My Mazamet

Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho

Mountains of Paperwork & Ducks

We’ve signed for the flats! It was exhausting. Instead of signing for the building as a whole, we had to sign for each individual apartment. And in France it’s not just deeds. We have to initial every page of the energy certificate, the termite study, the lead study and the asbestos study. My hand hurts- but otherwise I’m over the moon. I’ve spent too much time in the past focused on things of a rather selfish nature- and others that didn’t really matter at all. It’s nice to be personally involved in doing something constructive.

So anyway, the apartments are great, which really is not the case in the rental price range we’re aiming to offer. All of them have double entrance doors



and bright rooms with big windows and reasonable floors.



and well, everything is nice and clean and dignified. One of the renters planted four ceramic ducks in her garden- but that’s her prerogative and none of my business. 

ducksApart from repainting, later this year we’ll hopefully also have the time to install new kitchens and update the bathrooms. Nothing fancy, it’ll be Ikea/Leroy Merlin, but more attractive than what’s there now. Decent homes for people on a budget- that should be guaranteed by the law, but as it isn’t we’re going to see what we can do in our very small way. Mike has set our standard for buying as: the properties have to have the potential to be nice enough that we could have considered living there at some point in our lives. I know that sounds terribly subjective, but it’s not in our minds. One just knows when they walk into a home if it can be made into something pleasant or not.

In other news we were recently invited to dinner by the owners of La Villa de Mazamet which is a few streets down from us. SUPERB. I’ll write about that later, but here’s what their place looks like:


12 comments on “Mountains of Paperwork & Ducks

  1. john zande
    April 27, 2015

    I think that’s a nice way to look at things. After all, isn’t that simply a property version of the Golden Rule?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clare Flourish
    April 27, 2015

    Congratulations. Over here, in some places average houses cost 12 times average local salary. It cannot go on that way. Building over here is at its lowest peacetime rate since 1920.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arkenaten
    April 27, 2015

    That’s the ticket. Excellent mindset re the rentals.

    And the mansion in the picture?

    Holy crap on a cracker what a house!


  4. davidprosser
    April 27, 2015

    I hope your hosts were as gracious as you are and not just checking out any possible competition. Until I just looked at the villa I’d forgotten how close you are to Carcasonne the only place on my bucket list as I’m fascinated by the Cathars.
    Many congratulations on signing for the house. I hope you can relax your hand now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      April 27, 2015

      I’ll try to remember to write about that. Our house is on the grounds of the grander house that is now the Cathar museum of the region, which belonged to the grandfather of the owner of our house (was that slighlty convoluted?) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. acflory
    April 27, 2015

    I love your idea of mutual benefit, Pinky. Most landlords/developers are only interested in maximizing the profit from every square foot of space. Bravo. And I’d be interested in the Cathars too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      April 28, 2015

      We don’t trust the financial world at all anymore, so we’re definitely not handing the banks large sums of money. Last time we did that it didn’t end up too well- as I’m sure everyone remembers from all my moaning…
      This way we not only do something that we enjoy, but that can also have a positive impact. Since we started visiting low income homes, we’ve been really moved by seeing the conditions in which some people at that end of the market are ‘forced’ to live in. Especially considering we’re supposed to be in the first world. Some of these homes are really not fit for purpose. We saw one where there was a single window and the rest was a maze of darkness. The owner had made the apartment out of a garage and a basement and got around planning regulations by calling it a studio. In another a boy from Bangladesh had improvised a kitchen on the floor next to his bed, deep fat fryer and all because there was nowhere else to put it. A disaster waiting to happen.
      The primordial concern does seem to be to squeeze out the most money with total disregard for how other people have to live which is actually short sighted. They end up feeling they’re being exploited and that the property isn’t worth caring for and there starts a negative/destructive cycle where everyone will end up losing.
      At the flats we bought on the other hand, the tenants are actively invested in the place. They were all worried we’d kick them out or raise the rent- so they were surprised when what we wanted to know was what we could do for them to want to live there for as long as possible. We make it nice, they keep it nice, everybody’s happy 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • acflory
        April 28, 2015

        As someone who spent ten years in the one, rental property, I know at first hand how attached renters can become to their ‘homes’. The agent we rented from was excellent and that made us feel cared for. And as you say, because we felt valued we treated the property with value as well. -hugs to you both-


  6. makagutu
    April 28, 2015

    I like your idea of remaking the rentals.
    And that house you are going to, it is grand


  7. karenjane369
    April 28, 2015

    You are both very kind & considerate Landlords, & I’m sure your fortunate tenants will appreciate you & look after the properties. I can beat the ceramic ducks….I have a small plaster gnome in my garden. (it’s a family joke, & it’s well hidden, but observant visitors can spot him.) We do also have some ‘higher standard’ garden sculptures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. roughseasinthemed
    April 28, 2015

    I love those double doors. Got some as the internal doors for our salon.

    Friends in London had some gorgeous ones and were going to knock them out to create a through room. We looked horrified, and, they never did change them.

    Your tenants must have breathed a huge sigh of relief. It’s a totally different world/life to Soto eh? Which isn’t a bad thing.


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