Help required please

Hi Folks, I would appreciate some advice regarding a property issue. We have owned a property in the Limousin/Nouvelle Aquitaine for 6 years which is in a medieval town. The property is effectively a terraced house albeit with garage and courtyards etc:

The adjoining property has been empty since we moved in and is owned by a couple where unfortunately the marriage failed. The adjoining property has been for sale for the entire time we have been here, but like a good many properties, the renovation costs would exceed the market value because it has been left to deteriorate considerably.

We are talking holes in the roof letting in water, one corner of the building breaking away and some serious structural issues. I speak with some degree of knowledge having run building related business in the UK prior to retirement.

The problem we are facing is that the wall that adjoins our courtyard has started bowing out considerably. Having seen inside the property, the floor and joists that tie into the wall at this point have rotted away completely due to prolonged water ingress.

To exacerbate the problem the guttering leaked for many years and the water cascading down the wall has washed away all of the infill material and it is now possible to see daylight through the wall in the area that is bulging outwards. In my opinion, having found freshly fallen stones in our courtyard, a substantial collapse is merely a matter of time, with all the dangers and problem that could create.

I will photograph the bulging section, but I would appreciate some guidance regarding the procedure for drawing attention to this problem, employingh structural experts etc; because I would doubt that this couple have maintained insurance cover on the property.

Many thanks in advance


I think that is something you should take up with the Mairie.
They will know how the law applies in your situation and will have a duty to ensure that nobody comes to harm from a dangerous structure.
You must already know that France has a law for just about everything and in this case it will probably work to your advantage.
Bonne chance!


You say that you live in a medieval town, is the area where you live covered by any restrictions, or are the properties covered by Batiments de France?

Hi Pat,
Personally, I would be flagging it to my insurance company to let them use their time and resources to get everything resolved.
Letting your insurance company take care of it might give you some ‘distance’ from the issue and help you not get dragged into any ‘unpleasantness’ arising.
Good luck,

1 Like

I’m sure that the mairie will be very pleased if you bring the problem to their attention. Presumably the house also faces onto the street and they will be keen to avoid anything falling onto the road or pavement. In a nearby village a resident was told that if he did not make a roadside building safe it would be repaired by the commune and he would be billed for the work.

Definitely a case for the Mairie to deal with I reckon. With a bit of luck there will be a local builder on the town council who will be able to give professional advice to the town council as a whole.
There are laws that deal with structures posing a danger to the public, and the Mairie will be able to take emergency action to make the place safe and then bill the property owner for the work done.

Many thanks to all who replied, been in touch with the Mairie and owner visited the property and appointed a “mason” to carry out repairs.

1 Like