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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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Posted by on January 12, 2014 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!

 
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Posted by on September 13, 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!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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EDF…We’re On To Your Little Game!

Ten hectic days, predominantly spent packing up the house and putting it into the hands of a highly recommended notaire, brought some unexpected revelations from our resident locataire, Monsieur C, and several helpful suggestions from the notaire’s English-speaking assistant. But, that little lot followed on the heels of EDF trying to rip us off!

We have learned much during our time as hobos in France, however, our minds are constantly boggled by the learning from each new lesson!

Tom and I arrived in Champagnac (15), location of our pile, during the afternoon of Sunday 7 July. I was extremely (but silently!) worried about Tom driving such a long distance after so many months of severe ill-health, but, he took his time and even the dreaded A20 didn’t phase him! The A20 is what we consider to be France’s equivalent to the UK’s M25, to be avoided whenever possible! There is a D-roads system alternative route to the A20, however, that route would have added distance, time, petrol cost and greater wear and tear on the ‘old girl’. So, we chose the A20, followed by the much quieter A89, concluding with the D979 to Bort-les-Orgues (19), aka ‘the organ pipes’, then, into the Cantal and up the mountain road to ‘our’ village high on the plateau.

Despite there having been a live electricity supply to the shop section in the house when we last visited in September 2012, in time to oversee the exit of the hairdresser, the electricity supply had been cut off by the time we arrived on this occasion.

How could that happen? According to the relevant Civil Code, the hairdresser only had the right to switch off the electricity at the meter after taking her final reading and passing the reading to EDF. Only the property owner(s) can have the electricity supply totally disconnected, unless, of course, EDF consider the supply to be in a dangerous condition – in that event, EDF can disconnect the supply without permission from the property owner(s), fair enough.

Well, here’s the twist!

Unbeknown to us, the shop’s electricity meter had been installed by a private company way back in the late 1990’s when the original hairdresser had been permitted, by our sellers, to start up her business – illegally, without the necessary permissions, as we discovered in 2010.

Paul contacted EDF to get the electricity supply reconnected at the earliest – EDF (Ciel Bleu) had no knowledge or record of the electricity supply to the hairdresser’s shop, they had no record of the property’s change of ownership in July 2007. Yet, we were paying the bills for two of the apartments, until we had the supply disconnected in 2012 after a two years fight with EDF about the unsafe condition of the wiring! For goodness sake, Tom recognised the state of the electrical wiring in 2007 – he is a retired electrician and he didn’t acquire his professional qualifications and experience on the ferry that moved us to France!

Paul gave our original 2007 client number to EDF, also the full address of the property. EDF had no record of the property address being Place de l’Eglise, their details still offered the property address as Place de Bourg (we have no idea why!) and the owners as Monsieur et Madame T, ie our sellers!

What a shambles!

Eventually, Paul was able to persuade EDF that we do own the property and we desperately required electricity to be restored to the shop area to power Tom’s nebuliser. By Thursday morning, EDF were promising Paul the electricity would be reconnected on the 5 August!

What?

So, Paul jumped up and down – just as the French do when things are not going their way! It worked, but, at a price!

On Thursday morning, EDF advised Paul that the electricity supply to the shop would be reconnected between 10am and 12 noon on Monday 15 July; the cost of reconnection would be 100 euros plus TVA, due to the fact that the ‘emergency reconnection’ would have to be carried out by a private company.

EDF (Ciel Bleu) also advised Paul to contact them immediately if the electrician had not arrived by 7pm, at the latest, on the Monday. Paul said he would do that and he asked what time the Ciel Bleu helpline would close on the Monday…….”6.30pm” was the reply!

Chuckle!

Oh, joy! The electrician duly arrived at 11.55 on the Monday morning, Bless. Hmmmmm! His uniform and van portrayed the distinct logo of…EDF! Private company, my foot!

Oh yes, we’re definitely on to your little scam, EDF (Ciel Bleu)!

Next blog page – how the current notaire will get rid of Monsieur C, because we have “no chance of selling” if the locataire remains resident in our property.

Also, we have news about our ‘way forward’, according to the European Ombudsman – the same route was also advised by our current notaire and her assistant!

Oh la la! It’s all still happening for the hobos in France!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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Two Plus Two Equals Five!

