Help - Taxe d'habitation / fonciere!

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(Annmarie Jones) #1

As usual - I am asking for advice from you all!


This is a bit of a long story - please bear with me! I am also very conscious of the fact that I do not want to start naming 'names' - but this is quite an usual situation & I would be really grateful for any advice you can give.


Back in April 2011 we bought a lovely little tiny cottage in a small hamlet in the Mayenne. The small hamlet consisted of 5 properties: The main one being owned by a lovely French family; a large family house (owned by another British family) and a large farmhouse with a gite (owned by a British family returning to the UK) and an old 'bread oven' (requiring refurbishment). Our place was the 'gite' to the large farmhouse. Shortly after we bought the property, the little 'bread oven' was sold to another British family who have since refurbished the property - through the owners of the large farmhouse (who also ran a 'property maintenance business' and still run a French property business). The owners of the large farmhouse sold the farmhouse to another British couple a couple of years ago (Aug 2013 I think) and returned to the UK. So as it stands - we now have the original French owners in the main property; the same British family in the large family house and the large farmhouse plus buildings - has been split into 3 properties and is owned by 3 separate British families.................... are you still following me?


Friends of ours (who lived in France) viewed the property for us and basically told us that it was a very small property (1 room downstairs and 2 beds plus bathroom upstairs) plus a small garden - it required a little TLC but had much character and was perfect for our needs. There was however, a large pine tree very close to the front door that was in the garden to the large farmhouse - however, this would be removed prior to any sale. The fosse also did not conform - but was not polluting. The person we dealt with regarding the purchase of the property was the 'female partner' in the Business and I must say she appeared to be completely professional at all times - she was working in the UK building their business whilst the 'male partner' remained in France running his property maintenance business. Our problems however, started when we were in the Notaire's office and I noticed that the boundary on the sale documents didn't appear to be correct - the person who accompanied the seller (who was translating) - turned to him and said 'I thought you were removing the tree and sorting the access out?'............. alarm bells - this was all then 'hushed up' with promises to 'sort it out etc. Even the 'friendly' notaire - reassured us that this was 'no' problem. In a nutshell - we discovered afterwards that the fosse was 'polluting' (the document shown to our friends who viewed the house said differently) and the tree was eventually removed 18 months later when my husband went to speak to the owner (who had been promising to do so for months and months) told him he was going to move the fence & cut the thing down himself!


We still haven't replaced the fosse but do intend to do so - some of you may recall that I have asked what it should cost? (thanks for your advice) - the reason for this is that our neighbours in the little bread oven were charged just short of 20,000 Euro for a Fosse (by a British supplier) - which still does not have a conformity certificate!...... this was making me feel quite anxious bearing in mind our place cost only 3 times that! However - I am now going off at a tangent..... let me return to my request.......


We remained in contact with the female partner who had dealt with the property sale throughout 2011 and 2012 - she was really helpful & assisted with problems with EDF and the water board - she also contacted the Notaire in May 2012 when I told her that we had never had a bill for taxe d'habitation and taxe fonciere - she advised that it would take time as the properties had been 'split' and everything had to go through the 'land Registry' - she contacted the Notaire and we saw the response to 'do nothing' and 'wait' - and to not chase up anything under any circumstances - this e-mail was verified by a friend who speaks fluent French. The same happened the year after (2013) - then they 'sold up' and returned to the UK (we haven't spoken about this since). Well - we've been waiting and waiting - EDF / Water / Rubbish collection bills are all in our name and everything running smoothly - but we are very conscious that we have not paid taxes & we hate 'owing' money to anybody. Most people we have spoken to have said 'do nothing' but we are really conscious of the fact that it's coming up 4 years now. We paid cash for the house and have all of the documents from the Notaire - we also received a cheque for the remainder of the fees a few months after the sale - but we do not have any 'deeds' as such. We're quite concerned now - What should we do? Who should we contact about this? or do we just wait? Thanks!


