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Woman forced to pay twice for home

A Dordogne resident is in a legal battle after being forced to take on the debts of the seller of her home

A WOMAN in the Dordogne is facing having to pay for her house twice after discovering that the seller had no right to sell it to her.

Carole Thomas bought her house in Saint-Saud-Lacoussière in 2006, for €150,000, with help from her family, only to find later that the seller – a carpenter – had been in bankruptcy proceedings and the proceeds of any sale should have gone to pay off creditors.

The liquidators have therefore been demanding the money back from Mrs Thomas since 2011; she in turn has tried to blame the notaire, who she says should have discovered the situation if he had done his checks properly.

She claims he should have checked the seller’s background better and also claims that if the house was part of bankruptcy proceedings there should have been a legal right for the liquidators noted against it at the land registry (it is unclear as to whether or not this was the case).

She has been turned down at first instance and on appeal and is now going to the top appeal court, the Cour de Cassation.

So far the courts said it was not the fault of the notaire (who has since died) because the seller did not tell him about his business or the bankruptcy, so he could not discover the problem. They added she could take action for the seller to reimburse her once he has paid off all his debts.

Mrs Thomas told Sud Ouest: “I’ve got no illusions about that – he’s left the department and is bound to be insolvent; I’ll have to give up on my house, my money.”

What’s more the mother of two, who claims RSA income support, is worried about how she will pay – house prices have been dropping and her only possessions are the house and horses which she uses to run a riding business.

She told TF1: “[Buying the house] is the worst thing I’ve done in my life. It’s just a heap of worries and it’s going to last the rest of my life.”

Her case has been taken up by a former notaire, Alain Dubreuil of the Association de Défense Contre les Abus de Notaires, who told TF1: “The notaire is required to check all the declarations that the parties make; so if he just trusts what they say, it means he’s not checking anything.”

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