The CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) in Ireland delivered the first batch of cases to the French DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control) at the end of October and a second round of cases is due to begin delivery to them this month.
The CCPC have said:
“The DGCCRF has informed us that it is assessing the detailed information sent by the CCPC in preparation for the commencement of investigations in the New Year. DGCCRF has given assurances that it will devote the necessary staff to the assessment of this case.”
The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) in the UK have also submitted complaints.
The new French Ambassador to Ireland, M Stéphane Crouzat, was approached by Irish owners. In response to both the complaints and the request for information on the rules pertaining to the leasebacks, the embassy engaged with both the CCPC and the DGCCRF. M Crouzat has indicated that it will take more time:
“We are fully aware that this is a lengthy process but please be assured that all parties will continue to work to try and resolve this matter”.
However, in the meantime, owners are being called to court in France for re-possession proceedings and are receiving demands for payment here at home via the Courts Service for mortgages on French properties they were sold with false and misleading promises.
The French authorities devised the scheme. They must take responsibility for their role and step up to the challenge to rectify.
And that is not a matter of ‘tweaking’ the French laws going forward in order to protect the economic boon that leaseback has been for sectors of the economy, but to actually protect the citizens of France, and of Europe, that have already been trapped by this government-initiated tax ‘incentive’!
See this recent Forbes article by Jean-Jacques Manceau (sorry M Manceau – it’s a Google translate) –
“Only here, for many investors, the dream has gradually turned into a nightmare . According to a government report, the injured investors are estimated at about 10% of owners, nearly 20,000 people.
Specifically, buyers invested in tourist residences, managed by large groups, such as Pierre and Vacances, Lagrange or Belambra , which guaranteed them a lease for nine years, as part of a commercial lease.
Then, when the lease expired, the same operators renegotiated the lease payments they had signed between -15% and -50%. In case of refusal, these managing companies threatened to close the door. As a result, the homeowners were destitute, with monthly payments and charges still running, an unoccupied residence .
While the government is exploring ways of reform to improve the prior information of investors, including the risks involved, a working group bringing together the players in the sector was set up by the Directorate General of Enterprises (DGE) .”
Indeed, if the French governments idea of ‘reform’ is to increase the font size in a brochure (warning on the real implications of signing a commercial lease in France), then I think they need a lesson on ‘reform’..
Lipstick on a pig won’t cut it.
Of course they know it stinks, and to protect investment in the French economy it seems they have a new idea – ‘FILM’.
I’ll take a rain check on that lads..