(Sarah Crosby) #2

Hello!

I am having TF problems and one thing I can confirm is that in 2010 the gov decided to re-evaluate TF for all properties in France and little by little all owners are being sent forms to fill out and declare size/condition. Properties were last valued in 1970 and bills are based not only on size etc but your commune's expenditure (so taxes can vary greatly from village to village/town to town).

This, in addition to the land being separated, could also be a reason why you have no news.

Rather than just going to a local tax office, try going to the main one as you can enquire face to face and also see whoever is in charge of the cadastre for your area - they will have your plot clearly marked out

As of for deeds, a copy of the sous seingprivé is normally provided on signature but the acte finale is only confirmed by a letter that details the basics (price, cadastrale reference etc). Your notaire or the main tax office (for a fee) can give you a copy of the sous seing privé.

If you do suddently get 4 years' worth of bills don't panic - the tax office will let you pay in installments

If find yourself stumped with a bill that is proportionately too high according to the size of your property you can appeal and ask for a 'révision de la valeur' - a review that you take to the tax office along with a plan/photos/measurements

I haven't read all the comments here so maybe it has been sorted or you have received better advice but as someone who has been battling Les Impôts for four years you do have my sympathy!

Courage!


(Annmarie Jones) #3

Hi Peter - the Tresorie is in the nearest town as far as I know.


(Elizabeth mearns) #4

Thank you Veronnique,

I consider you a valuable resource, and will use your advice as possible.

The issue is really that I have done most of what you suggest. I have lived here 30 years. But, it seems to be impossible to have the responsible people follow the law.

At the gendarmerie there is a new regime of well-trained staff and there seems to be a move towards proper enforcement. This is where my current confidence lies and with the prosecutor.

May I tell you that until recently the brigade in question was listed on an European Union Investigating committee as one of the top ten most corrupt in Europe.

The avocat I employed was suddenly appointed by the maire to the village council, to a new position created after the recent elections. Yep! that's how it works. The geometre released my documents to the perpetrater without ever measuring the lines that go through his property, while I paid 2,600euroes for the document which he had me sign as a non-legally binding document, i.e. proces verbale, which is now being used by said avocat as an excuse for not being able to represent me, in addition to claiming his new appointment creates a conflict of interest. BTW he had my case before the appointment.

The geo turns out to have worked for the geometre representing my opponent and he has revealed confidential information about the case.

My plaintes against the bullying and violence are myriad and legendary, and waiting now for a court date. Finally the law is catching up with the reality. But, it has taken years, and is wearying. One of the neighbors hit me two years ago - another head butted me, detaching my retina, my husband was reported for harcelement sexuelle par telephone, even though he was in Kuala Lumpur at the time.

I appreciate your replies, and I concur with them, so I hope our exchange can help others.

About the chimney. A great result, a ramoneur with a license came, removed a couple of kilos of tar, gave me a certificate for the insurance and has promised to come each year when he cleans the inside of the neighbor's poele.

Whew, all this accomplished without a major dispute voisinage. One of the husbands stepped up, used his local 'street cred" and found the appropriate expert.

Thanks for asking.


(Véronique Langlands) #5

I'm French, Elizabeth, so I do know how things operate here and I'm just telling you how things need to be done in my country in order to get the result you want, regardless of how much of a stinker your particular Maire may be. 40 years isn't bad going, but I expect he'll retire at some stage. In any case, as I said, it is the Secrétaire de Mairie you need to have a chat with.

If the géomètre has done the bornage & the neighbour hasn't moved the fence after you have sent him a lettre recommandée with AR telling him he must, then you go & see the Gendarmes & dépose a plainte. Several times if need be. Violence and bullying are illegal, use the law.

How did you get on with the poêle à bois (or whatever it was) chimney with the carcinogenic effluvia?


(Elizabeth mearns) #6

I think you would need to know the Maire of this village before deciding if I am unwise.

