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Grays

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  1. I have just spoken to France Telecom on their very busy (but handy) english speaking phoneline 0800 364775 for those who may need it. Anyway, we have sold to more Brits and they want to take over the phone contract and keep the existing number. particularly as they will continue to run the gite/B&B business and the ads/marketing has this contact number. Well the person i spoke to says this is not possible. That i must end my contract, and they mmust start a new one. Not a problem, what is a problem is that they say the number will change and it is not possible to keep the existing phone number. Anyone had a similar problem, or as i hope, have i just been misinformed by an inexperienced operator. thanks Gram
  2. I now have pretty much filled the van for Oct trip, but there may be some space available on a trip in Early November going from Bristol or Farnham UK back to S-W France ...Dordogne area. Gram
  3. We have a virtually empty van leaving south west Uk around the 8th of Oct 2006 and travelling down to Dordogne. upto 3 cubic metres space available. any takers e-mail me Gram
  4. Learn the language, if you don't already speak it. even those of us who have a large percentage of english speaking customers/guests still need to have a reasonable level of French language. perhaps i might add that, it is possible to get by with less than 4 gites, but only if other sources of income are also investigated
  5. Long winter & out of season lets at low prices can really only be a way of keeping the place warm and free of winter damp etc, and certainly not (in my experience) a source of much profit. and especially not when your guests knowing that the heating/electric/gas bills are included, turn everything on to max and show no regard for the high cost of the utility or the amount they may be using. I've reeled this story out before.....but how can i forget being asked to change a gas bottle on the gite oven, one March day, only to find the heating on full, the whole place uncomfortably hot (for me in my jumper and winter togs) and our guest family walking around in t-shirts like it was summer.....which of course it was in the gite!!!
  6. Just to finish this little saga, as its 6 days since our American friends vacated our gite. Last Tuesday they emerged, after several days holed up in the apartment with only the occasional sighting of one of them on the way to the laundry room. The Father loaded their car, and came and spoke to us.....actually apologising and shaking our hands repeatedly. meanwhile the mother and son sulkily climbed into the car without a single glance our way. The gite had been cleaned to a very good standard and all was in order....so at least some principles still in order. In fact they had even left us behind a 6 compact disc learn to speak french pack....snigger !! So ends that little saga for us. once again thanks to everyone for the comments and support Gram
  7. Well, just to update on this episode, I had a long chat with the father this morning and took a copy of the contract and pre-translated sections that were relevant, plus the original e-mails booking the apartment and agreeing to the terms and conditions. I started by reminding him that back in early March they had contacted us and asked to book a 4 month let at our apartment from 1st June to 30 Sept 2006. Having agreed the monthly price, they asked for a contract...in order to gain Visa's...and they happily paid the 4 months in advance. I pointed out that they had possesion of the contract two months before they arrived on 1st June and no one had hurried them into signing it, and as it was a fairly straight forward contract it was not in any way unfair to be held to it if one of the parties tried to get out of it. I asked him had they understood it or had it translated before signing, the mother and son had enough french to understand it and had thought it ok. What makes you think you should be refunded then, if you can see our contract is fair and states no refund upon early departure...i said We certainly had honoured it, and yet they were behaving as if we had been caught taking money out of their pockets. SO far so good, and perhaps even some embarassment from the man, as I placed the evidence of their e-mails and the english translation in front of him. Well of course the only response i got was that " it is unfair to pay for something we are not getting" and " my wife says you haven't tried hard enough to re-let the apartment" but it was certainly not said with half the force or spite that it had been two days ago, in fact it was almost a whisper in comparison, and had no conviction any more. Probably because they were his wife's words ..not his, and if he were honest I don't think he really believed them himself. Thank heavens one of this family was reasonable and prepared to listen. ANyway, without boring you too much, an hour and a half of talk took place, I rubbished the idea that I would make little attempt to re-book an empty gite, and (once again) explained that as a business we cannot refund because someone doesn't want to stay in France as long as they thought they would. We have parted amicably for now, but I asked that the Mother & son be warned to respect our privacy for the rest of their stay...ie if they can't shut up, don't come near us. One bit of good news...seems they are leaving next Tuesday, 3 days earlier than originally planned. Beer in hand now it all seems so ridiculous, my Other half and I will be very pleased to put this little episode behind us.....but....one week to go at least for that. Gram
