I am so angry!
She isn’t giving me my security deposit back.
I’ve asked her several times how much money she would like for the bed. I tried to replace the chair myself, but it is out of stock everywhere. I asked her if I could pay her for the chair, and she told me that she would have to work out how much I owed, including the bed.
Then I told her that I was leaving Paris. Upon giving her my one month’s notice, I asked how much she would like. Again. And she said she would get back to me.
Finally, I managed to speak to her again today.
“Bénédicte, je veux te rappeler que je pars Paris ce samedi.”
“Je pars vers 19 heure, donc je voudrais savoir combien tue veux pour le fauteuil et le lit, et aussi si tu prefers que je te paie, ou de le prend de ma caution.” (I’m sure there are many things wrong with this French, but she makes me nervous.)
Then she dropped the bombshell – she was going to keep the entire deposit. All €450.
I gasped, “mais c’est €450. C’est beaucoup.”
“Oui, je sais que c’est beaucoup,” Bénédicte shrugged, and went on to explain that:
1. She had not been able to replace the chair, because it was out of stock, so she would take the money for that
2. She didn’t know how much it would cost to fix the bed (the bed is okay, but the lights that I left on are now stuck in the frame so she can’t change them)
3. She wasn’t going to replace the mattress (which isn’t damaged – it was just the blankets that I damaged), but when she did it would cost more than my deposit
4. She had expected me to look up the cost of fixing the bed and, because I hadn’t given her a figure, she had to keep the deposit
5. As I’m leaving earlier than planned (originally it was June) and I hadn’t found anyone to replace me, this was going to cost her the money she was expecting to get
I take issue with points 4 and 5.
4. She didn’t tell me she expected me to find the cost for the bed. To try to replace the chair yes. The bed, no. At least, I don’t think she did. Admittedly, my French still isn’t too good, but I’ve been asking her how much I need to pay since December, so I think I would have picked up on it if she did tell me.
5. Although I originally intended to stay until June, this wasn’t a guarantee, and in our initial emails to each other she just told me that we each needed to give one month’s notice*, which I did. It also isn’t my job to find someone new, though I did put up an ad in the BTL teachers’ room.
Again – I’m so angry! I feel sick and I’m shaking as I type. I don’t know why I bothered giving her notice – I should have left without a word.
I feel like I’m being punished for doing the right thing (not the accidental breaking of stuff, but the giving notice). It’s like when I resigned from BTL – I honoured my contract by giving two months notice, to be sentenced to 49.5 hours of work in January, and 35.5 hours of work in February.
It’s not fair! (Cue me stamping my foot.)
I know I’ve had bad luck here and my absentmindedness has caused a few problems, but this is the first time I’ve had any issues with a landlord. I’m not malicious. I’m respectful and clean and I don’t smoke. I’m very happy to socialise, but I can also stay out of the way if I must (which I think I’ve done quite well here). It’s not like I came here and intentionally trashed the place – I forgot to turn some lights off. I sat down too quickly (and I’m not heavy – a chair shouldn’t break when I sit on it).
Part of me is mad that she isn’t giving the money back, but mostly I’m furious that she didn’t tell me until now. And I had to chase her about it. The least she could have done was let me know last month when I told her I was leaving – then I could have considered this in my holiday planning.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my time in Paris and how grateful I am for the experience. The one thing that has consistently dampened it has been living with Bénédicte, which is quite stressful at the best of times (she seems to be very tightly wound, and she takes over the apartment when she’s home, stomping up and down the hall. I just feel tense when she’s around). However, I’d reached the point where I was grateful to her as well – she gave me a room in a beautiful apartment in a good area for a good price. Maybe it wasn’t what I’d imagined, but because of her I have been safe with a roof over my head.
I wanted to leave on good terms and, two days before I leave, I feel like she’s poisoned any chance of this. I want to be grateful. I really do. I want to be the bigger person and appreciate what she’s given me and release her with love and do everything that a generous and spiritual person would do, but it’s so hard!
I just want to throw myself on the ground with my fists balled and my face red and kick and scream. I want to have a tantrum and a cry.
I know it’s uncharitable, but I hope she learns English and finds this and reads it and feels bad.
*Quote from email: je voulais juste rajouter, en ce qui concerne le congé de la chambre, que nous nous donnions 1 mois de préavis chacune. If I’ve misinterpreted this, I’d appreciate it if one of my French readers would clue me in.