Help please

Hi all , Having a heart attack as the Marie has said that my wall is unsafe .. according to article 511 -1 has asked for it to be repaired ! Does anybody know of company who can put a net onto an unsafe stone wall to keep the stones from tumbling onto the road ! A builder who repairs facades in 84 would be great as well . Thanks .

Thanks . I'll try your link . One tends to sometime miss somethings in translation with Google .

Thanks .


Sounds promising. I use now instead of Google translate and just cut and paste into it any french I am in doubt about. Good luck.

Thanks Pauline . I appreciate your help . Google translator does not always work .

sorry thats lost

The mail says they're in the process of repointing their own section. As regards your section, they have let you know the situation to help you avoid a problem.

Hello all ,

Thanks for all the advise regards the wall . I received an e mail from my mairie this morning regarding my wall . I was wondering if somebody who's French is better than mine can confirm that they say I do not need to worry as the Mairie is repointing the stones themselves ?

Vous nous demandez le numero du Conseil Municipal sachez que c'est le numero , de Monsieur Gabert le marie qui preside le conseil municipal . Voici ces coordonne'es
Pour ce qui concerne les travaux ,partie mairie, ils sont actuellement en re'alisation,rejointoiement des pierres du rempart ,pour votre partie nous vous mis au courant avons pour que vous n' ayez pas de problem ,voici un numero de macon 0620.... . >En ce qui concerne les batiments de france, nous sommmes pas en relation avec eux, e'tant donne que la commune n est pas classe
Esperant avoir respondu a' votre attente , recevez madame ,mes respectueuses salutations

I did not want to get my hopes up, just in case I have loathe message in translation , although I still plan to do the facade of the house in any case .

Thanks for your advise . I agree with many of your sentiments and we ,English are definitely more compassionate and I find we hold a higher moral code !

You mention the Syrian refuge crisis .. Personally I cannot imagine a worse fate for them than being allowed to settle in France in an area where xenophobia is rife .There is an undercurrent of hatred for foreigners in France . I certainly have felt prejudice and it breaks my spirit at times and I would have run a mile were it not for a few lovely French friends that I have.I would like to repair my walls , in sympathetic ,mutually agreeable fashion at reasonable cost and not be hit with an unreasonably hight devi because I'm not French . I would like for the Mairie to respect me and provide assistance and not be manipulated . I guess I am hoping for miracle-one that includes co-operation fairness and above all honesty and transparency !

Hi Katherine; the elapsed time may be an issue here, although the date on which you first raised your concern is the relevant one.

When I issue my Reports it makes clear that the document relates to the property as examined on the date of inspection - we cannot do anything else. Additionally, I specifically exclude outbuildings and ancillary structures unless these are expressly included by variation to the standard Terms of Engagement.

Walls can move / roofs can fail for a variety of reasons, some of which may be inter-related, such as a small leak in the roof covering which channels water into the wall, or building works to any structure shared in common - to say nothing of ground-effect shift. As they say in the airline industry: "shift happens"!

If the roof is, as you say, "in danger of collapse", then the symptoms of this should have been visible for several years - they do not suddenly develop terminal failures; there are usually many early warning signs ; too many to list here.

So if you have it, exhume the Terms of Engagement to establish what was (and more importantly what was not) included in the survey; this sets out the parameters of the survey.

Next is to notify the surveyor that you fear there may be a dispute between you and to ask for a note of his Dispute Resolution Procedure (this is also a requirement of the RICS). In practical terms this usually means the disute is referred to an independent third party to determine whether the surveyor has acted properly.

You should also insist on seeing the PI policy and its claim procedures.

Any old photographs - including any marketing details, which might show the problem was in existence prior to the suvey date will add irrefutable proof. You are looking for bowed roof ridges, missing slates or tiles, pronounced curvature to the planes of the pitches, feathered slates and general disruption to the coverings and mortar joints - I guess internal images of damp staining / rot and woodworm attack is asking too much, althought should have been referenced in mandatory diagnostic reports prepared before your purchase.

