House Hunting Behind Locked Doors
Red Door, Rue de Saintonge
(FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
April 6, 2006
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Ben Harris and Angela Clugston just signed this past Monday on the dotted line for their 100 square meter, 4-room apartment at the corner of rue Roi Doré and rue de Turenne in the 3rd arrondissement. With the ink on the Acte de Vente barely dry, House Hunters International (http://www.hgtv.com) will be bringing in a camera crew tomorrow morning to film them in their "new" 17th-century split-level Paris home BEFORE the renovation and move-in process takes place.
This morning I met Angela for a walk-through the apartment, now that the owners have vacated and the space is free for complete renovation. The sun was pouring in the 7 windows which face east onto rue de Turenne, with a perfect view of Eglise Saint Claude and the length of rue Saint Claude all the way to boulevard Beaumarchais.
The tour through the apartment reminded me of an experience I had last summer locking myself out of my own apartment, which is very similar in style to this one, of the same epoch. In today’s issue of French Property Insider, we explore a bit Ben and Angela’s fortune to find such an unusual apartment, be featured on national television and how the doors and locks will become a part of their future life.
On a current events note, Jean Taquet addresses questions about the new CPE employment contract, which is difficult, even for the French to fully understand and the "Taxe Professionnelle" from his April 1st column.
Following all that is an article from Assetz Property News Service explaining why Paris and France is still a good investment compared to other major cities ("quel surprise!) plus we have a Leaseback property on the Ile de France to consider, several great apartments in Le Marais to dream about and properties up for auction if you’re willing to take a risk, but get a great deal.
Editor, French Property Insider
P.S. For those of you in Paris this coming week, be sure to drop by Parler Paris Après Midi Tuesday afternoon to say hello. Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.
Volume IV, Issue 14, April 6, 2006
In this issues:
* "House Hunters" in Paris
* Key Facts About Paris Locks
* Jean Taquet Tackles Legal and Tax Issues
* Paris Property Proves Promising
* Upcoming Conferences: Living and Investing in France, New Orleans
* FPI Property Consultation, Search and Relocation Solutions
* Today’s Currency Update from Moneycorp
* Next Parler Paris Après-Midi: April 11, 2006
* Hot Property Picks: Le Marais Living
* Leasebacks: Chateau d’Orgemont, France, Paris / Ile de France, Cerny
* On the Auction Block: April 25, 2006
* Classified Advertising: Parler Paris Apartments
Opening Doors to House Hunters
By Adrian Leeds
The 100-square meter four-room apartment at the corner of rue Roi Doré and rue de Turenne is a story of doors and locks. What makes rue Roi Doré famous, is unfortunate — this apartment is just two doors down from where a house fire shook the city of Paris this past summer in which seven African immigrants, including four children, died. This part of the Marais is one of the most sought-after and expensive parts of the French capital.
This is one of the reasons House Hunters International, a syndicated television program produced by HGTV (http://www.hgtv.com) chose to feature the search, find and purchase of this special property.
Ben Harris and Angela Clugston, the new owners, are not deterred by the sad events of the past. The building, at the corner, with most of the windows facing rue de Turenne with a beautiful view of Eglise Saint Claude, was once two buildings. They are now joined by a few steps up and a door leading to the back area of the apartment where the bedrooms are situated. From the outside, you can see the jog fro
m one level to the
other and two different facades.
Both buildings are of the same period and are almost identical, so from the interior, there is no difference in "feel" from one side of the apartment to the other. The effect of the two different living planes creates an illusion of more space and interesting "texture." Nothing has been changed to the apartment in at least 20 years, since the last owners purchased it themselves. Renovation is inevitable.
The spaces are large, open and inviting, however, there are doors of all kinds from many different periods of time at every turn. The entry on rue Roi Doré is a small deep red door with an iron grill leading to a well-kept and preserved curving staircase. The entry to the apartment is the same deep red.
Between the living room and dining room are beveled glass French doors that open wide. A single French door separates the living room from the large foyer. The bath makes use of a space-saving pocket door, clearly added much later. A storage room at the very rear of the apartment is closed off by two glass and wood swinging "saloon" doors.
There are two entry doors, one main door off the stairwell from rue Roi Doré; the other at the very rear of the apartment — at one time the main entrance to the apartment from the building that faces rue de Turenne. This entrance is no longer used. On each of the two doors, there are a half-dozen locks. It is difficult to fathom why the previous owners, and perhaps not even THESE owners, chose to have such exaggerated security measures.
