Legal Advice queries

Dear Guillaume
thank you for your message.
The electrician decided to stop his business for personal reasons rather than financial. I feel he was fed up with all the paper work and prefers to work for someone else. I also gather from snippets of infromation gleaned over coffee that he began some studies relating to his work but gave up as he didn’t enjoy studying?? We have payed two thirds of his bill which considering materials used we feel is fair.When for the second time he requested by e mail that we pay the whole of his bill I answered with an email that we meet at the house. Of course as so many times in the past he didn’t turn up. He promised so often to complete pieces of work that we were used to him not turning up. It is now almost two years since he started. My concern is are we now within our rights to employ another electrician to finish the work and bring some of the work up to the current norms. The second electrician who took a brief tour of the work mentioned that we need the consuel to survey the house. Who are they?? I thought I’d done my bit by completing a dossier for ERDF. Are we required to send the previous electrician a letter by recorded delivery or see a justice or do we take his absence as a sign… We only want to be fair even though we are dissapointed and feel let down. The electrician or lack of is slowing the progress of the renovation down and consequently costing us money and more importantly time. We are living in rented accomodation which only add to the costs.
Thank you so much for your advice

@Karen Boyd

Dear Karen,

My first observation is that you wish to build a chalet in which case a planning permission will be necessary and a CU will therefore not be necessary.

As regards to taxe foncière (land tax), whoever is the owner on 1st January of a year will be liable for the tax at the end of the year.
Considering that you take into account the residence, your question may actually be about taxe d’habitation. For this tax, whoever is the occupier on 1st January of a year will be liable for the tax at the end of the year. Bear in mind however that it is possible to be exempt from this tax for 2 years following completion of the property.

I hope this helps.

@Lorraine Langston

Dear Lorraine,

Having read your comment, it seems that there are two separate issues to be addressed:

  1. If the electrician’s business is in administration or liquidation, you may wish to register as a creditor for the work paid but not yet carried out with the appointed liquidator. Gather all the papers, photos and invoices that you may have to provide copies to the liquidator. Obviously, if you seek compensation and there are no assets left in the company, there is little chance to retrieve anything from it but it is always worth registering.

  2. As regards to the compliance of the works with the local authorities, it would be advisable to start by contacting the Mairie and discuss your situation. The objective will be to regularize the works by requesting the relevant authorisations before you can resume the rewiring. If these authorisations can be obtained, you will be able to correct the electrical shortcomings. Eventually, you can request a form from the Mairie to evidence completion of the works.

I hope this will help.

You are probably guilty but not prosecutable. Joke

Advice please. We are renovating a 17 c farmhouse and are now thankfully nearing the end, or so we thought. We employed in May 2009 an electrician who seemed to be au fait with older properties and sympathetic to what we were trying to create. Although he was forever disappearing he seemed to be doing a reasonable job. It now transpires that he has dissolved his business. However despite this:- A friend of a friend (Another electrician) came to examine the work and stated that there were a number issues with our electricians work. One of the failings was that no contact had been made with the Consuel who apparently have the task of examining such renovation work and then either giving it the thumbs up or otherwise. Apparently this contact was one of the major stepping stones en-route to EDF making the final connection and is the responsibility of the electrician who is carrying out the work. The new electrician stated that the work so far would not likely pass as there were a number of problems.

Although we have paid 2 instalments of the electrician’s devis there is still a substantial amount of outstanding work. The type of things we are talking about include whole rooms unwired, connections to EDF boxes not made and lighting wires left hanging from the ceilings. The list of failings include light switches too low; joints in wires, cable runs in concrete floors left unfilled; to name but a few. Believe it or not we have now received his final bill. Obviously we are not paying - indeed all our local friend state that if we did then we would not see the electrician again. What I need to know is the correct way of notifying the electrician that we will not be paying, that we now do not want him to complete the work because of his sub-standard work and materials and not least the year and nine months it has taken to complete the work to the state that it is in now. We have been advised to notify him by recommende of our intentions and give him a time limit to contact us; to take the advice of an advocate and simply to refuse him entry.

