“Juggling New York, Paris and Palatial Properties”
Tonight my daughter goes before the co-op board of number 9 Barrow Street in the West Village of New York City to determine our fate as owners of the studio apartment (with the perfect view of the Empire State Building) or not. I couldn’t fly to New York to be present with her for the interview, so they are allowing me to be interviewed via a Web cam from my living room. Thank goodness for technology — it saves us quite a lot of time and expense.
At 6 p.m. New York time, it will be midnight in Paris and it comes just after having been with a client at his “Syndic” meeting (homeowner’s association). Funny coincidence, no? It starts about the same time — 6:30 p.m. on rue de Rivoli in the managing agent’s office, and aside from the usual subjects, the owners will vote to repair the stairwell, badly needed. These meetings last at least two hours, and can be dreadfully painful (although I find them a fascinating window on the French culture), so I expect to be less than enthusiastic on the Web cam when the clock strikes twelve.
Co-op boards have the right to ask about anything, even quite personal, so we were told to be prepared. In fact, our real estate agents sent over a list of “Ten Pointers to Help You Pass Co-Op Board Interview” for us to study. The first one elicited a chuckle: “Being invited to the interview is a good sign.”
In contrast, a French “copropriété” (homeowner’s association), which is run more like a condo in New York than a co-op, has very little rights over what you do within the walls of your own apartment, including preventing subletting. Our Notaire recently responded to this question from a client: “I assume there is nothing in the building’s rules prohibiting rentals of the apartment?”
The Notaire’s answer: “NEVER. A regulation can not forbid rentals. This would be a violation of property rights! But what may exist is a clause mentioning that renters
must not be noisy, and must not disturb the peace of the building as this would be a legal reason to stop the rental between owner of the apartment and the tenants.”
So, tonight will decide our fate as property owners in New York City. We’ve decided that rather than trying to control the outcome, we will just be “ourselves” and let the “universe carry us along” to the fate for which we are destined.
Meanwhile, if you have followed the story of our “viager” (life annuity) property, then be advised that Part V of the saga is about to unfold!*
When I left off, out of frustration that we hadn’t received a response from the elderly gentleman who holds the rights of usage (Monsieur N.), we had decided to send in a “huissier,” or bailiff, to remove any interference in reaching him so that we could offer him the relinquishment of his rights of usage in exchange for a payment. For those of you who have accused me of evicting a senior citizen from his home, reread the story to discover that he hasn’t lived in the apartment for years!…and resides on the other side of France with his nephew, so the apartment remains vacant except for an occasional visit by a relative. This seems such a waste when it could be enjoyed by many!
Last week, before we had time to schedule the bailiff, a letter arrived from the nephew apologizing for not having written sooner and declaring that he would now be willing to vacate the apartment as of January 2009…but, for a rather healthy sum of money.
I can see the nephew’s mental wheels turning…”Hmm…she wants the apartment, so let her pay!” And pay I might, as the apartment is quite worth it, but our Notaire had a more practical solution. He said, “The sum is a bargain if he is in good health, and expensive if he’s not. I believe you should request to see this man in person. Offer to go to him, meet with him and negotiate the fee.” And so I shall, if he will let me.
Either way, I’m planning on acquiring the rights of usage by January 2009 and that means by Spring, after complete renovation, we’ll have another luxury rental apartment to add to our list on Parler Paris Apartments…this time with a big terrace overlooking the rooftops of Le Marais, appropriately named “Le Saint-Tropez.”
Whew! Properties are in the air above our heads like a juggler’s balls…”West Village Empire,” “Le Saint-Tropez,” “Le Palace des Vosges”** and my dream to have a “pied-à-terre” in Nice where life is nice! Will they all land safely in our hands? Or tumble to the ground leaving us empty handed?
*To read Parts I – IV, see the following links:
Part I: /parlerparis/issues/pparis10-9-07.html
Part II: /parlerparis/issues/pparis17-9-07.html
Part III: /parlerparis/issues/pparis19-9-07.html
Part IV: /parlerparis/issues/pparis2-7-08.html
**”Le Palace des Vosges” is our newest Fractional Ownership property located on the Place des Vosges. To learn more, visit /frenchproperty/fractional/pdv/index.html
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. A special thanks to Judith Merians who led a successful workshop Saturuday on “How to Produce a Film” and will likely do more scriptwriting and film workshops in the future for Parler Paris.
P.P.S. Friday night “Max Your Thai Chef” prepared an incredibly delicious four-course meal right in my own kitchen and served it up for all to enjoy! Max is from the Chang Mai region of Northern Thailand and has put his cooking skills learned from childhood to work in restaurants around the world. Now you can have it chez vous for only 25€ per person! To learn more by downloading a color brochure, visit http://www.soiedelune.com/max/menu.pdf or contact Max by email at [email protected] or calling +33 (0) 220.127.116.11.07.