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TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience:  Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
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HelloWe moved to France in 2008 and we own and live in an

Customer Question

Hello
We moved to France in 2008 and we own and live in an apartment at 4th floor. The apartment building is 5 floors high and has 9 apartments. When we bought the apartment we discovered a roof terrace on the top, 6th floor, and the main stair case leading to the door who functions as an emergency exit. The door was closed and we asked the syndic for a key. Syndic told us that they did not have a key and that the only person who had a key was the neighbour from the 5th floor.
Syndic asked him to give us a key immediately and told us that he had exclusively used the terrace illegally and that he had closed the emergency exit for everybody in many years. Before the neighbour gave us a key he removed most of his furniture: beds, chairs and tables. But he has still has some furniture on the terrace, in the stairs, and in front of the emergency exit.

For one year ago, the neighbour from the 5th floor, who is also the president in our copropriété suggested a new syndic, his friend. He told us that this man had worked for our copropriété before but that he had been dismissed. He also said that we can give him a chance for one year.

Well, it is a disaster. Every time we have seen the man from syndic he is drunk coming on a scooter. He does not answer our emails, telephones etc. He uses his own contacts, companies which have made very bad job on the pipes on the roof. We have to do the job again. The workers he used for another job put water on the electric installations so we lost electricity for a whole day and did not have water in 2 days. It is dangerous to continue with him. He communicates only with the neighbour from the 5th floor. The neighbour at 5th floor is very seldom at home, so the communication with the rest of us is almost impossible.The rest of the owners are older ladies, which are easily manipulated by the neighbor from the 5th floor.

We have found a new syndic and we have sent letters to all the owners about the situation. Only 3 owners live in the apartments. The rest are renting and 5 apartments are empty.

Now we have received a a convocation where in point/question Nrº 17 it is written that the neighbour from the 5th floor wants the exclusive right to the roof terrace. It says also that his apartment is attached to the roof terrace which is of course not true. The entrance to the terrace is from the main stairs that everyone can use and it is the emergency exit.
It is going to be discussion and voting and decision on the General Assembly. We are of course shocked and worried. It is too much.

We have 2 questions:

1.Can people vote for this, to close our only emergency exit? Can we send him/syndic a registered letter and ask him/syndic to take away this case/question nr.17 from the days order or we will take him to the court. He is risking peoples life by closing the only emergency exit we have.

2. Can we send him/syndic a registered letter about his drinking problem and ask him to stop or we will take him to the court.

We want to stop the voting because we are afraid that syndic and the neighbour from 5th floor, who are friends, will manipulate the older ladies to vote for them.

We have already sent a registered letter to the neighbour from the 5th floor and asked him to move all his furniture from the roof terrace and the stairs and to make access to the roof terrace to everybody. We also asked him to give all residents in the building a key if he has not done it yet.

Best regards
Krystyna Grygiel & Erik Strand-Hansen
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  Wendy-Mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I'm Wendy, and I’m a moderator for this topic.

We have been working with the professionals to try to help you with your question. Sometimes it may take a bit of time to find the right fit.

I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still needing assistance from one of the professionals.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello


 


Of course I am waiting for the answer from the expert in French Law.


 


I though you have lawyers who can answer in relatively short time.


 


How long time it will take to get an answer ?


 


Kind regards


Krystyna

Expert:  Fran-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

We cannot predict how long it will take until a professional answers. It depends upon many variables such as the nature and complexity of the question and the areas of. expertise and time constraints of the lawyers on line.

We will be searching for a French Law professional for you. Thank you for your patience.
Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, your situation is very complex.

As you read my answer, do keep in mind that the general information that I have provided you CANNOT replace the personalized advice one can expect of an attorney/client relationship.

First, in French law, the rules are not the same if the exit is for normal use or for emergency use. You will all first have to agree on the type of exit this is. You call it an “emergency exit” (sortie de secour), however your neighbour on the 5th floor may call it a regular exit (d’usage normal). You must consult your by laws “reglement de copropriét” to see the type of exit it is. You first must be sure that the door to the roof is considered as an emergency exit

Can people vote for this, to close our only emergency exit?

In French law, emergency exits by definition are closed to the public. If it is not considered an emergency exit, then people can vote on the way the door/stairs/terrace will be used and if the use will be free or for a price and the amount if priced

Can we send him/syndic a registered letter and ask him/syndic to take away this case/question nr.17 from the days order or we will take him to the court?

Yes, you can ask the syndic to take the question off the list of the order of the day in accordance to the by laws of your apartment building. You will have to consult your by laws to see the specific procedure for asking the syndic to take a question off.


Can we send him/syndic a registered letter about his drinking problem and ask him to stop or we will take him to the court?