These doors will certainly be changed for new and sleek "portes blindées" with good French locks — one per door is all that will be necessary.
When the camera crew enters tomorrow morning, the details of this centuries-old habitation will be illustrated, including the working ceramic stove, interesting alcoves and lack of 90 degree angles. When the renovation starts, the multitudes of doors and locks will be seriously considered…how to preserve the best of the lot, even if moved from one location to another for more efficiency.
House Hunters International will then be back to tell the rest of the tale and show off how one can take a space with "good bones" and lots of "texture" to create a contemporary and very livable apartment with loads of charm.
The Key to the Doors of Paris
By Adrian Leeds
The word "serrurerie" is one of the hardest words in French to pronounce for an Anglophone. Try it. Then practice it a lot, because you might need it sooner than you think. It means LOCKSMITH SHOP. The locksmith is the "serrurier."
I was reminded of it today when I visited a Ben Harris’ and Angela Clugston’s new apartment this morning. The entry door and another door at the rear of the apartment to a back entrance, each had a half-dozen locks on it — a bit exaggerated security and not very elegant!
I locked myself out of my apartment for the first time in eleven years last July. I can tell you it is rare to have gone so long without having such an altercation, as I’ve heard tales of woe from too many friends who have managed to leave without their keys as I did that Saturday afternoon. That’s one reason I have been designated as the "keeper of the keys" — many friends have entrusted me with a spare to their own apartments for this very kind of emergency.
If you’ve ever stayed in a Paris apartment, then you know that the key to the apartment door could look like something out of a torture chamber. They come in the most unusual shapes, sizes and configurations, none of which make much sense to the average user. Most of them match a "porte blindée" — a security door with three bolts that secure the door top, middle and bottom. The manufacturers of these doors assure you no unwanted intruder can get through….oh so true! — even the locksmiths have built a big business on forgetful folks like me who leave home without their keys.
The insurance companies will often require you have a porte blindée or will discount your premium if you have one. Both the keys and the locks cost a small fortune. One key can cost up to 100 euros! The combination to making the key is often provided on a plastic card, like a credit card, with a code (like a UPC) that determines the configuration. If you lose your code, you’ve lost the ability to remake the key.
If you’ve locked yourself out (as I did) and don’t have a spare key at a friend’s (like I did, thank goodness), then an emergency call to a locksmith is going to cost you plenty, easily more than 500 euros, depending on the time of day and day of the week (nights, weekends and holidays you can bet are at a premium). If you break the key in the lock, or the lock (as friends of mine did while they were visiting), then replacing the lock will set you back as much as 1000 euros!
To find a "serrurier" in your neighborhood, visit http://wgf.pagesjaunes.fr/pj.cgi?lang=en (the online Yellow Pages in English) and type in "locksmith." There are 1722 in Paris alone that advertise emergency services. I suggest jotting the number down of one or two in your neighborhood in your pocket address book so when it happens to you, panic won’t set in. My favorite locksmith prints sticky labels with his emergency numbers for client use!
This is how one lock manufacturer promotes his wares (from French translated into English)…
"Song of the Clac-Clac Lock… The bolt is balanced at the
m of its trowel by a simple rotation of the key, thus a suitably regulated lock must function, with good reports and ratios. Even a child must use it without effort. It must be solid, sure, sedentary and inviolable; isn’t this its role there? But it must especially be flexible and pleasant for that it sings. Of course for such locks the key is proportioned and somewhat cumbersome as said by some. It is true that in the handbag it holds a particular place, yes, but a place of choice. A key must be a Work of Art, not a simple functional object. When you pose it on the dresser, it reigns as a mistress because it is at the same time the beauty, safety and protection. ‘What a symbol!’ Our keys and our locks, are the single works carried out to measure your criteria of use and your way of life, with a rigorous design, style and time of your residence, a criteria which are essential with a perfect result. Make them sing."
Such prose exemplifies their artistic point of view! Fichet brand locks are said to be the best — more resistant to the attacks of destruction thanks to a system of tempered steel pins and the reinforcement of the drive system, it ensures a long lasting defensive quality and a remarkable technical design allows more than 100 million different combinations that guarantees no two identical cylinders. (For more information on Fichet locks, visit http://www.fichet33.com/fr/serrures.html)
SPECIAL NOTE: An interesting note is that there is one key that unlocks the door to every building in Paris. The postman carries it — it’s that little lock on the digicode keypad you may have wondered about. It eliminates his need to know every door code, of course!
