since the end of last summer. But, on reflection, I would not have been the only little old lady in that position, I bet there were thousands, if not millions, of us in the same boat. Self-pity is not attractive, it’s boring and totally non-productive. So, I told myself, ‘get your act together, Hobo Chrissie, man up’. And, I did, I manned up!

Anyway, results of the various medical tests offered me a bit of a double whammy, the first part being a benign skin cancer on my right shin (Histiocytosis). Operative word – benign. That will teach me to appreciate that I am not immortal, wearing shorts virtually all the year round means I must also ‘cream up’ virtually all the year round! But, here’s the surprise factor – it seems that the benign skin tumour may have evolved from an ant bite!

I had noticed in November last year that a cluster of ant bites weren’t healing, the pesky insects had made a meal of my right leg way back in August. I am very sensitive to bites and stings, no matter what insect takes a fancy to my flesh and blood! However, after travelling to the (beautiful) Puy de Dome, I’d had an arthritis ‘flare’ and that took my mind off the still persistently itching ant bites. Trying to find some relief from the arthritis pain, I visited a very helpful pharmacist to check out some natural remedies that were recommended by super friends. The pharmacist pointed out to me that one of the ant bites seemed to be ulcerating and she advised me, strongly, to visit a doctor. I followed her advice, but not until after Christmas. You see, being a hobo for so long definitely gave me a false sense of security. Hobo Chrissie, you are NOT immortal, take that on board!

Suffice to say, eventually, the doctor here in the Haute-Vienne packed me off for a thousand and one tests (ok, a thousand and one is a bit of an over the top description!) and I was hit straight between the eyes by the double whammy! The benign skin tumour became the least of my worries, the second part of the whammy was looking like it could well be leukaemia. Can you see where Victor Meldrew’s catch-phrase comes into this? Sheesh!

But, it isn’t leukaemia, not at this stage. My various pills and potions, the ones that have grown on me over the years, have now been joined by truly enormous once-daily ‘bombs’ that are sulphur coloured and contain just about all vitamins and minerals known to womankind (it doesn’t have to be mankind!). Regular monitoring should ensure that deterioration does not arrive by stealth!

That’s alright, then. Sorted! What the heck did I have to whinge about? Nothing. Relax, Victor, I’m leaving your catch-phrase alone, on this occasion. Wink!

Back to the tale in hand.

Just before Netbook 3 expired, I wrote to the Law Society, Toulouse Board, to let them know we were still waiting for our file, including our Property Deeds, to arrive from our third and last avocat, Maitre AB. Despite having been assured by the Law Society, last November, that Maitre AB would be sending our file to us, sans plus tarder, aka without delay, she had not done so. I told the Board in my letter that it was no surprise to us, but, it was frustrating because we need our Property Deeds to be in hand before we begin the serious business of selling ‘the pile’.

During the past few days, we have received the following:

1. From the Law Society, Toulouse Board, copy of a (clearly) irritable missive addressed to Maitre AB, demanding (yes, demanding!) that she send our file to us without further delay. Love it!

2. From the Law Society, Toulouse Board, copy of another missive addressed to Maitre AB, informing her that the Board is ready to convene to determine if we were failed by our legal representatives during our vice cache proceedings.

3. On Friday 28 February 2014 – we received a very large package from Maitre AB. It required two signatures on two separate documents before Madame Post-lady could possibly hand the package to us. Bless her, Madame Post-lady is a lovely lass, always smiling, always cheerful, with the most expressive eyebrows I have seen in my life! She was “positive” that the package contained “good news, Monsieur et Madame”, her eyebrows were in total agreement with her words – they were above her hairline (eat your heart out, Mister Spock!), and she sported a wall-to-wall grin that actually brought the sun out from behind swiftly dissipating storm clouds!

Madame Post-lady’s eyebrows, grin and assurance were not wrong. The package contained a very polite, extremely civil, letter from Maitre AB, accompanied by our entire vice cache file including our Property Deeds!

YES! “One small step……….”, and a battle won! 

Next time? “Four Become Seven – Back To The Auvergne”. Honestly!  

 
16 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2014 in World

 

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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. 

 
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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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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