  8. Oi, less of the wimp bit please. I'm 6 ft and built like a 70's era rugby player. So have no fear i am not intimidated by our guests, well perhaps the mothers a bit scary !! We had (we thought) built up a good relationship with them over three months, but it appears we may have simply been useful to them, and now that the money question has reared itas ugly head, they are more than prepared to name call and threaten us. more later, as i am determined to speak to them this morning and put them right. # Gram
  9. thanks for the suggestions, advice and thoughts all you people. Of the friends we have talked to about this, all have expressed surprise that we even entered into a debate about it. one couple who also run a gite/B&B business said they would have laughed at the suggestion of giving a refund. but its not that simple when there are 12 more days of sharing a garden, courtyard and laundry room with three hostile guests who believe they have been ripped off a months rent. I may well take up the suggestion of a morning chat with the father, who is the most reasonable, the mother and son have short tempers and are very outspoken. Even so, we have pretty much decided that a refund is not going to happen on our part. If talk and pacifying fails then i think its baton down the hatches and stick to our guns...and watch the fireworks again. Gram
  10. [quote user="Eslier"]Surely, the important thing here is the contract. You state, you have issued a "standard" contract that simply states the rental is for a minimum period of three months and that 60 days notice must be given to terminate the contract. Surely then, if your tenants gave notice at the end of June, then they have complied with the contract and are entitled not to have to pay for September. It sounds as though you have used a standard long term letting contract rather than a holiday let contract which is, I guess, where the confusion lies. Did your tenant(s) provide you with written notice at the end of June or did you, at any time give them confirmation in writing that you had accepted their notice ? If this is the case then you probably just have to write it off and forget about any rent for September. If nothing of this sort has been exchanged in writing then it would be difficult for your tenants to prove that 60 days notice has been given. [/quote] The contract is for a short term 3 months to 5 month 30 day let, furnished, seasonal let, not a standard long term contract as us Brits may know them. though it is a standard issue in these situations with a holiday property. The 60 day notice applies to cancellation before occupation, with a sliding scale for amount of notice given, ie 90 days gets 100% refund 60 days 50 % etc. The next clause covers our situation and states that in the case of early vacation of the property there shall be no refund owed on the balance of the lease. So as you see I think we are covered by our contract, the problem for our guests is that as the contract was in French i think they mis translated the two above paragraphs and thought 60 days notice could be given after they had moved in. And if your French is not good, the second clause could be wrongly interpreted in the positive, ie that a refund would be owed. Anyway, as the Father was waving the contract about, I pointed out their error in the first part, but have yet to get the chance to refer them to the no refund clause. The son seems to regard the contract as the tool of a greedy landlord anyway so apart from (we think) having the law on our side, the main issue now seems to be that we should refund to show we are not greedy capitalists. This family are very big on conspiracy theories, having lent me a book by David Icke that takes the view that the CIA was responsible for the 9/11 Trade centre bombings and Bush and Blair are puppets of the Illuminati.... http://www.completefrance.com/cs/images/emotions/whistling.gif I'm all for keeping an open mind on these things, but our Americans are positively full of anti-government rhetoric, which seems to be the reason why they left the States for Europe. ANyway back to subject, No we had no written notice, and when they changed their minds the second time I only heard about it when my other half mentioned it a few days later. her absent mindedness as much as their seeming belief that it wasn't that important a subject to tell me about.....I do all the advertising and booking stuff you see. So apart from having to "again" change the availabilty calenders on our advertising, I have had almost daily requests for intenet access and telephone use to allow them to alter travel arrangements, sort out car hire issues and even been asked to speak to someone at UPS France who as our guests put it..."doesn't seem to speak English...how come when they work for an international company ??" Anyway.....its 24 hours since our confrontation and subsequent row, and they have not stepped out of the apartment since. So I have not even had the chance to speak to the father again...let alone assess the mood in our guests camp. Gram
  11. [quote user="betoulle"]we have a strict rule with all our 'friends' to please phone 1st to ask before 'turning up'- mainly cos we are so busy a lot of the time it is often not convenient to down tools for a social cuppa .[/quote] Yes Its really really hard when you are self employed and busy at all hours explaining to "friends" that it is an inconvienient time to pop around. We regularly seem to be subject to the "dreaded" car pulling into the courtyard, horn beeping, be it Monday,Sunday or Friday..whatever... anytime between 8am and 9pm sometimes even later, and always friends and aquaintances who know we are busy people but assume we will stop work for them for an hour to make tea and chat...even during a changeover day. I've had phone calls from bored friends asking what i'm doing, and have had to bite my lip to avoid screaming that i "was in the garden cutting the grass/cleaning the games room/showing the just arrived guests to their apartment/hanging up bed linen/cleaning a toilet. When of course what i'm really doing is answering the phone to you !!
