The true horror of buying apartments in modern Paris-Part 11


Then one day a man came up to me while I was retrieving my posts from the mailbox.  He was one of the landlords who usually resided in the US, but he was visiting Paris.  He read the email from Mme HARMONY and offered me his support.  I believe he would not mind if I referred to him by his real name JAMES because I will portray him as a sympathetic person which this American indeed was to the end.  It was liberating speaking English for the first time in a long time, and his supportive words pulled me up from the abyss.  I am still grateful that JAMES took the time to visit me during his precious stay in Paris.  It was to be his last stay, sadly.

James and I shared the same problem: being ignored by the Syndic.  JAMES was a landlord but a foreigner.   Thus the CEO of Syndic opted to ignore JAMES’s proxy which was meant to be given to another landlord to represent JAMES's interest at the general meetings.  JAMES was furious with CEO’s lie that JAMES had never sent the email with the proxy.  He became so disillusioned that he would later sell his studio in Paris while he would keep his other apartments in Europe.  He spoke of his friend from the UK who also was ill-served by the syndic at another building, while I remembered this Japanese family who owned an apartment in Paris but never received replies from their syndic.

Owning your own place in Paris is a much-romanticized idea.  The beautiful photos allure you, but one thing all the real estate agents cannot guarantee you is the proper service by the syndic after you have purchased and moved in.  The chances are foreigners will only be billed the hefty maintenance fees that pay for the salary of the syndic, but do not receive a good service unless you owned a large part of the entire building which gives you the power to fire a discriminative Syndic.  The same goes for the French owner of small apartments, if that is any consolation to the reader of this blog.  A house in the suburbs may not pose such a problem and will be more affordable, but such a property may not be easy to sell—a headache for foreign investors.  However, if you have children you can pass the house over to, this option may be worth it.  Thus many ordinary French folks opt for houses in the suburbs to rid themselves of syndic-related headaches. 

Soforeigners or French, Paris does not smile kindly upon you unless you are loaded.

Mirror that reflects your soulMme. HARMONY was on the phone.  Mais, Non!  She repeated in utter exasperation.  Mr. PRIDE had called her to demand relocation of his extractor from the next buildings wall to our wall, just in case, the next-door neighbour filed a lawsuit against him, after all.  To do so, his tradesmen would need to access via Mme. HARMONYs windows and mine.  So here he was, Mr. PRIDE, demanding Mme. HARMONY to make sure that I comply with his request too.   Mme. HARMONY defended me, You and Mme. HEART keep installing electric appliances that make loud noise all night long, which keeps her (meaning me) up every night.  I have told you this many times!   

Mr. PRIDE interrupted Mme. HARMONY with a scoff.  She chose to live above a restaurant.  Where does she get off complaining?’’ 

Mme. HARMONY corrected him, I too live above a restaurant in the other building, but this restaurant owner is a decent man causing no problems.  Why cant you do the right thing and pay for the insulation?  You are a wealthy man with many businesses, Mr. PRIDE!   

But alas, he kept demanding that this Asian woman should stop feeling sorry for herself and give access to my tradesmen.  He was relentless with the woman senior to him by 20 years or more.  Mme. HARMONY pleaded with him to let her keep her doctors appointment for her cancer, but he kept demanding for nearly two hours until she finally dropped the telephone receiver from exhaustion.   

His indifference to the health of Mme. HARMONY was disgusting, but it was morbid that he could demand me to help with his extractor that was tormenting me.  Evidently, Mr. PRIDE considered himself and his people worthy of reigning over others, which may be right considering the success he had in the financial business, but I wished he cared to be liked by others.  Insignificant Asian I may be, I could have still recommended his restaurant to the Japanese society in Paris.  Did he not know that his restaurant was not too popular? 

During lunchtime, tourists would walk into this trap, but the restaurant went quiet during dinner hours.  Mme. HEARTs reputation had preceded her that no respectable locals would dine there.  Winter was coming, and terror attacks in Paris had stopped the flow of tourists.  Mme. HEART had designed the restaurant so that there would be many dining seats, leaving very little space for the kitchen.  The cramped kitchen inconvenienced the chefs, and many of them quit.  Those sparsely occupied seats in a large dining area enhanced the emptiness of the restaurant in stark contrast with the other restaurants nearby that were filled with locals.   

 A good restaurant would pick up after a few weeks in Paris, said Mme. HARMONY.  But the restaurant from Hell was not an instant success.   

However, one food critic wrote a glowing review of the restaurant.  This was the same writer who had praised Mme. HEARTs previous restaurant that closed in red figures.  I do not intend to discredit the review and the writer who was probably served a special dinner made with better ingredients than the meals Mme. HEART would usually serve ordinary clients.  However, this is one good example that Michelin Guide is still the one to be trusted, despite all the criticism.  The Michelin agents dine incognito leaving no room for special treatments by the restaurant.  When I first arrived in Paris I was dazzled by numerous stickers on the restaurant wall or door, but now I know some stickers are not to be trusted.  If I know this, then Parisians certainly do. 

Mme. HEART was going to break more rules and morals.  What Mr. PRIDE did to Mme. HARMONY was unforgivable.  What he did to me was the lesser of the problems.  Japanese are more concerned about the injustice done to our friends, and Mr PRIDE did just that to Mme HARMONY whom I considered being my only friend at the time.  That was the last straw.  I rang a lawyer.