Hello I am trying to protect my land from the local land grabbing mayor who is buying up every piece of land around and banking it for the future.  I have written to the DDI for the current land zonage as the Mayor seems to be unable to provide it to me, giving me the same info as in 2005 and the land next door which is now a lottisement is written as pasture land.  The mayor has built a road which ends at the boundary of my property.  He is also looking to buy the piece of land on the other side of my property and needs the piece of mine for access I believe.

We have a horse on the land for 8 months of the year and it is registered as agricultural at the moment.  I would like to seek the advice of a land lawyer does it have to be someone local as quite frankly I would not trust anyone locally at all having been fed a pack of lies when I purchased the property.  I live in the commune of Rohan.  Can anyone please help me as the land is all that I have left to keep me going spiritually.

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I have just under a hectare which includes the land my home is on and two lakes at the bottom of the slope of my land with land in between.  The local mayor is buying land for the commune in order to sell plots as apparently the village I live in is very popular - which is strange as it seems to have no heart as such just becomming a large sprawl.  I live just on the edge of it, well I did but houses are shooting up everywhere.

One of the locals on the lottisement last year asked me why I had so much land, why did I need it?  I replied because I always wanted some and I pay taxes accordingly - he said he thought it was immoral for me to have this land.  I understand that the costs of laying electricity and water to detached houses on large tracts of land is expensive but it seems that wherever there is land someone wants to build on it.  

Just let Guillaume deal with it!  (Guillaume Barlet SFN member  - see his posts on this thread)

 I had been very anxious -  the situation was clearly a sensitive one, and involved a number of different people with different interests.  My French is ok, but there is absolutely no way that I could have discovered essential bits of information, or arrived at workable solutions, while offending no one, (concerning land adjacent to my house), without Guillaume's help.  It seemed to me to be an impossible situation to deal with. I asked Guillaume to look into it & he has been so patient and kind, he explained everything in detail,  (he speaks perfect French and perfect English), and he has sorted everything out for me, for a very reasonable fee.


Hi Patsy

things can indeed get ugly in little villages when these issues are on the agenda, but I'll give you my penny's worth:

- if the major is acquiring land on behalf of the commune he can't do that without having the go from the town's council. These decisions need to be registered in the minutes of the council meeting, specifying exactly the cadastral data of the said property. These minutes are public and can be consulted at any time (well, within opening hours of the mairie) by any inhabitant of the commune.

- if the major buys land for his own purposes, then ofcourse these things will not turn up in these minutes unless it concerns property owned by the commune.

- the same applies for changes in the allowed use of the land. If f.e. an agricultural property is converted into land for constructing houses, the council needs to take a decision on that and put it into the minutes of the meeting (consultable by... etc.)

- If I do a bit of search on the name of your major then there's a multitude of activities turning up related to building and real-estate societies. This can be a coincidence (if you believe in those of course)

- the fact that the major already engaged in roadworks etc. doesn't give the town any right of expropriation of your land. Apparently the town has at no point indicated plans for developments of the area in which your property lies. 

- If the major accumulates land titles not as major but as a private person then he will never have the right of expropriation

Dear Ben

Thank you so much for your response I admire your abilities to search and am not surprised 5th paragraph at all.  I also thank you for the penultimate paragraph, although they have built on the field next to me I presume that this is already registered to them/the commune.

The letter to the DDI of Pontivy is being sent tomorrow.

Thank you for your assistance and I have sent you a friend request I hope you do not mind and please be assured that I will not use up any of your free time which is valuable these days.

Regards to you and to all of those who have responded.

I don't get it, how can someone just force you to sell? I hope it pays well if you have to sell.

