After a weekend of stress in Antibes trying to work everything out, here’s how it went down:
In order to have proof of my giving the landlord notice I wrote (with my BFs help) a well worded email that explained I wanted to leave and would not expect any January rent back (of course) but would expect my deposit back upon leaving since I only lived there 1 week and paid for a month (two with my deposit). I ended by saying thanks for her hospitality and that I would be back Monday night (and would move out by Friday).
She replied impulsively with some insults and said she owed me nothing since under French law I owed her a month notice and that once you “started a month” you owed the whole thing.
I replied “since we have no contract you are not technically covered by the law and I do not agree. I am able to leave as I please, and as you told me you had many that were interested I didn’t see my leaving as a problem. etc etc …I still expect my deposit back”
She replied, “We’ll discuss this when you return. I still owe you nothing.”
Well I went into French rental law yesterday and found that yes (with a signed contract), I do owe a month notice beginning on the day I give notice (Jan – Feb 12) but that I only owe rent while I am there … meaning that Feb 13 – Feb 28th she owes me my deposit back. Better than nothing? Right? I agree…so I was prepared to give this argument last night, if necessary.
I returned to the apartment last night and she was prepared to talk. She gave me all of the “I’m disappointed…blah blah…you are wrong….you can’t do this…” And many other things that would have made me feel awful about myself if I thought she were right…And finally she says, “I’ll give you back your deposit, but I still think this is a terrible thing you’re doing to me”… And then we discuss when I leave. I say I can sooner than Friday if she’d prefer. She says yes, leave tomorrow. My new apartment isn’t ready until Thursday night but I say sure, I’ll be out tomorrow. I’m sure there are plenty of friendly couches in Marseille for two nights. 🙂
I stayed up to pack my things (thank goodness I didn’t fully move in!) and left early this morning so as not to see her. I returned today after lunch with my friend and his car to take my things, and I had hoped, get back my deposit and give her the keys. When I arrived my things were in the hallway of the apartment building. She refused to let my friend enter the apartment building. I retrieved my things from the fridge. She asked for the keys, I asked for my check and she refused. We argued (in french, BIM!) and I was shaking by the time I left. Resolved? Not at all. She said herself, you can keep the keys if you want. I’ll change the locks. I said ok, good luck with that (it would have cost 1,000 euros for a lock like that). I took my things (and the keys) and left. I had legally paid for all of February if she didn’t return my deposit so I could keep the keys and come and go as I please until that time.
Fast forward 1.5 hours. She had called 25 times (I didn’t answer) and left 9 messages freaking out. Said she’d changed her mind, she wanted the keys back and would do so by giving me my deposit. I said okay, but since she lied to me before, I expected it in cash or “money order” (en français cheque de banque) to be sure she didn’t cancel the check. She says, okay, tomorrow. Then calls back later and says no, now. So I meet her (and the posse she brings along (two cars, 2 people)) and she gives me the cash. I give her the keys (all mafia-like 😦 ) and I leave. For the next two nights I sleep in Antibes, safe and sound with my BF. Thursday I return to Marseille and hopefully sign for a happy, quiet, lovely, all my own, new apartment. Cross your fingers for me. I do NOT want another fiasco.
But hey. It’s done. DONE DONE DONE! C’est fini et je suis très contente!
A few things I have learned:
- Don’t trust anyone … because they don’t trust you: I am a nice person, a happy and pleasant person that cannot handle confrontation of any sort. The idea of argument or someone being upset with me makes me anxious and this whole apartment situation is one of the worst cases I’ve ever had. My “niceness” has been viewed as naiveté and because of this I have been somewhat taken advantage of. Of course this is not the way the opposition sees it but that’s my feel. As such, I have become very untrusting. While looking for this new apartment, I am nervous that I will be “taken” again. That I will get into another bad situation that I cannot get out of or that in the end I will be told that I did a million things wrong per day without being told until 1 year+ later. I hope not. But sadly, I expect it.
- Get EVERYTHING in writing: You’d think after 27 years of life, 21 years of school, 6+ apartment rentals, living in 2 different states … and living in two different countries now that I would have already known this. I guess I was too trusting (See above!) and so I didn’t. Now I will.
- Stand up for yourself: as I don’t like confrontation, this is hard. But everyone is out for themselves — remember that and do the same.
- Everything will be ok: though you can’t help worrying and stressing and crying and complaining, eventually you’ll work it out. Unfortunately, this will be “For better, or for worse”. Yes, those bad times and unlucky endings will occur too. You can’t always win but dig deep and you’ll get through this.
- Take all the help you can get: when friends, colleagues, family and family of friends and loved ones come to your rescue, be rescued. Especially if you’re in a foreign country 🙂
- No one has the right to make you feel like utter shit: if you are a decent human being (as I believe I am), trust that the person trying to make you feel like shit is wrong. You are not stupid. You are not a criminal. You are awesome. Whether it is someone unnecessarily criticizing your language skills, physique, lifestyle or anything else. Don’t let it happen. Distance yourself from negative individuals and be happy.
I will return super soon to tell you the conclusion and update you on my new digs (aka my more expensive yet awesomely located and completely and only inhabited by me – apartment).
Thanks for reading 😀 et bon courage à tous!