Any surveyor will try hard to satisfy you - being disciplined / struck off, or denied PI cover effectively ends your career, and the RICS places a high value on maintaining the public's confidence in its Members.

If you are unhappy with the way your concerns have been dealt with, then a complaint to the RICS (head office - London) is appropriate, and will be treated as a procedural / professional conduct matter separate from the possible competetency issue.

The RICS is usually very helpful, and I might suggest you have an informal discussion with them to obtain initial advice. There are many lawyers specialising in professional negligence claims, but they are expensive.

It is a foolish professional (doctor, lawyer, architect, surveyor etc) who ignores his / her clients' legitimate concerns.

Lisa - I cannot offer advice on your current problem, but I can and do second muany of the opinions and solutions suggested to you with some caution!

On thing I have learnt to the cost of my pocket and health, since moving to the Mayenne/Sarthe from the Herault,is that whoever you use or whose brains you pick, whether French/English, be it an immobilier/ ‘artisan’ expert or Maire - get as much as you can verified in Writing! The written word is the Only legal evidence in France - the spoken words counts for nothing!

I had it confirmed to me several months ago, by a few members of the local village committee I joined, at one meeting when afterwards, some of us were enjoying a post meeting drink - we started discussing culture and cultural differences - a subject we were all interested in and gave us all an insight into some different things. I was even warned about the local Bar/cafe/epicier owner. Something last week has proved true, when I had unseen by her, started to examine and note her prices more closely! Yes Ive being ripped off little at a time without knowing it! I also noted when she away for a few days,her assistant noted down shopping costs for French customers in a notebook dedicated to individual French customers who settled weekly, and they signed each time they shopped, because they could see the barcoded price tickets being scanned into the till! I have never been asked to sign anywhere for the days shopping,the owner just wrote on a piece of paper she put in the till,asking if I would be paying ‘par carte’!

But when I finally settled up by Card if I’d had a few days shopping, spent some money in the bar/cafe side also. She just entered amounts (which I couldn’t see) including epicerie, into the Cafe till to give me a 'total to pay (par carte bancaire)? Yes as I now realise it is all my own fault - she has, unknown to me been taking advantage of my nationality and health situation!

The one thing I love about being British, is that we DO come from a culture of compassion, multi culturalism, empathy and a desire to help those less well off in terms of situation, health or
wealth, than ourselves. Sadly that is NOT a French cultural tradition! I’ve lived here 8 years now, 5 as half of a couple - 3 on my own, the last 2 of which I’m pleased to say, yes I have learnt to understand more and speak better French than I could before! It’s still only mostly been about getting the gist of things, which is still NOT good enough I now realise!

Lisa see what old local info you can find about your village, a book with photos in it perhaps. Or pay a visit to your nearest local newspaper bureau, see what history they have on your village and boundaries! Another thing I’ve learnt in France, is that research is all! Then it’s only yourself you rely on.

I asked, they didn’t volunteer, but agreed - that 'yes the French think all English who move here are rich!

So yes, no matter how nice and friendly the French locals, including Maire - appear to be - they will and do assume YOU are ignorant and stupid - therefore ripe for the picking or ignoring!
So why should they put themselves out to help YOU/ME/ANYONE foreign! - it’s because we are NOT one of them! The attitude to the Syrian Migrant Crisis,here in my village of those I’ve discussed things with, is appalling, not interested, don’t care - France is for the French only!

Think about it, what brings most UK expats here? - It closer to and warmer than the UK, the farther south in this huge country we can move to, the better the opportunity to buy cheap run down down properties, the climate,the cuisine! We don’t come to live here because we love The French per se! It’s for many of reasons I’ve just listed!

I know I’m going to get howls of protest here now - from those who are either half/English/French or living a long contented untroubled life, mostly as part of a coup,e, since moving here as expats, but possibly also moved with a good knowledge and understanding of the French language and culture!

Now I know why this ex-pat Forum is called “Survive France Network” Also a good place on occasion to get ripped off or misled by expats who 'follow’some of the discussions, find out where members live from their profiles, and at least 2 expats I know of, claim to have their own contacts in ORANGE! The largest French Telephone/internet provider, that also employs 2 expats in their office in this region in Nantes!

