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PaulaW

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Hi all,

I wondered if anyone can help...

I live in France and work from home for a UK employer - as an employee.  I have an E101 as if I were seconded, even though it was entirely my decision to move to France (and did so in  June 2008).  I'm also a lone parent.  I pay UK tax and NI and contribute nothing official to the French system.  Other than the obvious school (which did involve an official visit to the town hall) and insurance registrations,I don't even know that I am an official resident. 

When I moved here my job was as secure as any job can be these days but that has changed.  My working week has been halved and I am financially unable to sustain my living here.

Returning to the UK is a viable option but not before my tenancy agreement terminates in June (my parents, also living in France, are guarantors and I can't leave them paying for the remaining months here!).

Obviously I don't get the support here I would in the UK in terms of income top-up or housing benefit but I wondered if anyone had any advice on what help, if any, was available in France?  I'd really rather not live on benefits and am actively seeking other work but my main concern is covering my rent so that my parents don't have to pay it, before returning to the UK. 

Any help or advice would be sincerely appreciated.

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[quote user="PaulaW"]Returning to the UK is a viable option but not before my tenancy agreement terminates in June (my parents, also living in France, are guarantors and I can't leave them paying for the remaining months here!).[/quote]

What sort of a tenancy agreement do you have? Furnished or unfurnished? (Although it sounds like a furnished one to me since unfurnished tenancies are generally for a minimum 3-year period on the landlord's side but with the tenant able to break before that). Normally, IIRC, the situation is that a tenant can leave at any rental payment point having given the appropriate notice (can't remember if it is 1 month or 2).

Regards

Pickles

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You Sorry to hear of your problems and can't really help with your rental query but I wanted to say that I believe there is a big shadow of doubt over the legitimacy of your working situation, you cannot simply move to France and continue to work from home for a UK employer.

The usual procedure for this would be for them to set up a French entity through which they would employ you paying the necessary taxes and social charges in France in the process. Obviously this could be a very expensive and complicated business so not many employers will consider it, certainly not for a single employee. The other option is for an individual to establish a legitimate business in France then contract back to the UK employer but again this can be a potentially ruinously expensive undertaking.

I say this not to compound your difficulties but to make you aware because it could create a problem for you if you were to reveal your circumstances to the wrong people in France.

Good luck.

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Ernie seems to me to have summed this up rather neatly.  As you have thus far chosen to stay under the French tax and social security radar, then as far as the system here is concerned you do not exist (having not contributed a euro to the French social security coffers) and it can't, realistically, be expected to support you.  This is the downside of not doing things correctly.  It's fine when life goes well, but by eschewing the sytstem, you also remove the safety nets that go with it.

Having said that, that's not much help to you and your poor kids.  As you are still in the UK system and are paying into it, then it's my belief that you need to return there to claim anything.  You could also try talking to the social security professionals here, throwing yourself at their mercy.  Nobody will want you to be destitute and may take a sympthetic view, especially with children involved. 

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I hesitate to disagree with such luminaries as ErnieY and Cooperlola, but I believe your situation is perfectly legitimate and you have nothing to worry about in that respect as you say you have an E101.

This presumably was issued to coincide with your arrival in France in June 2008 and will (under normal circumstances) be valid until June 2009, when you can apply for renewal. Subject to the agreement of DWP/HMRC (in UK) and CLEISS (in France) you can renew it for a maximum of one further year, after which you should either return to Britain or regularise your position in France, normally by registering as self employed or becoming employed in France by a French subsidiary of your employer or a portage company.

That doesn't answer your immediate problem, but as far as officialdom is concerned you still count as a UK employee and UK employment laws will apply, so as such you are not likely to get much help from France but should be able to claim whatever you may be entitled to as if you were still in Britain.

The French health care and social security question is easily answered - your E101 will allow you to use an EHIC to obtain the same level of health cover in France that any French citizen would receive, i.e. 70% refund of doctor fees, 65% of cost of medicines etc.

