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Twists And Turns, Tools And Tottie!

Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed our recent six days spent at ‘the pile’ in the Auvergne, despite the fact that our house is not our home and five of the days were filled with hard work!

Currently, the menfolk and I are living in the Haute-Vienne (87) in the Limousin. I have to say it is the wettest, most humid region of France, in our experience. Tom and I are both asthmatic and high humidity is our worst enemy, it’s even more problematic for us than our various allergies – and, we do have more than a few allergies between us!

However, the lovely lady, Kay, who has provided us with a roof and all home comforts in the Haute-Vienne throughout the past year, has been a true benefactor and we will forever be grateful to her. Kay, if you’re reading this, thank you from the four of us for being a pure diamond of the very highest value.

During those first five days in the Auvergne, Tom completed the repacking of all the tools that he and Paul brought with them from the UK when we moved to France in 2007. I recalled how excited and – surprisingly – organised they were when they initially unpacked all the tools and placed them in regimental array in the two sheds at the back of ‘the pile’. They were like two kids opening Christmas presents!

Whilst Tom packed downstairs, I continued to repack the possessions we had unpacked for use between moving into the house and moving back out when the sanitation failed and the electrical wiring gave us a flashing warning. By then, we had been legally advised by our first avocat that we must not make any changes or repairs to the property, due to our vice caché lawsuit.

Unfortunately, I was repacking on the bottom deck, ie in the ground floor shop area, but I was having to shift our possessions from the top deck, 5 flights up, where we had originally stored all the (still) packed boxes and the possessions we had unpacked to use. Nightmare! I will be 64 years old next month and I felt as though I was closer to 84 years old! My poor old ticker was in a right old state by the end of each day! By golly, Monsieur le Docteur, those wonderful beta blockers certainly earned their keep during those five, very huffy puffy days!

However, we completed our tasks in time to enjoy a wonderful sixth day traversing La Chaine des Puys d’Auvergne to lunch with great friends at Le Bar St. Thomas in St-Genès-la-Tourette.

Check out La Chaine des Puys d’Auvergne here, the scenery is truly amazing, it is embedded in our minds and hearts and the reason why, in a few immortal words, “We’ll be back.”! –

http://www.auvergne-tourism.com/regional-nature-parks/the-auvergne-volcanoes-park-279-2.html

You can also check out Le Bar St. Thomas, here –

http://www.barstthomas.fr/Qui-sommes-nous.html

Hi, Pat and John! Great food, super atmosphere, simply the best of everything.

Well, it’s good to share!

The lunch party was organised by ‘our Tottie’, friend to all who attended – you know who you all are, wonderful company, friendships made to last a lifetime.

But, all too soon, we needed to be heading back to Limousin humidity and another very important task! Accordingly with French law, before we can publicly place ‘the pile’ on the market, we must offer first refusal to Monsieur C.

Here’s how that commences, I have also posted this little gem on HIFF (Hobos In France Forum) and in the Hobos In France Facebook Group –

“The following information has very recently been confirmed to my family and me by a French notaire:

Before we can place our property on the market we must first invite our locataire (tenant) to purchase the property. This right is his because his lease agreement states that his apartment, located within the property, is unfurnished. A tenant with a furnished apartment in the property would not have this same right of first refusal.

Our offer to the tenant must be handed to him by the local hussier (Court Bailiff) and the tenant then has two months to accept or reject our offer. The two months period is extended to four months if the tenant needs to secure a mortgage.

If the tenant rejects our offer on grounds that he considers our asking price to be excessive, we must not proceed with selling our property to any other interested party. We must wait until the tenant either proves his case against the asking price or withdraws his objection and accepts or refuses our offer.

If the tenant initially rejects our offer but changes his mind if we accept a lower than original asking price offer from another party, we must return to the drawing-board with the tenant – the ball of first refusal returns to his court! The tenant then has a further month to confirm his interest or reject our offer. If he confirms his interest, he has two months to complete the transaction – four months if he requires a mortgage. If he again rejects our offer of first refusal, we can proceed with selling to another party – if there’s anyone left out there who might be interested!”