During the past month, Tom and I have wished we were both at least twenty years younger! That’s a first for both of us, we are normally quite content with our ages, life experience, mental and physical capacity, achievements, and our levels of life skills learning and knowledge. So, why the change? It’s simple, we both wish we could walk further than we can, carrying our home on our backs! When our ‘old girl’, aka our long-suffering Citroen Picasso Xsara, flipped her clutch, she left us in a real quandary. Scrap her and walk, or have her repaired and break the Bank to pay for the repairs? We chose the latter because we truly can’t manage without her. She has carried the four of us over 130,000 kilometres during the past four years; Tom and I can’t do that sort of ‘motoring’ on our aging ‘pins’. Simples!

So, we were already somewhat stressed and distressed (and broke!) when we travelled to Champagnac and Mauriac to collect documents from our friend, Madame ZC, and from l’Huissier. We knew the documents would be relevant to the illegal tenant hairdresser’s written Notice to quit our house that can’t be our home, following intervention by the Cadastre (Department Land Registry). But, our immediate concerns were about how Monsieur C might be responding, or reacting! As things turned out, we didn’t need to concern ourselves about Monsieur C, he is definitely a happy bunny! More about that next time.

The documents we received were a revelation! Confirmed within the text, Tom and I were definitely stitched up on 6 July 2007 by the female half of our sellers, and, we strongly suspect she wasn’t on her own! On that day, according to the notaire’s statement, she acted on notification received some time earlier (no date given) from Madame T that Tom and I had agreed to allow the hairdresser to sell on her Rental Lease. Now, why the notaire didn’t demand documentary verification, we have no idea! But, the fact of the matter is that she didn’t demand such evidence. Had she done so, she would have had no doubt that we hadn’t agreed, because we knew nothing about it, and there is no documentary evidence because Tom and I didn’t sign any such document!

On 6 July 2007, several weeks after we signed the compromis (‘promise to buy’ pre-Contract), and three weeks before our purchase was completed, Madame T and the notaire completed their own transaction, and they effectively landed my menfolk and me in the judicial mire that is the French legal system where the hairdresser is involved! Although, of course, Madame T already knew at the time that she was defrauding us by withholding evidence of Monsieur C’s tenancy!

Tom and I now believe the 6 July transaction was the reason why the notaire withheld €2000+ from our sellers on the day of completion. After all financial business was concluded on that day, Madame T looked at her cheque and announced that the cheque was ‘more than €2000 short’. I understood what she said and I looked at the notaire – our Immobilier was trying to hurry us out of the office. The notaire’s face reddened and she told Madame T to telephone her later at her office. Well, that would not ring bells if Tom and I hadn’t been informed, later the same day, that the notaire apparently left her office to go off on holiday immediately after we all left her office!

Strange? Not if the notaire had deducted €2000+ for other services rendered during the sale/purchase proceedings!

The documents contain a number of peculiarities and ambiguities. We know a commercial Tenancy Lease is for a period of 9 years; a residential Tenancy Lease is for 3 years. The original hairdresser’s contract started in December 1998, according to the copy of the Attestation we were given. Therefore, her tenancy period was due to expire on 31 December 2007; she confirmed to us that she had not applied to renew for a further period of nine years because she was closing down to concentrate on extending and raising her family. We wished her good luck, and everything was confirmed in writing between us and the Immo. He confirmed that the hairdresser’s tenancy period had not been extended beyond December 2007. That was further verified in the pre-Contract, and it states that we would have ‘sole use and enjoyment’ of the property.

Of course, that was never going to happen, Monsieur C was skulking in the shadows. But, we were absolutely shattered when Mademoiselle S suddenly appeared in November 2007, and we were informed that she would be with us for nine years!

However, according to the documents handed to us by l’Huissier, the notaire confirms that Mademoiselle S was given a ‘three years commercial Tenancy Lease’, and that it would run from when the previous contract ‘expired in October 2008’. Confused? No more than we are!

Even if we’re wrong about the December 2007 date (we know we’re not wrong, but never mind that!), a 3 years contract would expire in 2011 if it began in 2008. In that case, why is Mademoiselle S still running her business now, in April 2012?

According to l’Huissier, nobody was able to give Notice to quit to the hairdresser until the cadastre intervened, so she probably just stayed put! Well, ok, this is France, so that’s feasible. But, also according to l’Huissier, because Tom and I didn’t sign any documents giving permission for the commercial Lease to be sold by the original hairdresser to Mademoiselle S, the notaire had signed in our absence, as we were ‘in default’!

We left Champagnac thoroughly confused, fed up, sick to our hearts, and that was definitely my lowest ebb since this whole fiasco started. Thankfully, Tom was in British Bulldog mode, and by the time we joined our lads I was over the worst of my ‘blues’!

Today, copies of all documents were posted to the Cour de Cassation, and to the ECHR. Tomorrow is another day!

 

 

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