Has anyone out there been in a similar situation and does anyone have a similar experience

Any advice greatfully received

Hi Colin,

Contact Judy Mansfield of First Rate FX, she can help you I’m sure.


Hello, not sure this is the best place to ask but anyway… I need to send some money (about 1000 euros) to my account in the UK. Can anyone advise as to the cheapest way of doing it. I have an account with Credit du nord in France. Any answers appreciated! Also happy St Paddy’s day to everyone.

You’re a girl after my own heart! I come from cider drinking country (Devon/Somerset border) but now in the Gers so guess that pint will have to wait a while…


Mine’s a pint of dry cider!

Kate that’s great thanks I saved about 5 euros on what the man in La Poste told me it would be… I owe you a drink!


Regarding sending books in the post there is a special cheap tarif for books etc - see link below.

Or there is the MIni Max service for other items:



Dear Michelle,

Welcome and many thanks for your feedback.

I am unsure if your enquiry is about growing your business or about taxes relating to your business. As it may be both, I shall provide pointers for each one:

Setting up your activity
You may wish to visit your local Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie (CCI). I found that some can be very helpful in particular as they know the local business situation. They may also point you in the right direction to obtain subsidies and maybe join business networks and events that would help your business grow.
I also suggest that you join the SFN group “Business Owners in France” which could prove extremely useful.
From a “legal” perspective you may require certain authorisations (the CCI can certainly help assess this) and you will need to make sure that you register administratively on the Registre du Commerce with the Greffe of your local Tribunal de Commerce.
These administrative steps are not required if you were to register under “auto entrepreneur” which could be a solution if you meet the conditions.

Only once you have determined administratively the activity you carry out and after the registration chosen for your business can you assess which taxes will be applied to your income. In any case, it is paramount that you keep up to date accounts even if they are in a simple form. It will be useful if the French tax authorities require justifications on elements included in your tax return.
Once again, the CCI and most certainly the “Business Owners in France” group should be a good source of information.

There are of course many things to add to the above but I think this should get you started.

I hope this helps.

Thanks Jo - sent you a message n friend request. Re paperbacks, think there’s a special rate for books, but have no details, sorry - hope someone else can help!

Does anyone know how to send small packets and letters cheaper to the UK?
I cancelled sending a secondhand paperback to a friend this week , it was 6.50 euro…Outrageous! I can buy 6 books for that!

I sell thing on ebay uk too and its too expensive to post them for most of my clients they get put off unless I only post when I go back to the uk…which is not often any more.

any clues anyone?

re: MIND in france…these 2 sites look interesting


Also, have you asked MIND UK? and arn’t they called something else now?, which totally escapes my mind! or did they change to MIND from something else? Oh dear looks like mine has gone!

Hilary I’m an ex mental health nurse (until 2008 in the uk) and I don’t know yet, I shall try do an internet search, but I do know that if you are registered for the french health services, you can choose your own doctors, therapists and nurses so I assume if you need specific, personalised professional help it should be easier to come by than the uk. I happen to have an appointment with a therapist on friday in fact, so will be able to let you know more at the weekend,…message me if you like by adding me to friends list.

Is anyone aware of a French equivalent of the mental health organisation Mind? Thanks

@Patricia Lockett

Dear Patricia,

A tontine clause is also called “clause d’accroissement” or “clause aléatoire” in a title deed.

I hope this helps.



Inheritance Question…my husband a I bought our poperty here in the Lot in 2006 and requested a tontine cause to be included. I’ve searched our copie authentique to confirm this but cannot find anything. Could you tell me what wording I should be looking for please.

Suzanne Fitzgerald, When we bought our house in the Herault in the Languedoc region we did signed the Compromis de vent in France but all the following paperwork was handled by a wonderful notaire, M. Sebastian Farges in Montblanc, and passed along over the internet. It worked out quiet well. He had the power of attorney to sign things in our behalf.