EU & French Government: Justice for Hood-winked Owners of French Leaseback Properties
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Justice is needed for people who were mis-sold French Leaseback properties with invalid promises, mis-leading marketing and mis-information.
People bought these properties at high prices as they came with leases that promised:
- guaranteed rents from operator
- maintenance taken care by operator
- have their property back at the end of the lease
- refund of VAT (TVA) by French government (normally payable on a new build)
The reality for many has been:
- co-erced into signing new leases with reduced rent (under threat of VAT clawback by French government) by operators who cannot/will not pay rent
- delayed, diminished or no rents paid by operator - operators going into receivership leaving owners stranded
- little or no maintenance by operator
- a lease that goes on forever in French law (a situation not referred to in the lease that owners signed) at least unless potentially huge eviction compensation is paid by the owner to get his property back
- French courts that are slow, expensive and unsympathetic
- high charges and taxes than were never mentioned in marketing and advertising
- lease terms ignored by operator / unco-operative operators who use the leased properties as a revenue stream with no regard for owners
- re-sale either impossible or value now fraction of purchase price
The conclusions are that they were mis-sold and there is inadequate consumer protection both at EU level and at national level.
The properties could never have achieved the rental yields (often 5%) used in marketing and stated in leases in order to sell them at inflated prices. In fact, the only reason they were given 'leaseback' status was because they were in areas that were un-developed for tourism.
The marketing was misleading about the nature of the property and that of a French 'commercial lease' and also the taxes and charges that would be due.
The properties equate to a 'financial product' since the lease is a fundamental part of the deed of sale and the legal status of the property (part of a Résidence du Tourisme).
- We are calling on the EU Parliament to regulate effectively (in a similar way to the Directive on Timeshare properties), and to make this retrospective in order to protect consumers not just going forward but for those of us already caught up in the nightmare.
- We are calling on the French government to respond effectively, so that issues outlined above with French Leaseback properties are resolved.
- We are calling on the Irish Central Bank - Director of Consumer Protection - to regulate those selling such 'investment properties' in order to protect Irish consumers going forward. Similarly for UK owners.
If the operator fails to pay rent and the owner cannot pay the French mortgage, the property can be re-possessed and fire-sold by French bank, and the owner may be pursued in Ireland for balance - peoples family homes are put at risk !!
Owners, already hugely financially compromised by this, need to be able to get back our properties without further payments to operators or French government.
For further information see Justice for French Leaseback Owners
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