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Hi all,

I'm really hoping someone can help me on here since I suddenly find myself with E650 essentially stolen by my former agent/landlord and feeling like I have very little hope of getting it back.

Last year, I rented a furnished flat for a year, with a guarantee deposit equal to 2 month rent (E1700). The flat was advertised as E850 per month, plus E60 charges which covered the charges and the cold water. I had to pay my own EDF (which included the water heater). I was told that the water would only be charged extra if it was used excessively, which it wasn't.

When we moved out, we met to complete the "etat des lieux" with the agent, who said that we had kept the property in good condition, but that she needed to wait back from the sydicat of the residence regarding the water before returning the deposit. I asked whether she thought it would be all returned, so we looked at the water meter readings and she said it seemed like normal usage to her.

However, yesterday we received an invoice in the post stating that they would be retaining E650. She has included bills addressed to the landlord showing the charges and water bill and we are being asked to pay it all, minus what we have already paid in charges (our E60 per month). The charges, without even including the water, come to more than we paid, so altogether this is what it has added up to.

The big problem I have here is that, looking back at the contract, she has not written what we agreed orally. When I was arranging this, my French was not as good as it is now, and she has taken advantage of this. I remember actually asking about the charges and water and she did say yes, it was included, but the contract states that I must reimburse all charges, no matter what they are, to the landlord. Basically, they lied about how much the charges were, and it should have been a good deal more than E60 per month, putting the flat out of my budget.

It is even more complicated, because when I first arrived, I signed a 4 month seasonal rental because I didn't originally pass the requirements for their insurance company. We then signed a new agreement for the remaining 8 months, which I did think seemed odd as it should have been for one year, but I now see it is a "Residence Secondaire" contract, which isn't appropriate at all. Incidentally, the water she is charging us for is for the whole year, not just the 8 months, although she has only counted 8 months worth of our payments towards it.

Is there anything I can do? I do have a French speaking friend who was there at many of our meetings who can witness that I was told the water and charges were all covered by the E60 per month, but nothing I can find in writing, and I have signed this contract.

I am afraid that if I get an avocat, I might simply spend even more money and get nowhere since I did sign this contract. I am also afraid since I have used the flat as my primary residence, although it states in my contract that it is a secondary residence.

Is there an ombudsman or governing body that I can contact to report the agency?

Thank you in advance! Amanda
 

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Contact ADIL for the area and pose your problem to them. It's a free (initial) advice body.

h
 
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