Believe me, I have been in France on E101 myself so I know how it works. Admittedly that was a few years ago now, but as far as I am aware nothing substantial has changed (apart from the EHIC taking over from the old E128).

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Thanks all,

Cheers for the heads up re notifying anyone.  It looks like my only option, then, is to return to the UK ASAP to get work.

So, in response to Pickles, I am renting a furnished property with a private landlady.  I am not fluent in French so can't understand the entire contract but it does say, under the heading "Duee Du Contrat":  "Bail a duree normale - Le present contrat est conclu pour une duree de 1 an"... which I take to mean it's at least a year.  The contract itself is entitled, "Contrat de location meublee - exclue du champ d'application de la loi no.89-462 du 6 juillet 1989". 

I'm probably in the wrong section of the forum now :(

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I would agree with pickles about the tenancy.

Usually the tenant can give notice at any time before the end of the 'bail'.

It is the landlord who can't get you out before.

This period of notice can vary, but I believe it is never more than 3 months.

It is probably written on your contract.

As for help, the problem with the equivalent of housing benefit (the Allocation pour Logement) is that as I understand it, it  is given on the basis of last year's earnings, not your current situation

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Appologies to both Paula and Will (who is generally pretty bang-on target with these things.)  However, I got the impression from Paula's post that she was wondering if any extra social security benefits might be due - rather than just asking about healthcare, on which subject I am quite sure Will has it right.  Certainly Benjamin has a point too in that child benefit may well be payable.  As said above, in your position, I think I'd ask your local secu if they can help.  Face to face one encounters more compassion than the letter of the law might suggest, in my experience.

Bon courage, whatever happens.[:)]

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You're right, C, it was about any state help I might be able to get for a short time until I go back to the UK - but Will possibly remembers my pre-move quandary which was completely referring to healthcare and the E101.  My understanding of my working here is also as Will's in that I am not working in the black.  But I should still, somewhere along the line, have registered with the French authorities and I have failed to do so - for this very reason.  I tend to have the outlook that nothing is forever, especially jobs and I always thought there was a serious possibility of having to go home.  But - nothing ventured, nothing gained and I am one of the lucky ones in terms of having plenty of people willing to put me and my son up for a few weeks in the UK, until I find my feet.

In answer to Ben's question:  Yes, I do get UK child benefit.  I also get my tax credits but even that, plus my wages only just covers my rent.  It does not cover my living expenses, even on the typical, limited 'lone parent' budget.

My main worry now is not so much the period of notice I have to give - I can cover that - but that I will not be held to the remaining four months of my tenancy agreement.  I don't mind being liable for the money (I can work out a repayment structure once I am back in work), that's fine but if my parents (as guarantors) were made to pay my rent for several months (given that their pensions have been considerably reduced by the pound's relative weakness against the Euro) it would be considerably damaging to them.  What I really need to know is if they will be liable - and I suspect they will, even if I give notice.

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Will, thank you but I'm sure I do not deserve the accolade of 'luminairy' and will always bow to you on the topic of E forms [:$]

However, on 22/08/07 HERE you wrote:

[quote user="Will"]....E101 is issued to those on assignment overseas. It's

not an easy form to get hold of. It can be issued to the employed or

self-employed. Although circumstances vary, in general you have to be

continuing, without a break, the same work that you were doing in your

home country. It does not apply to you if it is your intention to move

permanently to France. Although it could be used if you are not sure

that a move to France will work out, and you want to test the water -

that's probably against the spirit of the rules, but, as they say, 'how

do they know?'

Obviously, if you have sold up in Britain and moved your family to

France, the authorities are unlikely to consider that you are on

'temporary assignment'.[/quote]

From which I think we can assume that PaulaW's position is indeed 'irregular' can we not ?

Again apologies that this does not really add anything to the question in hand about the rental obligations.

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Paula, as a European citizen there is no requirement (yet) for you to register with anybody. This has been talked about, but the proposed law has yet to enter force.