Twists and turns!

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6 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 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!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 18, 2013 in World

 

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Chapeaux – Frederic And Family!

During the past 5+ years, my menfolk and I have learned about many other vice caché Cases across France. We have shared the pain, heartbreak, frustration, disbelief, stress and distress felt by others who have lived in limbo, as we have done, as they and we still do live!

Many families have given up, returning to their countries of origin with nothing left to show for their lives in France, with nothing left of what they originally brought to France to start their new lives and live the dream.

Of course, there have also been French families embroiled in vice cache proceedings, we have met several. Likewise, there have been families with mixed nationalities, eg French and British, American and French, British and Dutch, French and Dutch, etc.

Wherever possible, when we meet victims of vice caché, we try to help them. We always extend a genuine hand of friendship, we share our experiences, we offer support and guidance if we have already come through processes and difficulties that they must still face and overcome.

My menfolk and I are hobos! Across France, there are other hobos, people who exist in a similar fashion to us. Some of them still have their homes, but face losing their homes. Others, like us, have properties, but they have already become homeless through no fault of their own. Some are virtually penniless (okay, centless!) and exist on handouts given by caring and concerned family, friends and neighbours. Others, like us, have low, fixed income to sustain them at base level, but they can’t afford to rent on top of property taxes and other costs relevant to the upkeep of the property they own. Whatever, we are all hobos with a common denominator, vice cache, and a common purpose, to persevere until justice has been attained.

A little over one year ago, Paul and I set up a forum. The main aim of the forum was to attract other hobos in order to unite and support, guide, advise and help each other. Naturally, we also hoped other interested people, ie non-hobos, would join the forum, we set it up to include ex-patriots living in France and folks who were planning to move to or holiday in France.

Within a few months, several people had registered as members of the forum to share their vice caché experiences. One of those people was Frederic. Frederic and his young family have been battling with fraud, corruption and the French judiciary for the best part of eight years. Just before Christmas 2012, they were being threatened with eviction from their home. They had lost their Grande l’Instance attempt, lost their Appeal, and had not been given leave to Appeal to the Cour de Cassation. They were also virtually out of money and were unsure about how or where to apply for Legal Aid to get their Case heard in the Cour de Cassation. Avocats had proved to be, at best, inefficient – at worst, corrupt!

Well, the experiences of Frederic and his family have not been so far removed from those of my menfolk and me! So, comparing, sharing, researching and signposting was relatively easy and painless – although, the sword of Damocles was definitely hanging over Frederic and his family.

Today, Frederic posted some wonderful news on the forum, he and his family have been given 100% Legal Aid to cover the costs of having their Case heard in the Cour de Cassation. Here is an excerpt taken from that excellent post –

“We have been given total costs!!!!!!!!!

As you know, there is no automatic right to have your case reviewed by the Cour de Cassation, and an application for legal aide is subject to a preliminary review by a panel of avocat’s specialising in cases that may be placed before the Supreme Court. In other words, you have to show that you have a watertight case before the French government will pay for your specialist avocat.”

I take off my hat to Frederic and his family. They have suffered enormously, and I really do know how much they have truly suffered, I chat with Frederic behind the scenes, but they did not give up their fight for justice. They did not give up hope.

Frederic and family, I know you’re out there – chapeaux, dear friends.

For those of you who would like to know more about Frederic’s fight for justice, and about how we worked together to prevent that dreadful sword falling on him and his family, here’s a link, you are very welcome to access the forum as a Guest –

http://hobosinfrance.proboards.com/thread/2247/cour-de-cassation?scrollTo=24617&page=5  

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 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!

 
14 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2012 in World

 

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Whoops! Are We Back On The Roller-coaster?

After the exhilaration of the past couple of days, family and I had to get our feet back on the ground and our heads back on our shoulders, the reality is that we still have a long way to go. We’re nowhere near getting out of la forêt, yet! We must still face the daunting experience of our Case being judged at the Cour de Cassation in Paris.