For a disconnected reason I am currently taking legal action against my French landlady - using the local Huissier who came to view the property, and made a Constat for me! With all my evidence in pictures and writing supplied by him, I am now able to pursue matters with an Avocat. Most if not all Huissier’s speak English, so I suggest you go and talk to your local one and tell him all you have told us. It would cost €260 for an initial Constat, mine cost some additional fees for progressing matters further. But for you it’s a cheaper start rather than going straight to an Avocat!

Here is an aband![](upload://evq3xveeEQgVGsJZhIq0lQwApLj.jpg)oned chateau not far from me- the owners actually reduced it themselves as part of a family dispute

If you have a written report and the report was done by a member of RICS you should write him a letter by recorded delivery pointing out the problem in very specific terms and accompanied by photos. You should say why you consider that his report should have detailed what the problem is. In my opinion he would on the basis of that automatically send his insurers a copy of your complaint. You might wish to consider a complaint to the RICS and I am sure that they would have a committee dealing with complaints which would be obliged to deal with the matter. The five years issue is maybe relevant as he would be bound to claim that there was a problem, or lack of maintenance, that arose in the intervening period. Does his report actually have anything to say on the part of the building in question. If a very old wall then normally it would be specifically mentioned as they tend to be be very thick and built as two skins with rubble infill. If water is allowed to enter the wall at roof level it can become unstable very easily leading to collapse. It's a common sight around here. Pointing (traditionally lime mortar), or lack of it, is also often a problem.

Hi Katherine

I assume I am the Peter you are saying thank you to.

The surveyor will do his best on legal advice to ignore you as if he sees you he is almost admitting liability.

You absolutely have to go thru your own lawyer. In a "normal" village the mairie should help you but from what you say, that sounds risky.

The lawyer will cost of course irrespective if you win or lose (unlike the UK) but I do not see you have a choice.

I cannot now remember what others have said but you can find English speaking lawyers in France by typing that into Google. I assume you know that. But check them out, some are better than others.

If you haven't already done so, take photos and videos so you have a record of how it is now. With luck you might have some pics when you first saw your home. That has proved handy for me once or twice.

Katherine you would need to check but I live in a protected village too- near a Church and in a National Park, where the design and materials of new buildings are strictly protected but there seems to be little or any protection of old buildings that are not "monuments classe". In the UK the demolition of buildings in conservation areas is very strictly controlled. The villages round here are full of ruinous buildings and some have been demolished. I would suggest that you take the advice of a local professional (Brit OK if locally qualified too). Do not rely solely on the Mairie as I am afraid that you cannot rely on them. In my own village I was quite specifically lied to in 1991 and after I had them investigated by a firm of lawyers from Paris they were obliged to pay me considerable damages. More recently there have been problems when one of the local families took advantage of an elderly British lady and the Mairie had at least a conflict of interest as councillors were directly related and a clear conflict of interest occurred. Above all do not expect matters to be dealt with as you would back in the UK.

We’ve actually considered your suggestion, David, in terms of taking off the roof which also needs to be replaced and is in danger of collapse. The problem is, though our property is not protected, it is part of a “landmark” hamlet and I doubt we’d get permission for such a change, as the outside appearance would be drastically altered. It was the surveyor who waved us away. We never went to the insurance company.

Lisa, ours is a huge issue that affects the entire barn. I am sure that your estimates will be far, far less. Thinking of you and do let us know how you get on. Bon courage.

Thanks, David.

Thank you, John. This person is a member of RICS. We were not dissuaded from a survey, and the surveyor came recommended by a qualified, independent third party. So we trusted him.

Thank you, Peter. He does have insurance but still refused to entertain us. We have a written report and the problem is not mentioned. Your advice is appreciated. It was 5 years ago so perhaps too late but I’m going to dig out the report again and see about a lawyer.

John- of couse- just PM me - I am generally here- I live in Scrignac in the Monts d'Arree not far from Morlaix. I was an architect but we also had building surveyors and structural engineers in the team.