As an E101 holder your status is quite different from those on forms like E121 or E106 in that you are still entirely under the UK tax and NI system; although under reciprocal agreements any necessary healthcare is taken care of in the same way that it is for any visitor, your benefits and social security rights and obligations remain totally UK-based. So unfortunately there is not likely to be anything available from France. No harm in asking, of course, but I think you will need to seek support from UK, which I agree could be difficult as you are paying French rent. I don't think you could expect any direct contribution to the rental, though there could well be income supplements and further credits which you could use to minimise the risk to your parents. You would need a UK benefits specialist's advice. Maybe the CAB in your home area could help?

I'm slightly worried about your reference to people in Britain being able to put you up, this would suggest you do not actually have a UK address, which is skating on rather thin ice as far as E101 issue is concerned. The E101 is a temporary measure, and you are expected to at least be in a position to readily return to UK when either your employment ends or your E101 cover expires. A permanent UK address is not essential, but it is one thing that is considered when granting the form. As long as you (or rather your employer) was honest when applying, and you have not severed your home ties in the same way as one might when moving permanently overseas, it should not be a major problem.

(Edit - I hope the final paragraph covers Ernie's perfectly valid resurrection of a previous discussion. He posted as I was writing my answer).

 

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[quote user="PaulaW"]

My main worry now is not so much the period of notice I have to give - I can cover that - but that I will not be held to the remaining four months of my tenancy agreement.  I don't mind being liable for the money (I can work out a repayment structure once I am back in work), that's fine but if my parents (as guarantors) were made to pay my rent for several months (given that their pensions have been considerably reduced by the pound's relative weakness against the Euro) it would be considerably damaging to them.  What I really need to know is if they will be liable - and I suspect they will, even if I give notice.

[/quote]

The usual agreement binds the landlord to let the place for a year, but not the tenant to stay there for  a year.

You can give notice and go whenever you want.

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Although I have no personal experience, I would agree with what NormanH says about French rental agreements. As long as you pay up to the end of your notice period - and you have left the place in a proper condition - there should be no further obligation.
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Will

Your worries for Paula's situation could be unfounded in the case where she had been a renter (as opposed to a house owner) in the UK before coming to France to work. Surely the UK authorities would not expect anyone to continue paying UK rent if they weren't living there?

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I *really* appreciate the comments. You guys helped me move here (especially Will) and that you're helping me again, now, is great - thank you so much.

Will, I have been totally straight with all authorities - I have no UK address, they knew this.  Also, many thanks for your reassurance re the tenancy agreement - and to you too, NormanH!

Benjamin, you're right...  I was renting in the UK.  No one at Newcastle uttered a word about having a UK address when I applied for the E101.

 

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You should get the deposit back too.

Some landlords insist on keeping it until the 'état des lieux' has been done (this is their right, and is normal)

If you are lucky and have been a good tenant the landlord might accept it as payment for the last or last two months, according to how much you paid.

You can't insist on that though.

Might not be a huge sum but could help.

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Just to confirm what others - eg JR - have posted; I've checked up various sources and for a furnished rental the tenant can leave before the end of the tenancy provided they give 1 month's notice in writing to the landlord. There are various sites that give you a form of words to use but essentially it is very simple. The 3 months' notice, reduced to 1 for loss of employment, relates to unfurnished lettings only. Hence the sooner you give notice, the sooner you will be able to go back.

Regards

Pickles

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[quote user="PaulaW"]...I have been totally straight with all authorities - I have no UK address, they knew this..  I was renting in the UK.  No one at Newcastle uttered a word about having a UK address when I applied for the E101. 
 
[/quote]

That's great - you should be well and truly in the clear as far as the authorities in both France and UK are concerned.

I felt I had to mention it because the E101 route might appear to some other forum users like a rather tempting way of avoiding French charges when starting up in business in France; and it can be employed in this way as long as you meet certain conditions. However with the advent of the autoentrepreneur and micro social regimes there may be less need to play the E-form game. 

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