Anyone know what well rights neighbours have?

We have an English neighbour who is selling thier house (relations have broken down with them over the last few months) and now she is doing everything she can before she moves to make are lives miserable.

Her latest "bit between her teeth" is if the new owners have the right to pump water from our well and use it to run a washing machine. As far as I was aware she only has the right to acess the well in a drought. This was what we were told before laws changed in feb 2009.

I have looked at the new law and it seems to be more about new wells, not sure if they still have a right to acess and use it as it clearly states that there are now limits on how much water an be drawn (1000 cubic meters per year) and also in a drought water is provided by your comune. I have also learned that permision is needed from the Mairie/prefecture to modernise and use the water for domestic use.

She is also pasting all over facebook that junk (putting it politely) has been thrown down the well and that it is a state of disrepair. We only moved here just over a year ago and in that time my hubby has had to go back to Uk to work and I have been her with 4 young children so its not been high on our prorities. We have never used the well and yes we can see some rubbish in there but it was there when we bought the house.

The only thing that I can see we are obliged to do is provide a cover for it but as it never had one when we bought and no one used the well and had never been an issue in the past we just put it on the to-do list.

I am now in a position where all sorts of accusations are being discussed with anyone but ourselves and she is now making it her mission to find out if she can enforce us to get the water tested and enforce clean up and repairs on it. Does anyone know if this is enforceable? am I solely reponsible for costs as its on my land? and have I read the water act feb 1st 2009 correct in the fact that any activity will need permisison?

Sorry if its a bit long winded but there is little info on what she can or cant do. Would appreciate any advice.

Davinia -- you have four young children and a well without a cover? Please, cover it now before one of them falls in.

Many thanks for your responses. I have checked at the Mairies office today and was told like you are saying it will be written in my documents. I have checked and can't find anything relating to the well and also it is not listed on the act de vent. Will be checking this afternoon with the notaire to confirm this.

I really don't want to start on the wrong foot with the new neighbours.

On the plus side of things this situation has taught me an array of vocab that I would have never known lol

Have a look at your title deeds, I've come across this before where a neighbour has the right to pump water from a well on someone elses land - often set up when the well was the only water supply. It should be listed as a servitude or other right. If there's nothing in your title deed and she has nothing to prove it either, not just word of mouth or "it's always been like that" etc. then tell her where to get off. She can't force you to do anything unless she has an official document saying so ;-)

Hi Davina. In the situation you describe your neighbor has already access to water, probably by the water-mains from the local water company. So there is absolutely no need to grant any access whatsoever to the well on your property. Rather than using well-water the French government is inciting people to use rainwater for usages like flushing toilets or washing machines.

It may be that in the past people in your area were much more dependent on those wells than is the case now. If there are special agreements in place between well-owners and their neighbors dating from those times then these must be attached in writing to the deed of the house, signed by the "notaire".

If there's nothing of the kind than these wells are considered for private use for the owners only. If you don't want to use the water or maintain the well than it's your right and no neighbor can enforce maintenance or testing. Just make sure there a solid cover on the well to prevent accidents.