The geometriste has already done a bornage, and the neighbor still insists on leaving his fence on my property.

There is a question of violence and bullying.

Maire's do not actually come and go. The one in question has been around for 40 years and is a crony of all the 'natives' who are not accepting of 'etrangers'. This is Le Pen land

Also, I looked at homes for sale around here, and I did not see anything with only 5 digits. I wonder how our friend from Hull with his second wife can find anything for 35,000, anywhere.


(Peter Bird) #7

If you are questioning anything to do with the TdF or TF bills, or lack of them then you will be sent to the 'Tresorie'. Is the Tresorie in the same village ?


(Annmarie Jones) #8

Have just followed the useful links here to the cadastral plan and located the one for our hamlet almost immediately! The properties have been split / registered......including a small piece of land that had that flipping tree on it! Next time we are over - will go to the Mairie with a copy and hopefully things will all be sorted. Thanks for the advice.....


(Annmarie Jones) #9

Thanks for the suggestion to check the cadastral plan - this will hopefully show that the property split has been registered. I suppose my underlying concern is that something underhand has gone on.......


(Véronique Langlands) #10

Elizabeth, you are unwise not to go to the Mairie first, the person to speak to is the Secrétaire de Mairie who is a trained civil servant appointed by the Préfecture, and not the Maire's secretary but the COMMUNE's secretary, an important distinction that it is worth bearing in mind. Maires come and go, according to electoral whim; Secrétaires de Mairie don't.

If in doubt go to the impôts fonciers people, their address is on the form for the impôts fonciers and probably isn't the same as your centre d'impôts sur le revenu, it likely to be in the chef-lieu de Canton. They will have a record of precisely what is yours, ie what you have been paying taxes on, and what is your neighbours; if need be you can then get a géomètre in to check that the bornage actually reflects the measurements of your property as registered on the cadastre. These measurements should also figure on the Acte Authentique, of which you have a copy as owner, made when you bought the property in question.

Your first port of call, however, for any potentially litigious land issues, should be the Mairie.


(Peter Bird) #11

Yes Terry, assuming they have the updated maps. Often they don't keep up to date and the best way is to check online or go to the nearest cadastral office. Correct, the Mairie cannot refuse yu the right to check the cadastral plans.


(Terry Williams) #12

Elizabeth, the mairie has to allow you to look at the cadastre. You can also find it online as someone has said -- go to Useful Links/Property and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Any dispute over who owns what will be resolved by a "géomètre expert" -- an independent certified surveyor. If your neighbour insists your land is really his, tell him to prove it by calling in the surveyor -- at his expense.


(Peter Bird) #13

Where's the problem ? Ask a friend to help with a translation, a local shcoolteacher who teaches english used to be the most common way of doing things but nowadays many more brits understand good french and not to mention many Mairies and/or Tresories who have staff who speak enough english. Stop looking for barriers. Brits come to France voluntarily and therfore should accept they may have limitations with the language etc. Such problems are easily dealt with nowadays.


(Peter Bird) #14

I have no idea if they can verify anything, ask them !


(Elizabeth mearns) #15

Is that good advice for newcomers who speak English.

Administrative French is quite specialised


(Elizabeth mearns) #16

Yes, I read the question. Then I added one.

Is it obvious that the Tresorie can not help in determining who has paid taxes on the plots on the cadastre. If not then who does determine such charges?


(Peter Bird) #17

Maybe the Mairie could be useful for checking the cadastral plans but otherwise I agree with you.


(Peter Bird) #18

The Tresorie can't help with that obviously but the question asked was concerning non reception of TdH & TF bills.


(Peter Bird) #19

Read the back of the TdH & TF bills or look online and you wilill find the exonerations.


(Elizabeth mearns) #20

One of my neighbors is claiming property I think I own, selon le cadastre. he thinks he owns it selon le bornage.

In what way could the Tresorie help with that. Can they verify that I have been paying taxes on the land the neighbor claims?