So, today, in response to many questions that I have been asked by folks living all around the world, I’m going to ‘chat’ about potential next steps. I won’t go into the entire workings of the Cour de Cassation, I’m certain that would be boring to read, and I know it would be a very cumbersome post for me to write! The information I will give is based on data sent to me by various legally and part-legally qualified professionals, one of whom actually works within the austere confines of the Cour de Cassation, on my own research, and on verification of my own and others’ research.

How much information have I received from four (to date) avocats, including our specialist Cour de Cassation avocat? None, absolutely zilch!

The Cour de Cassation is the highest Appeal Court in France, it’s the Supreme Court. To get a Case to the Supreme Court, it must first be heard in one of the Tribunaux d’Instance local Courts, or in one of the Tribuneaux de Grande l’Instance Courts. The latter depends on the severity and the monetary value of the dispute. Our Case was initially heard in the Grande l’Instance Tribunal in Aurillac (15).

The history of the French Cour de Cassation goes back to the French Revolution, it was established by the Act of 27 November 1790. But, the Court’s workings are still largely based, in principle, on the ancient Roman judicial proceedings.

Within the Court, there are six main sections in which a Case can be judged, these sections are as follows: Commercial, Labour, Civil, Criminal 1, Criminal 2, and the Chambre de Requetes – the last gives judgement on whether or not a Case is admissible for Appeal at the Supreme Court. During my conversation with Maitre at l’Huissier’s office in Mauriac, it emerged that our house Case has got through the Chambre de Requetes, and that is why we now have some action! Although, we have not received written confirmation, that might be one of the documents waiting for us at l’Huissier’s office, or at the house. We will find out towards the end of April.

Our house Case was referred to the Civil section of the Cour de Cassation, but a number of professionals have commented, during the past 2 years, that it should be heard by judges in the Criminal 2 section, because our sellers’ fraud has already been proved. Those professionals might well be correct!

If the Claimant fails to win in one of the lower Courts, an Appeal can be lodged in the Region’s Tribunal d’Appel; ours was Appealed at Riom in the Puy-de-Dome (63).

Failure to win the regional Appeal can result in a further, final Appeal to the Cour de Cassation, Paris. The judges in the Supreme Court do not judge on the merits of the Case, they are in situ to decide whether or not French laws have been correctly interpreted during the previous Hearings.

What sort of result may be seen coming out of the Cour de Cassation where our Case is concerned? Well, the previous Appeal decision can be upheld, and in that case, there will be no further French legal action, it would be all over as far as the French judiciary are concerned! Or, the previous Appeal Court decision can be quashed, and the Case can be returned to the Appeal Court in Riom for further consideration and a fresh Judgement. The Cour de Cassation might decide to quash the previous Appeal Court’s decision and order that there will be no further Appeal, the Cour de Cassation decisions about the Case will then be final.

Our Case will be heard by a panel of at least 5 judges, presided over by the Cour de Cassation President, or, a possibility, the most senior Cour de Cassation Judge.

There are a number of potential results.

The judges can decide that our Case is a straight forward vice caché and order the property to be returned to Monsieur and Madame T, with a full refund to us, and with no leave given for the couple to Appeal. On average, it would take 4 – 6 months for the final resolution to be attained, and the judges decision must first be endorsed by the Court President.

The judges can decide that, on grounds of the vice caché having been proved at Riom, the Case must be returned to the Riom Appeal Court for further consideration and a fresh judgement. That would delay the final resolution by up to a year.

The judges could rule that we, Tom and I, are partially responsible for the vice caché, due to whatever reasons they decide on the day. In that case, they could refer the Case back to the Riom Appeal Court for further considerations and a fresh judgement.

The judges could rule that our vice caché claim has been proved, but give Monsieur and Madame T leave to Appeal. That could result in us waiting for an Appeal to be lodged by our sellers, and the Case could drag on for a further period of one to possibly up to three more years.