Some one can't, the state commune in this case can just like compulsory purchase in the UK ;-)

I have been busy and therefore have not told you what has happened since the debacle started last year.  Well the last straw was when the neighbor who had poisoned my land had the temerity to beckon my husband and I over to his fence in July of last year.  He wanted to know when we were going to cut the grass on our side of the fence, that he had kindly laid down for us after poisoning our land and lakes.  I told him in no uncertain way that hell would freeze over first.  A row ensued involving his wife, him and myself, my daughter and family friend.  We told him that he could do what he wanted on his side of the fence but not mine.  Upshot was I was so livid, that I called a very young friend of ours who came along and we sent an email to the Rivers Authority in Brittany.  The River Authorities then very kindly updated our letter and attached our photos and sent it back to us to send to ONEMA and the DDI, I took a copy of the letter and left it with the Mayor.  

Now I thought no more about this, heard nothing from anyone, not at least the mayor for 5 days.  Then on a Wednesday morning, when I was busy typing patents (in my pyjamas I might add) a knock came on the door (it was 11am) I answered and there were 2 men, one sporting an Environmental Police badge on his clothing and another man with a clipboard.  I apologised for my improper dress (in my pigeon French) and put on wellies.  We walked the land, the fence and double fenced areas.  I explained why I had double fenced and the one with the badge took photos and shook his head, at this point my friend who speaks very good French arrived to assist.  The simple case is this:

1.  The mayor should never have sold the land within 5 meters of the little pond or of the stretch of water and he did.  No wonder he did not write to the DDI.

2.  The land is agricultural and registered as such and therefore I have the right to grow crops or raise animals on it as I please.

3.  I am allowed to use barbed wire where completely necessary (there is just a small stretch to stop people climbing over to fish).

4.  I am correct in that he should never have used the weed killer and that the man with the badge thanked me for telling them.  They also said should I have any further problems just to let them know and they will arrive with the gendarmes.

5.  The man with the badge asked what I wanted him to do, I said just warn him, his family or friends from coming onto my land ever again, that he can do what he likes on his land but I do not want him on mine.  He said he could fine him a large sum of money - I said "no just warn him off please" and this was done.

I have had, (crossing fingers) no further problems and the mayor just nods at me when he sees me - I think he has my measure and I have his.  I thank you all for your support and just to say that without the help of my friends and the very kind lady from the Rivers Authority in Brittany and lovely Eleanor with the translation I would have been stuck.

One thing that struck me as sad though is that when I told a French man what I had been forced to do he winced and said "but do you not care that this man will no longer be your friend" - I told him no.  He also said that people do not make these complaints because they are scared that they will have been found to have done something wrong, because they do not trust authority.  

So it is worth making a fuss and standing up for yourself when you are in the right.

Just a little note to add to this debacle.  So we have not spoken to the neighbor since he heard from Onema, we have heard nothing from the Mayor either (no surprise as we were informed by the man from Onema that he should not have sold land within 5 meters of our lakes).  

Imagine our surprise (not) when on April 1st we found the small lake emptying at a rate of knots because of a totally smashed overflow pipe - still it revealed just how much damage was done by the neighbor spraying RoundUp up to the lake's edge - absolutely no life of any sort clinging to the rocks of the pond at all and strangely enough hardly any fish.

 No point in reporting it to the Mayor or Gendarmes as nothing can be proved.  

Pipe now sawn off and capped and overflow pipe on large lake made inaccessible by bridge accessing it being removed immediately. We are now refilling small lake from our well (and probably emptying half of the water table for Brittany).  Whoever did this has done our RoundUp spraying neighbor no favours as there will be enough water for mosquitos to thrive in but no fish to eat them so it will be uncomfortable for him when he and his family sit outside in the summer.  Also both overflow pipes into stream now capped.  

Now in the process of purchasing more rolls of barbed wire to roll over newly constructed fencing to stop people entering my land from the lottisement.

Installing bars and padlocks on sheep barn after ram mysteriously deceasing (although livestock becomes deadstock sometimes for no reason).  If anyone around here thinks that they can scare me off my land they do not realize the background I came from it was tough and we learnt to think one step ahead.  To this end we are sawing down a whole row of Leylandi that hid our larger lake from our view from our veranda (we live on higher land than the lakes which can only be seen from the lottisement and us, and are not fed by the stream that leads to the lavoir and eventually the large fishing lake further down in the village).  We will of course have to burn those parts of these trees that cannot be logged and must do this before summer "no burning" rules come into play.  I am busy working during the week and we will only have time to do this on the weekend - so let us hope that it causes no annoyance to our RoundUp spraying neighbor.