Jean Taquet’s Practical Answers
Understanding the CPE Law and "Taxe Professionnelle"
I have been reading about the riots and demonstrations, but there is little information on exactly what the new law is about. The only thing I understood that there is a new two-year probationary period. Must be nice to have such job security; this is not available to most people in the United States. Am I missing something?
In this case like many others, comparing the system in these two countries can be completely misleading to the extent of missing the point.
First of all, this new legislation was presented as the solution to two problems that have been identified regarding young people finding jobs.
1. The riots in the "banlieues" made everyone acknowledge that these young people did not have a fair chance of getting hired considering their address of residence, their name, and their ethnic background. So if there was a way for the employer to give them a chance without incurring too much risk, then these people would be able to show their expertise and probably retain the job after a while.
2. The system of internships within corporations has gotten out of hand and young people with a good education are working many hours, and in effect, totally illegally, since they are there to learn and see for themselves how real employees do their job and to learn from them. With the new law, the idea is that if the employer has the possibility to try out the employee without breaking the law, then it is possible that the employer might keep that employee.
The problem with this logic is that the employers believe (rightfully or not) that there is no shortage of employees and that they rule the market. So the French population of foreign origin in the "banlieues" will not see improvement from this legislation since the employers believe that they will get a better candidate according to their guidelines, which exclude hiring people from this segment of the French population. As for internships, since the employer can generally get away with not paying the intern at all and keeping him/her for about a year before drawing any attention, why would the employer start paying for a service he can get for free or almost free?
So the majority of the people who would be affected by this law are the young professionals who would have gotten a job anyway and, instead of having some legal protection against the employer’s potentially exorbitant demands, will have no protection for two years; this is long enough for the employer to get the best the employee has to offer without having to pay the proper price, at which point he can fire the person, and hire a new one.
This kind of solution would work very well in the USA, because the employer experiences setbacks when the employees are being pushed over the limits, and where the job market is such that good employees believe they can get a better position. In the USA it is not rare for an employee to quit before having a new job, virtually abandoning his employer overnight — this is not an empty threat. In France this is close to impossible and, moreover, is a totally foolish thing to do. Therefore a French employer will never fear such a reaction.
I would totally share your analysis if the employees and employers in France could face each other without having the law twisting the relationship. Then maybe French employers would think twice before overburdening an excellent employee.
For decades to come, this is simply unrealistic, and French employers and employees tied to each other will continue to use their respective arm-twisting tactics; I do not see any true simplification coming anytime soon. The employee’s current best warning signal is to go on sick leave which one of my clients discovered unintentionally.
Here is some practical advice for young professionals who could be faced with this kind of situation in France. First of all, the law still allows for the labor contract be more beneficial to the employee than what the law states; therefore, nothing prevents the candidate from asking that things be put in writing in the work contract. It could be a shorter trial period, a rather longer notice period during those first two years, some sort of punitive damages for ungrounded dismissals, better incentive bonuses. Well used, this new legislation opens the door to a broader space for negotiation. Reading some solid American labor c
ontracts signed by promising young profes
sionals could be a good source of inspiration.
I just received a form from the tax authorities called "Taxe Professionnelle 2006", which looks to me to be a sort of preliminary tax form. Am I supposed to guess about my income or what is this about? The regular bookkeeping is due in March, I believe.
The issue of the twin taxes "taxe d’habitation/taxe professionnelle" is a very complicated one, mostly because so much is used to calculate them that it makes it quite unclear as to how it works. As a complete oversimplification of the issue, I would begin by stating that the first one is for the personal lodging paid by the private individual in relation to the market value of the apartment and the income of the household. The second one deals with the market value of the commercial space and the profit made by the business. This means that all the private spaces in a city like Paris are either empty or generate one of these two taxes. So what you have is a form that includes all the needed information to calculate this professional tax. Should it be about living in a residential space, you would receive a similar form called "Taxe d’habitation 2006."