Yes, you can. However, you must be very careful with the wording of this type of letter, because it can back fire and be turned against you, even criminally. The man that you consider as having a drinking problem may not have a drinking problem and may not like being accused of being an alcoholic. You will need solid proof that he is an alcoholic (that he has a drinking problem). Also if you threaten to take him to court, this could be considered as a threat and/or even blackmail in France, criminal offenses in French law. If you do write a letter, you should get a French lawyer to read it before you send it out.

We have already sent a registered letter to the neighbour from the 5th floor and asked him to move all his furniture from the roof terrace and the stairs and to make access to the roof terrace to everybody. We also asked him to give all residents in the building a key if he has not done it yet.

What your neighbour on the 5th floor is doing is completely wrong. Asking to remove the furniture and making the roof terrace and stairs accessible to everyone was the right thing to do. Your letter may make it seem that this is not an emergency exit but a normal exit.

As for the keys, you can ask him to give out the keys to the residents, but you can not order the neighbour from the 5th floor to make keys for all the residents. Making keys available is normally the job of the syndic (you must read your by laws to see what it says about keys). Your neighbour could in response ask you to make keys for everyone because you have the keys too.

You must be very careful when dealing with this neighbour on the 5th floor and the syndic. They will be looking for ways to corner you in revenge instead of addressing their faults. You do not want to give them that pleasure. Your claims appear to be well founded and legitimate, however you are dealing with people who seem not to respect the rights and liberties of others.

I hope this helps you. I am glad I was able to answer your question. Please don’t forget to provide a positive rating so I can get credit for the service I provided to you. If the answer was particularly helpful a BONUS is always appreciated too! Best regards XXXXX XXXXX!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello


Thank you for your excellent answer. It was good to get a confirmation that we are dealing with heavy people, because it is so very difficult.


 


We mentioned that the syndic is lying in the question Nr.17 when they write that the apartment of the neighbour on the 5th floor is attached to the roof terrace. It is not. The only entrance door is from our common stairs.


Will it be wise to not mention it now or during the meeting, but wait. If the more owners vote for the exclusivity of the use of the roof terrace for the neighbour from the 5th floor and he will get it, then we can make it invalid because the voting was made on the base of a lie ?


 


How to inform the other owners that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence his job so badly?


 


What is your advice, how can we solve these problems wisely?


 


We are afraid that these people are going to take over all building, so we will be very grateful for your advice.


 


Best regards


 

Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer/Pearl. I am glad I was able to answer your initial question. Can you kindly rate me so that I can get credit for my answers?

Please note that I earn my living by helping customers like you. I am not an employee or a salaried worker of JustAnswer. I am an independent lawyer in Paris answering questions on the JustAnswer website, as an expert on French law and only on my free time. I am here just to answer your question on French law

I only ask that once you've received your answers, you rate me positively based on the customer service I provide you. I have not received your positive rating. Please do not forget to rate positively my answer otherwise I will not get compensated for my work.

After I will have received you positive rating, I shall be more than willing to answer your new questions.

As for advising you, please understand that it is against the JustAnswer policy to advise customers on this website. This site allows for a general response that will help you with your legal issue. If necessary, for specific advice contact a local French attorney. While I am indeed a French lawyer in Paris, again on this website, I am just a French law expert answering questions on French law and on my free time. I did not advise you, I just answered your question in accordance to what you can do under French law.

In fact, in order for me (or any lawyer, solicitor, or barrister) to counsel someone and tell them what they should do, I would need to see him/her (in person or on the phone), see all his/her documents, see all his/her evidence, get all the facts, understand the whole situation, ask a lot of questions, and establish a formal attorney client relation. In fact, the Just Answer disclaimer clearly states the following: "Posts are for general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), and do not establish a professional-client relationship." No attorney client relationship has been formed.

After I will have received you positive rating, I shall be more than willing to answer your new questions.


Best regards

TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience: Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
TKenney, Ph.D. and other French Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello


Sorry, but we did not understand how the website Just Ask works.


 


Did you get our new questions, after we gave a rating?


 


The questions are:


 


 


We mentioned that the syndic is lying in the question Nr.17 when they write that the apartment of the neighbour on the 5th floor is attached to the roof terrace. It is not. The only entrance door is from our common stairs.


 


Will it be wise to not mention it now or during the meeting, but wait. If the more owners vote for the exclusivity of the use of the roof terrace for the neighbour from the 5th floor and he will get it, then we can make it invalid because the voting was made on the base of a lie ?


 


 


How to inform the other owners that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence his job so badly?


 


What can we give as a reason to remove the Question Nr.17 from the days order?


 


Best regards

Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, Thank you for the positive rating. Sorry I was unable to answer your questions yesterday. I had a very busy day. I can only answer questions on my free time.