I will not change my demeanor towards people, I will remain polite and friendly to those I like and just polite to those I do not know and not speak or listen to the RoundUp spraying neighbor.

It has now become a matter of principle that if I ever had to sell my property and land I would advertize it in Paris just to spite the local notaire and if I could just win the Euromillions (mind you I would have to buy a ticket) I would donate my house and land to the homeless society (for a peppercorn rent) so that the Mayor could not have it.

I was informed by a lovely lady in the village that although we have done nothing to harm anyone and although the locals did not want the house we live in, and they did not want the land that we have that they are jealous of us having it.  So no different here than in the UK then in a lot of ways, prejudice and bigotry are the same everywhere.  There are good and bad everywhere.  I will remain positively myself and we are forming a unified front as a family - unfortunately I am not the only case and wonder if this is why sometimes the English cleave to the English here in Central Brittany.  (If anyone has any good pond weed and lives anywhere close to me can they let me know so that I can put it into the water in the now very small lake).  Thank you.  


The problem is that your description of the situation is pretty much the most vague which would drive every lawyer up the wall. You are projecting all on the village emperor and I just hope you haven't screwed up with headed arguments. If so, then the best would be anyway to sell at any price. Worse then planting a lottisment next to you did already a good damage. 

Without thorough investigation b4 purchase nothing works. Everywhere! That's not only in France, even more so in Switzerland and Austria. And look what happened to second home owners in Briton... Its part of the prey-hunting-game ;-) "Marco"-Socialism on its head, so to speak...

Have you actually ever spoken with neighbors from that place? What is their opinion? I would find it very strange if there was a mayor driving his games without the others to stands up... They have voted for him, so they may know. Face it, a lotisiment is bringing more tax then a large "ranch" of 2 people and a horse. 

If you bought in 2005 and you haven't filed any opposition as they have given you a posh lotissement with lots of friendly neighbors instead pasture land you would have had back then to file an objection. Such planning must be declared, made public in a timely manner, (a year I think) and you can see the maps in the cadaster, you do not need to ask a village emperor. He does not hold the keys for a solution, he is part of the problem, so get yourself a French lawyer, preferable one who is FN, with a "nice" "lefti" you will loose and then the issue is in the ditch... 

Bless you for your reply Theo the simple case is that our Mayor is known for his dealings (together with the local Notaire).  I was informed at the time of purchase that there were no plans for a lottisement or any other building and only heard through the grapevine that there would be one - I have no objection to the lottisement people have to have somewhere to live.  My issue is quite frankly that when I have approached the Mayor over the last 18 months he has given no support to my issues, in fact he had a vested interest not to as he had wrongly sold land to the neighbor at the bottom of my land when he should not have, and this would become apparent if he supported me.  I do not particularly care about that either.  I just object to anyone thinking they have the right to walk on my land, poison it and the small lake and then drain the lake after out of spite.  

I do not need a lawyer to help me I will deal with the situation myself, in fact the assumption is that because I am English I am soft and will be a walk over but far from it.  I was just posting to say that the situation is ongoing with regard to problems with our neighbor but that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  I am not upset at all by the acts done against me, in the larger picture I lost water - so what.  It is all a matter of perspective and it just makes me feel sorry for people who have nothing better to do with their lives than try to hurt others.  I was just wondering if others had encountered similar problems with neighbors.  There will not be a resolution to this matter and I am not looking for one.

Patsie - you might be interested in the article just published in the French property newsletter entitled 'Corruption Chronicles involving French Mayors'


Understand. Patsie then there is a very good way and Doreen Bailey is pointing with their comment in exactly the right direction. Such reporting in insider outlets scares certain individual away like holy water the devil, because it undermines any medium term development. I could post here hundreds of photos from the "crotedazur" where property-developer poisoned large Olive groves by pouring canisters full of chemical fertilizer into the soil so the trees died and they could built their "projects". 


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