Now, there are two very sensitive issues. One deals strictly with the "taxe d’habitation." The amount charged for a secondary residence is much higher than for the primary residence since in the latter case there is a 20% discount to start with and then an adjustment for the level of income of the household which is known from the income declaration for income tax purposes. Therefore, the advice often heard is that the client would have too much to lose by complying with French fiscal law and filing such a declaration every year even though no French taxes are owed, as for some this could be very misleading. Under some circumstances, the yearly saving on the taxe d’habitation alone would pay for the cost of having an expert prepare the return for both countries. Another situation often overlooked for a lodging purchased five years ago for 300,000 euros which today is worth one million euros, with a capital gains tax at 33.33%, the tax burden would then be about 233,000 euros, which would pay for a lifetime’s worth of the annual cost of filing in France and paying the expert to help you with the filings. This issue is, of course, even more complex when the question of wealth tax is addressed. There is no obvious good solution and this matter should be carefully reviewed.
The other sensitive issue deals with the division between the taxe d’habitation and the taxe professionnelle inside the lodging when a self-employed person works out of his/her home. Since the taxe professionnelle is somewhat more expensive than the other tax, it could be tempting to state that the business occupies no more than one corner of the desk and in this way the taxe professionnelle could be as low as 50 euros or so per year. The other consequence of this choice is that the amount of rent, the utility bills of the house, and several other minor expenses will also be a professional expense according to the ratio defined above. A successful professional working out of the home will save a lot more money by using the full extent of the true ratio of the size of the space the business occupies in the home. Being able to deduct half or even a third of the monthly rent twelve times during the year from the amount of annual sale could alone create a much bigger saving with regard to the income tax than the amount of taxe professionnelle charged yearly.
So the form you mentioned in your question probably deals exactly with this, the space occupied by the business in your home as well as the amount of sales and the profit made the previous year. Be extremely careful filling it out, as going to one extreme or the other could be tremendously detrimental to you. Over claiming professional expense is in effect pure tax cheating and is addressed exactly like that. Do not overlook the consequences of filing such a form.
Editor’s Notes: Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializing in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and regularly speaks at the Living in France Conferences in the U.S. and Paris. He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Voice magazines, which can be purchased in one document as "The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France," available at http://www.insiderparisguides.com/answers/index.html (Don’t forget, you get a discount as a subscriber!)
To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, email Jean Taquet at email@example.com
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To read this month’s column in it’s entirety, click here:
Greater Paris Showing Great Promise
From Assetz Property News Service
Investment in Greater Paris is blossoming, according to latest figures from France.
Property investment in France as a whole has been strong in recent times and the results from the country’s capital back up this trend, suggesting it is set to continue into the foreseeable future.
Like London in the UK, France’s capital appears to have been driving the country’s economy over the past 12 months. The research released by Thierry Jacquillat, chairman of Paris-Ile de France Capitale Economique, revealed that investment in greater Paris increased by 44 per cent over the course of 2005.
That translates to a record Euros 17.5 billion of investment in the country during the course of 2005, highlighting the fact that Paris and France remains a popular destination for investment.
face="Verdana">Speaking at the Advantage Greater Paris: New Opportunities in Finance & Real Estate seminar in the capital, Mr Jacquillat explained: "We are bolstering the attractiveness of Greater Paris by lobbying political and economic decision-makers from around the globe."
The moves to engender more growth in the French market have clearly been paying off over the past year and current levels of investment look set to continue as Paris aims to redevelop itself to remain a modern city. Therefore, those investors considering where to put their money would do well to look to the various regeneration initiatives which are currently underway in Paris as a potential source for good returns on their investments.
Paris is also ahead of London in terms of the amount of office real estate which it has available. With 48 million square metres of available office real estate, the city is behind only Tokyo in this availability, far outstripping the majority of its European counterparts, even in emerging real estate investment countries such as Bulgaria.
Paris compares particularly well to the likes of Moscow, which has recently been revealed as having the lowest rate for high-end office space in Europe.
France’s potential as a destination for property developers was recently highlighted by developer Trisha Mason, who pointed to the fact that while emerging markets can often be attractive, they often have "no clear exit strategy". As such, properties in areas such as France, where there is usually far more security, can often prove at least as valuable an asset as a property in an emerging market like Bulgaria.
That certainly appears to be the case as the interest and demand for property in Greater Paris continues to drive the French property market overall.
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Parler Paris Après-Midi
NEXT MEETING: April 11, 2006 AND EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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HOT PROPERTY PICKS: Le Marais Living
Each week French Property Insider features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various regions of France and districts of Paris.
