Disposal of abandoned car

A house purchased a year ago has two cars left by the previous owner one of which is scrap and the other is worth selling. The house was on the market for a long time after the previous owner’s partner became seriously ill, returned to the UK and died. The owner remained in the UK and sold the house virtually as it stood and, so far, has not been traced.

The current owner is a UK national but has lived in France for 30+ years and now wishes to dispose of the cars for which there is no paperwork of any sort. What needs to be done to scrap the cars or register the cars bearing in mind the lack of any paperwork?

Were the cars ever registered in France? In particular for the one you want to destroy, did it ever have a carte grise? If you don’t have that then the owner will need to declare the carte grise formally as lost or stolen. It’ll need to be destroyed at a Centre Vehicles Hors d’Usage (or “Centre VHU”). You’ll also need a recent certificat de non-gage to prove it’s not got any outstanding debt, etc…

The steps involved are listed here…

Apologies. They are French registered lhd cars so had carte grise, insurance and CT at some stage but none is available now.

The previous owner has not replied to mail sent over several months to the UK address held when the house was sold.

So what action is necessary to re-register or scrap them?

I’ve just re-read your original post. I had misunderstood and hadn’t realised that the cars belong to the previous owner of the house not the current one.

This changes things slightly as you / the current house owner won’t be able to obtain a replacement carte grise, register the cars, arrange their destruction, etc…

Here’s what you / your friend needs to do, as explained here - Voiture abandonnée sur mon terrain : Procédure, frais, fourrière...

  1. send a lettre recommandée internationale to the last known address informing them of their legal obligation to remove the vehicles from your property. Specify a date that the vehicles must be removed by. It doesn’t matter that you know that it’s pointless and will be ignored, as long as you can demonstrate that you’ve sent the letter to the owner.

  2. After the deadline has expired, contact your local mayor and provide them with a copy of the lettre recommandée plus proof of postage… if you can get an accusé de réception to show it was received then that’s even better.

  3. Your mayor has the power to arrange for abandoned cars to be removed and destroyed, so let them take care of it. As mentioned in the article linked above, the cost for destroying the cars will be paid by the mayor.

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Thank you for the link. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help if a vehicle has value and could be re-registered. A visit to the mairie may provide further steps to be taken.

a local commune has been fighting the good fight, as you outline… it’s been 3 long years but the abandoned (in limbo) vehicle is now the responsibility of the Gendarmes…

Incidentally, the inhabitants of the Commune will indirectly bear the costs involved, albeit the money will be paid out of the budget of the Mairie… whatever it costs, it will take money away from other local projects and is a darn shame…

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But if it doesn’t belong to the present owner of the land, and the actual owner can’t be contacted, then it doesn’t really have “value” to them does it? I agree it’s frustrating if a usable car is going to waste, but if they can’t prove ownership they won’t be able to register it?

Maybe your mairie could tell you where the law stands on ownership of abandoned vehicles - it may be that there is some procedure for the landowner to take over ownership if it’s not been claimed and efforts have been made to contact the original owner, instead of it going for scrap.

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If all else fails there are other options


We had an abandoned car in Trivy and it took the Mairie ages to get permission to remove it.