Our fervent hope is that the Cour de Cassation judges find fully in our favour, with no right of Appeal to our sellers, and with an order that a total resolution must be attained within 28 days.Such a Judgement is rare, but it does happen, and it would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

If we are lucky enough to receive the justice for which we fervently hope, our sellers could plead poverty and state that they’re unable to refund our money! In that event, the Cour de Cassation judges can order them to give us their own home in return for taking repossession of our house that’s not a home, and they would need to live in the latter! Or, the judges could order that property and possessions, belonging to our sellers, must be auctioned and the proceedings used to refund us. That Judgement would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

According to a very knowledgeable source, our sellers are most likely to plead that they have shared their property and possessions among their children and grandchildren! In that case, the judges can order those items to be seized by l’Huissier, assisted by Gendarmes, and the property and possessions to be auctioned, with the proceedings used to refund us. Again, such a Judgement would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

So, there are many possibilities! At the end of it all, will we recoup all of our losses? Very possibly not! But, that’s another story!

 

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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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What Does The Future Hold?

Blogging our experiences has caused us grief, there’s no doubt in my mind about that! Quite simply, living the experiences put us on a roller-coaster that hadn’t stopped since July 2007. Being able to take time out from that constant movement during the past eight weeks gave us a false sense of security. My menfolk and I are tired, so very tired, and our emotions are raw. If that reads as dramatic or weak, I make no apology, we had long forgotten how to feel angry, disappointed, frustrated, betrayed and defrauded. All those emotions have returned, in force since I started writing this blog. But, we are well aware that we must keep going, there’s no way back, that’s reality.

On Wednesday this week, we ‘celebrated’ 5 years of living in France. But, we didn’t really celebrate, we just spent time recalling events of the past five years! Wednesday was a very solemn day in this household! I think our recent recollections, for this blog, had dragged all our emotions to the surface, emotions that we have constantly strived to keep under lock and key, metaphorically speaking.

So, on Thursday, to get us back on track, to buoy up our spirits without setting ourselves up for a fall, we talked about our future. Obviously, our plans are subject to that old adage, all things being equal!

We are fully aware that even an emphatic Cour de Cassation judgement in our favour will not immediately have a practical effect on our lives. Although our sellers would not be able to appeal the Court’s decision, they could use ‘accepted’ delaying tactics for up to six months, and force us to return to the Appeal Court to obtain legal enforcement. We firmly believe our sellers would do that. The only way that would be scuppered by the Cour de Cassation is if the Judge orders all arrangements to be finalised within 28 days. Such an Order can’t be undermined in any way, within the French justice system, that would be the final word. However, 28 days Orders are extremely rare in the French Supreme Court!

If we are awarded that 28 days Order, our sellers could then state that they have bequeathed all their assets to family members; our sellers are, like Tom and me, over State retirement age, they may already have done that, hoping to avoid giving us back our money! In that event, we would need to take our Case back to the Cour de Cassation for further consideration and judgement! The Judge could then place an Order on the family members to pay us. Although, that’s not likely to happen! Most likely, the Judge would make an Order for the sellers’ bequeathed assets to be sold by auction, and for us to be paid out of the profit. That would take time, estimated at 3 to 5 months.

Prior to bringing the lawsuit to the first Tribunal, our (then) avocat, Monsieur MA, ran checks to ensure our sellers had the funds or assets to use for settling repayment to us. The outcomes of those checks revealed that our sellers were property €millionaires. Had they not been in a position to refund us for the house purchase, it would not have been in our best interests to bring the lawsuit. We were assured by Monsieur MA that our sellers had the assets, even if not the ready funds, to refund us for the fraudulent sale.

Yet another aspect for us to consider is the fact that the Courts now know our sellers also defrauded the State, through tax evasion. It is possible that the more recent charges will take precedence over our Case. We have no way of knowing if the tax evasion charges are being dealt with even as we wait for a Cour de Cassation hearing date. If the tax evasion Case is under way, we may yet discover that the State will be paid before us!

But, all things being equal, we plan to purchase building land in France, and to have a property built, a ‘pukka  log cabin’, in our grandson’s words!

 

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