As we are not a real estate agency. These properties do not constitute a sales listing. For those readers seriously interested in finding property in Paris or France. you can retain our services to do the whole thing for you. For more information, visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 3 rooms, approx. 61m²
Coup de coeur! On the sixth floor of a typical Marais building with elevator. Full of charm and very bright, this apartment has 2 bedrooms, bathroom and toilet. Exposed beams.
Asking Price: 499,000 Euros + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 3 rooms, approx. 80m²
Near Carreau du Temple. First floor of a cut stone building, this bright apartment has a living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and cellar. 3m high ceilings, hardwood floors, moldings, fireplace.
Asking Price: 650,000 Euros + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 3/4 rooms, approx. 95m²
This apartment is located on the 4th floor with a lift. With 3 rooms including 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, cellar, plus hardwood floors and a fireplace.
Asking Price: 677,000 Euros + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 3/4 rooms, approx. 87m²
On the top floor of a lovely Haussmannian building with elevator. Beautifully renovated, it has a living room with fireplace, hardwood floors, beams. Very bright with a double exposure. Large kitchen, 2 bedrooms, bathroom with separate toilet, terrace with a view of the rooftops of Paris and monuments.
Asking Price: 935,000 Euros + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
LEASEBACK NEWS FROM IMOINVEST
France, Paris / Ile de France, Cerny
Studio 13m² to 38m² Euros 58,000 to Euros 165,000
One Bedroom 26m² to 44m² Euros 112,000 to Euros 190,000
GUARANTEED RENTAL INCOME UP TO: 5.00%
LOW PRICES, HIGH INCOME AND 4 STARS
In the heart of a Natural Heritage Park, surrounded by acres of land, rivers and trees, yet only 45 minutes from Paris. Seine-et-Oise, the Essonne is one of the eight departments which make up the Ile-de-France region. It is situated less than 25 kilometer
s south of Paris, between the dep
artments of Yvelines and Seine-et-Marne. The Essonne benefits from an excellent communications network, with the international airport at Orly, the A6, A10 and Francilienne motorways, the N6, N7 and N20 roads and railway networks such as the RER and the TGV.
Top of the line renovation consisting of a manor house, 18th century chapel and two small houses. This is a development which is of a very high standard. The residence will consist of an indoor heated swimming pool, a sauna, massage rooms, tennis, and restaurant. Excellent high class tourism area, especially as Fontainebleau is close by.
Home to 10% of France’s public and private research in high-tech fields and also of the country’s new materials in biotechnology, the nuclear sciences and aeronautics. This concentration of activity constitutes a key hub of economic development in the Essonne. In contrast, the economy of the southern two thirds of the department is more closely linked to activities bound up with the rural sector.
Next sessions: April 25, 2006, 1:30 p.m.
Notaires de Paris
Place du Châtelet
12 avenue Victoria
Additional information on Les Ventes aux Enchères des Notaires can be found on the website at http://www.encheres-Paris.com/ Though the site has a button for an English version, it isn’t reliable to work.
To read Schuyler Hoffman’s article about the property auctions in Paris, click on:
|2 rooms 58,80 m²
33 rue Saint Ambroise
75011 PARIS 11th
Opening Bid: 225,000 Euros
Deposit: 45,000 Euros
|3 rooms 80,41 m²
115 rue de Vaugirard
75015 PARIS 15th
Opening Bid: 335,000 Euros
Deposit: 67,000 Euros
|2 rooms 37,75 m² rented
10 rue Bisson
75020 PARIS 20th
Opening Bid: 33,975 Euros
Deposit: 14,300 Euros
|3 rooms 37,90 m² rented
10 rue Bisson
75020 PARIS 20th
Opening Bid: 32,215 Euros
Deposit: 12,350 Euros
|2 rooms 36,40 m² rented
10 rue Bisson
75020 PARIS 20th
Opening Bid: 61,880 Euros
Deposit: 13,650 Euros
|2 rooms 30,55 m² rented
10 rue Bisson
75020 PARIS 20th
Opening Bid: 45,825 Euros
Deposit: 10,400 Euros
|2 rooms 28 m² rented
208 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis
75010 PARIS 10th
Opening Bid: 35,000 Euros
Deposit: 7,000 Euros
|2 rooms, 28,9 m²
6 rue de Jarente
75004 PARIS 4th
Opening Bid: 135,000 Euros
Deposit: 27,000 Euros
|Studio, 33,1 m² + parking
9 rue Desbordes Valmore
75016 PARIS 16th
Opening Bid: 192,000 Euros
Deposit: 38,400 Euros
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