 

1) Your question: Will it be wise to not mention it now or during the meeting, but wait. If the more owners vote for the exclusivity of the use of the roof terrace for the neighbour from the 5th floor and he will get it, then we can make it invalid because the voting was made on the base of a lie ?

My answer: If what you wrote is true and your facts are exact, his sounds like something that should be placed in the hands of the police for attempted scam “tentative d’escroquerie”. In French law, scam is done either by using a false name or false status or by abuse of true quality, or by the use of fraudulent means to mislead an individual or a company to to transfer funds, securities or any property, to provide a service or to consent to an act of obligation or discharge. This is like stealing (but it is not exactly thief under French law). The neighbour and the syndic can end up in jail or with suspended jail sentence if convicted. It appears that you should file a police complaint for “tentative d’escroquerie”. This is a very serious matter. The decision to file a criminal complaint before the French police is yours to make. Also, if you do decide to file a criminal complaint, do not let them know before you file. You can inform them of your criminal complaint after you will have filed it. Before you file, you should contact a lawyer to go over all your evidence and the wording of your criminal complaint to avoid making legal errors and being sued afterward for false criminal complaint.

I believe that it would be wise to mention it now and via a registered letter (get your lawyer to go over your registered letter). The reason I believe that it would be wise is because if you do decide to fill a criminal complaint for “tentative d’escroquerie” you will have proof that there was intent. In French criminal law, one has to prove intent. If you send them a letter informing them that the apartment on the 5th floor is not connected to the roof terrace, that you disagree with question N 17, that question 17 is based on a lie and that any vote on question n 17 will be illegal and invalid, then they will not be able to say to the police that they were unaware. This could make the crime premeditated. Again, if you do decide to send a letter, you must get your lawyer to write the letter for you because the neighbour and the Syndic will be looking at your letter searching for your errors, searching for ways to use the letter against you, and searching for law violates in your letter to use against you. Also, maybe your lawyer will disagree with what I believe because your lawyer will have more information than me and he/she will be able to advise you. I can not advise you, it is against the JustAnswer policy, and I do not advise you.

 

2) Your question: "What can we give as a reason to remove the Question Nr.17 from the days order?"


My answer: According to what you wrote, here are some reasons:

- that the apartment on the 5th floor is not connected to the roof terrace,

- that you disagree with question N 17,

- that question 17 is based on a lie and that any vote on question n 17 will be illegal and invalid.

I would even ask them to provide the proof that the apartment on the 5th floor is connected to the terrace.

However, your lawyer will advice you on the arguments you can use to remove question nr 17 from the day order. The information I am giving you is general and not advice.

3) Your question: "How to inform the other owners that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence his job so badly?"


My answer: It is not a question of informing the other owners that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence his job so badly. It is a question of getting proof from the other owners that that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence his job so badly. You wrote that that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence badly his job. Are you the only one saying this or have the other owners witnessed the same behaviour and are saying the say thing ? Informing the other owners is not proof. There is a wide range of things one can do to legally establish proof to be presented before a French court (for example, witnesses, witness testimony statements of facts they witnessed, video surveillance cameras, audio recordings, photos, documents, etc… list non exhaustive). The burden of proof that the syndic man has alcohol problems which influence badly his job is on you. Your lawyer will advice you on the best proof you will need and can use in your case. The information I am giving you is general and not advice.

 

I hope this helps you.

Please do not forget to rate positively my answer otherwise I will not get compensated for my work. The general information provided CANNOT replace the personalized advice one can expect of an attorney/client relationship.

TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience: Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
TKenney, Ph.D. and other French Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello

Thank you for the answer.

Our new questions will be:

Do you mean that we can file a criminal complaint for attempted scam only if the syndic/neighbour press on with the voting for N17 on the general assembly after we have sent them a registered letter and asked them to take N17 away, because it is based on a lie and illegal?

What will happen if the syndic take away the question N 17, after we sent him a registered letter and ask him to take it away because it is based on a lie ?

Does he have to cancel the general assemble, take away N17 completely and then send a new convocation with a new date, for a few weeks later?

We are going on vacation in August/September so we are afraid that they will have a general assemble without us if they have to make a new date because we asked them to take away N17.

Can syndic just correct/rewrite the N 17 and removed "attached roof terrace" and press on with the voting on this or the next general assemble a few weeks later?

If he can not just correct the N 17 but he has to take away N 17 completely, can he make an extraordinary meeting a few months later and then take the N 17 corrected/rewritten and make a new voting for it.

I guess our question is: If they attempted a vote in this case on N17 based on a lie which is an attempted scam and illegal, can they go on with the same case, but corrected in the future ?

If yes, does the situation change if we file a criminal complaint for attempted scam to the French police? Can the syndic try to take this case N17 again but corrected/rewritten in the future.