  12. don't take offence, but i assume the last reply was not from someone trying to earn a living from holiday rentals. This booking was confirmed back in April, we take 90% of our summer (June to Sept) bookings by the end of May. generally we would not take a long let in summer as we make our core money from the weekly lets in July & Aug. the four month rate charged took into account the fact we were sacrificing those higher rates for the drop in work load, and the monthly rate would not have been offered without September being part of the deal. I have been very calm with our guests so far, but am actually quite angry with the idea that we would be expected to give up a large part of our summer income because they have decided they don't like France.
  13. I posted earlier in June about our American guests who are staying for 4 months ( 1st June to 30th Sept) on a long term let. For which i issued a "contrat de location meublee" (location saisonniere) for the period. They paid all four months in advance plus a breakage deposit. They came over lock stock and barrel intending to find a permenant home in France, and within a week decided they didn't like France (or Europe). That aside we have had a good relationship with them, even though they have been quite demanding and treat our private quarters like a reception desk at a hotel. Back in June they informed us (as stated after just 10 days in France)they would leave at the end of July, just two months into their 4 month rental. I told them I may be able to refund some money "IF" i could re-let the apartment and so re-advertised the time with our websites etc. two weeks after that they informed me that they would now stay till around the 27th August. Not too much hassle as I hadn't had any new bookings confirmed for the apartment by then. Last week I had an initial enquiry for two weeks in September and mentioned this to our guests, saying if it was confirmed then I would almost certainly be able to give them some money back on top of their breakage deposit. Yesterday the father and son came down demanding to talk to me and carrying a copy of the contract. When I called to my partner Sarah they stated it didn't concern her as her name was not on the contract and she wasn't even my legal wife. Obviously tempers started to flare before they had even stated their problem....Sarah and the son (who is 32 and not small) had a slanging match where he called us typical greedy Europeans and penny pinching fools. Meanwhile I managed to get the father to explain that their problem was, they expected to get a full refund for September...as they wouldn't be staying, and they were incensed that I had said a couple of days earlier that i may possibly be able to refund but only on obtaining a re-let of the gite. They told me that as they understood the contract to be a minimum 3 month let contract, and that provided 60 days notice was given they would be entitled to a refund of all monies paid for the fourth month. Which of course explains why they had decided to stay to the end of August. I have informed them that they will not get any money unless i can re-let, and even then it will only be a proportion. My understanding is that they have booked 4 months as the contract states, and regardless of the contract being called a 3 month minimum letting contract they are liable for their own losses and not me. I do not see that i have mislead them or that I have gone beyond my rights by refusing to refund what our contract states is rent for a 4 month period....far from it we have been friendly, helpful and certainly not greedy as landlords. Anyone got any advice, opinions or similar experiences. I would be happy to hear from you as I have two more weeks with these guests and having seen a nasty side to them I would really like to know that I am in the right before I attempt to talk to them any more about this issue.
  14. And thanks for the replies folks. It has helped me take a firmer stand on this refund issue.
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