I live in the UK with my French wife. She has two siblings in France. Her mother lives on the other side of the world. Her mother had a half sister, living in France, who recently died. One of her brothers is ‘dealing’ with the inheritance tax implications, along with a notaire he employed to act as executor. The other members of the family, including my wife, and her mother, have been kept abreast of progress, but haven’t been directly involved.
The half sister who died had been renting an apartment in Paris since 1990. My wife has recently alerted me to a communication from the landlord to the notaire asking for a substantial sum of money for repairs he - the landlord - has made to the apartment after regaining possession. He is asking for fifty percent of the cost of repairs. Having seen the landlords letter, sent to the notaire, It seems extraordinary to me that he, the landlord, should have carried out repairs amounting to €70000, without prior consultation, and expect to be reimbursed for half of this. But then I know nothing of French law!
My wife’s brother had previously told the rest of the family that there was no possibility of the landlord asking for any money for repairs to the apartment as the tenancy had been going on so long. The family assumed he had received legal advice to this effect from the notaire.
My wife is no longer certain this is the case. The family are all on friendly terms but nobody - least of all the brother - seems to have unearthed an actual statement in law that backs up either the landlords claim or his (the brother’s) counter claim. Suggestions from my wife that her brother seek independent advice have met with zero enthusiasm. Quite why the notaire he has employed is not providing this advice is unclear.
I have discovered there are free legal advice centres comparable to British Citizens Advice Bureaux, called maisons de justice et du droit, in France, but as we’re not in France and if the brother won’t visit them I am contemplating contacting a French lawyer in the UK ourselves.
I’m posting this here on the off chance someone may have encountered a similar situation or may know of a lawyer who might be helpful. It’s a long shot, I know.
Neither my wife nor I are at all keen to get involved; but we are concerned that my brother in law might find himself persuaded to act in a way that was not in the family’s best interests. I feel the law must be clear on this issue. Either the estate is liable, or it is not.