Best regards

Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Sorry I was unable to answer all your questions yesterday. You asked a lot of questions. There should normally be only one question.

I am here to help you and I ONLY get paid if you rate me positively AFTER I answer you. So believe me, I will work hard for you to rate me well and bonuses are appreciated Thank you!

1.) Your new question: “Do you mean that we can file a criminal complaint for attempted scam only if the syndic/neighbour press on with the voting for N17 on the general assembly after we have sent them a registered letter and asked them to take N17 away, because it is based on a lie and illegal?”

My answer: One can file a criminal complaint for attempted scam only when one has enough evidence of the criminal offense. When you should file should be when you have enough evidence of your claim. Do keep in mind that there is no rush or hurry because there is a 3 years statute of limitation to file your criminal complaint. In other words, you will have 3 years to file a criminal complaint after the day of the criminal offense for attempted scam. One must make sure that one has enough evidence when filing a criminal complaint and do keep inn mind that you must be able to prove intent. Only your lawyer who will know your case will be able to tell when would be the best time for you to file a criminal complaint.


2.) Your question: “What will happen if the syndic take away the question N 17, after we sent him a registered letter and ask him to take it away because it is based on a lie ?”

My answer: If the Syndic takes away the question, it will mean that for now they are respecting your rights. It would be nice for you if everything stopped if the syndic takes away the question nr 17. However, I do not know what is going on in the mind of the Syndic. They may have a plan B, C, D, etc…

3.) Your question: “Does he have to cancel the general assemble, take away N17 completely and then send a new convocation with a new date, for a few weeks later?”

My answer: The answer to this question should be in you by laws (règlement de copropriété). You will have to read your reglèment de copropriété to see what it provides as procedure in cases like your.

However, do keep in mind that in French law, the general Assembly can only make valid decisions on the questions that are on the order of the day (article 13 of French law Décret n°67-223 du 17 mars 1967 pris pour l'application de la loi n° 65-557 du 10 juillet 1965 fixant le statut de la copropriété des immeubles bâtis). Your asking that the question to be taken off must therefore be on the order of the day. If your question is not on the other of the day, it can be discussed, but no decision can be made; your late question will be on the order of the day of the next Asssemblée generale.

If the question is not taken off and there is a vote, you will have 2 months to contest the Assemblée Générale’s decision staring from the day of notice of the decision (article 42 of the French law Loi n° 65-557 du 10 juillet 1965 fixant le statut de la copropriété des immeubles bâtis).

Also, if you contest the Order of the day, you may have only 6 days to do so after the receiptt of the Ordre of the day. You will have to read your reglèment de copropriété to see what it provides for the amount of time to contest the Order of the day.

You wrote : We are going on vacation in August/September so we are afraid that they will have a general assemble without us if they have to make a new date because we asked them to take away N17.


4.) Your question: “Can syndic just correct/rewrite the N 17 and removed "attached roof terrace" and press on with the voting on this or the next general assemble a few weeks later?”

My answer: As I wrote above, in French law, the general Assembly can only make valid decisions on the questions that are on the order of the day (article 13 of French law Décret n°67-223 du 17 mars 1967 pris pour l'application de la loi n° 65-557 du 10 juillet 1965 fixant le statut de la copropriété des immeubles bâtis).

5.) Your question: “If he can not just correct the N 17 but he has to take away N 17 completely, can he make an extraordinary meeting a few months later and then take the N 17 corrected/rewritten and make a new voting for it.

My answer: Yes, he can. In French law, the general Assembly can only make valid decisions on the questions that are on the order of the day. Will he succeed? That is a different question. You will be able to contest the reworded question within 6 days.

6.) Your question: “I guess our question is: If they attempted a vote in this case on N17 based on a lie which is an attempted scam and illegal, can they go on with the same case, but corrected in the future ?

My answer: Anyone of the co-owners and the syndic can present a question to the Ordre of the day of the Assemblée Générale. You can even present a question yourself to be on the Ordre of the the day. It can not be refused unless it is late.

7.) Your question: “If yes, does the situation change if we file a criminal complaint for attempted scam to the French police?”

My answer: You must make sure the you have all the evidence (proof) that there was an attempted scam (and intent) before filing your criminal complaint. Your criminal complaint may not in itself change the situation. However, if the neighbour and the Syndic are indicted and convicted then that will change the situation. Some people will only change when there is a court order.

8.) Your question: Can the syndic try to take this case N17 again but corrected/rewritten in the future”.

My answer: Yes. If they succeed, then you ca file a criminal complaint for scam (not attempted scam) if you have the evidence, proof and intent.

I hope this helps you.

Please do not forget to rate positively my answer otherwise I will not get compensated for my work.

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