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For Sale – With Vacant Possession!

Well, we can now see light at the end of the long tunnel! Although, we are far from naive, we know that selling our ‘pile’ could take years and it’s a buyers’ market, with a deep recession to boot. But, here’s how the latest event came to pass.

I sincerely apologise for the delay in publishing this post, I wanted to be able to offer a link to our house sale website. Paul, thank you very much, I am so very lucky to have such a wonderfully gifted techie wizard son. Bless you.

After offering Monsieur C first refusal, we received a steady stream of letters from him. Always polite, always positive, he was adamant that his interest in buying the property was sincere and he had waited since 2007 for the opportunity to have his ‘rights’ recognised. Oh, wow! We had no idea that Monsieur C was in the same boat as us as we fought for justice through the French Courts, how blindly self-centred we have been. Sigh!

At the beginning of December, we received a rather disgruntled letter from Monsieur C. In his ramblings, he claimed that he had twice contacted the notaire we had named, in order to get the buying processes under way, but she had blatantly ignored him! We knew that would not have happened, we had hand-picked the notaire following several recommendations from British folks who had moved into the area after our house Case started.

The menfolk and I sat down for a pow-wow and I suggested that Monsieur C was just having a laugh at our expense and we should call his bluff. I’m usually the one who urges caution! But, I could foresee, without a crystal ball, that Monsieur C would lead us up the garden path for at least a couple of years!

However, the menfolk said we should wait a little longer, we couldn’t afford for Monsieur C to throw one of his infamous wobblies and withdraw from the purchase proceedings for several weeks, or even months!

They had a very valid point. But, I was certain that Monsieur C had absolutely no intention of buying ‘the pile’! So, the reply that I sent to him dripped with empathy, although, it was laced with iron filings!

I was very apologetic about our notaire’s alleged tardiness and I told Monsieur C we would not tolerate it, he had obviously suffered greatly (yuk!) during the years since Tom and I had purchased the property (heave!). I confirmed to him that we would collect him from the house on Thursday 23rd January 2014 at 2:15pm, so that we could all attend a 2:45pm meeting, together, with the notaire. I reminded Monsieur C that he had received all the necessary property Reports, also, that he had expressed his satisfaction and readiness, formally in writing, with regard to proceeding to signing the compromis de vente and paying the deposit.

Bearing in mind, I went on to say, that the notaire did not appear to view his offer as sincere, Tom and I would accept a very low deposit of just 2000€ as a measure of our faith in him. I asked Monsieur C to confirm with us by return of post that the appointment time and date were convenient to him and I posted the letter with just a tiny flutter of a qualm. I was determined that Monsieur C would not add more misery to the lives of my family.

But, I am not a naturally dishonest person, I swear. Throughout December, all through the festive season and into 2014, I waited and suffered! My blood-pressure rocketed, my beta-blocker medication needed to be doubled and my menfolk thought I had turned into a mad, maudlin banshee! What if……?

On Wednesday 8th January, the lovely La Poste lady delivered Monsieur C’s latest missive to us….oh boy, I was shaking when I recognised his beautiful, copperplate hand-writing and opened the envelope. What if……?

The first sentence hit me straight between the eyes, quick translation – ‘It is done!! I moved out of the Champagnac rental property on the 31st December 2013.’ Monsieur C went on to offer his unconditional support and said, ‘In my humble opinion, you need to pursue the notaire (who administrated our purchase of the pile), concentrate your efforts on that quest….I will give evidence in support of you.’

Hmmmmmmm, right then!

Needless to say, we took steps to confirm there was no doubt that Monsieur C was not bluffing again – confirmed, he has gone, he is now living in Mussidan, in the Dordogne.

So, here we go, this is just the start, all contributed suggestions will be gratefully received and acknowledged. Tomorrow, we will be heading to the pile to batten down any open hatches and to take a lot of photographs!

http://frenchvillagehouse4sale.weebly.com/

 

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12 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2014 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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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!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2013 in World

 

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