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When candles in the wind spell trouble


Yummy Belgian chocolates to win


BlueThinking Skies


Hi there!


ur topic for this month and next is Insurance. Yes, it’s boring but yes, it’s absolutely necessary. The importance of being properly insured came home to me very powerfully a few weeks ago after an incident at a property where there was a housefire. The ensuing “What-might-have’s” don’t bear thinking about as the house next door was affected and small children were in peril. Read our article on Page 2 for the full story. The upshot is that you must inform your insurer that your property is let. If you do not inform them then there is the possibility that your policy is void and you are not covered.


ou know the joke: Name 10 Famous Belgians. So far, I’ve got Hercule Poirot, King Leopold (all of them, but they only count as one!), TinTin (or his creator, Hergé) and Eddy Merckx. And here’s the joker: Audrey Hepburn! Yup, she was born Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston in Brussels. Not a lot of people know that! Know any other famous Belgians? Drop us a line and win yourself a box of Belgian choccies.


ow that the season is over, the SFHV team can sit back and take a deep breath. Me, I’m off up to Belgium for a break in the land of beer and choco- Juliana Forte lates. Oh, and chips with mayo, of course.

This month’s Resto Review

window. We love it when kitchens are presented proudly is of a little-known treasure in like this. The Thézan-lès-Béziers. As you food is tradiapproach Thézan from the tional and south, you will see the Domaine Mathieu Les Condamines on your left. takes his Turn in here, up a long drive cooking very and find easy parking at the seriously. end. Le Restaurant Deux M is He also at the far end of the courtyard. speaks pretThe M and M in question are ty good EnMimi and Mathieu. She does glish and will be happy to disfront-of-house and he lurks in cuss his menus at the end of the the kitchen but can be watched evening. We celebrated a 14with his team through a big year old’s birthday and

I look forward to hearing from you and to writing next month’s newsletter when we’ll be talking about Insurance with regard to rental contracts.

Mathieu a scrummy chocolate cake which was much appreciated by the teenagers with us. Friendly service and a 2-course meal including wine costs about 35€. Open lunchtimes Thursday to Monday, and Thursday to Saturday evenings. Lovely outside terrace overlooking the parc du domaine. Les Deux M, Thézan-lèsBéziers. 09 83 66 77 30

To Insure or Not to Insure? – Actually, There is No Question! When you buy a property in France you have to insure it or the Acte de Vente will never get signed. Most people insure the contents as well. This is common sense. But have you informed your insurer that your property is let? Failure to do so can have very serious ramifications as we at SFHV realised just a few weeks ago. One of the properties that we manage was rented out to a family who decided to light candles on the outside dining table and then retired to bed without ensuring that the candles had been put out. The candles set some plastic tableware smouldering, letting off fumes. The items continued smouldering all night and were still going the next morning. Unfortunately, the terrace was right next door to another house where there were young children sleeping with the window open. There was a strong possibility that the children inhaled the fumes during the night. The next day the horrified parents took their children to hospital for a check up but fortunately, the Case Study—Villa in Agel kids were given a clean bill of health. It’s not often SFHV gets to talk to Now, imagine….. What would have happened if those children had been affected by the fumes? Who would have been responsible? The renters who lit the candles? No, it would The ugly aftermath have been the owner of the property, even though he was 1000 miles away at the

The golden rule is very simple : Insure your property and ensure that your insurance company is made aware, in writing, that you are renting it out. time. What would have happened if the children’s parents had put a claim in against the owner and his insurance company replied that they did not know he was letting his property and so was not covered? We’ve all read of liability claims stretching into millions of pounds. Well, this incident could potentially have become another statistic. The golden rule is very simple: Insure your property and ensure that your insurance company is made aware, in writing, that you are renting it out. You need an Exten-

sion to your Household policy which covers you for Third Party Liability and is known as an ‘Activité de Gites/Chambre d’Hotes’. If your insurance company doesn’t allow for this, then find another one that will. It may cost a little more but you are paying for peace of mind. For more information, we recommend you speak to Gaye Galliver of BIBA (British Insurance Brokers of Aquitaine): 0553 011384

celebrities but this month’s case study is just that; Matt Arnold has appeared on TV screens many a time and possibly even in your living room during his time as news correspondent for GMTV and sports reporter for Sky News. You may even recall him as Capital Radio’s Flying Eye as he navigated Londoners through traffic in the 90s. So how did Matt wind up with a villa in Languedoc? “Well, it was fate,” he claims. “It chose me. An opportunity came up and I finished up buying my villa in Agel without even seeing it”. That was back in 2002 and although Matt only intended the villa to be a holiday base, he spent an entire year there while he added a wraparound hardwood deck to the exterior. “It opened up the entire villa and ensures there is always a shady side to relax on, even in the height of summer”. How did the original connection with SFHV come about? “I had a cleaning problem and was looking to change management companies. I was Googling and came across SFHV. I phoned Juliana Forte from the UK and she persuaded me that her company could do the business. SFHV did superbly last year both on letting and management. I like the personal service they give me and they only bill for jobs done.” Matt has changed his view of his Agel property over time; whereas it was previously a secondary residence for him and his family, he now views it more as a business and consequently, it has to work for its living. “I check prices on similar properties and make sure that my prices mirror the region. Most of my clients are professional-types and I’ve set up the villa to happily accommodate 6 people instead of just 4; this means I can maximise income. My ideal would be a long-term let - the electric radiators do a good job of heating the house through the winter”.http:// ref=AGEL101

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