Long Distance Monitoring

Speaking of legality, I think there are some pretty draconian privacy laws here in France and you could find that even if everything else was squeaky clean and your neighbour found out they were being surveilled then you could be in hot water. If it was me, I might install something, but only internally and have a good excuse ready if challenged about it. You certainly couldn’t use it as evidence but for peace of mind it might help you - especially if it turns out your fears are unfounded.

Do you not have any friends within shouting distance of the property who could check it from time to time?


I would only see my front door and I would tell my neighbor it was there. I think a camera inside would be weird bc there are people renting from time to time (like right now). My fears are pretty much more than that; I have done due diligence and am sure of what is happening. My bigger concern is my inability to track what is going when temps are higher and the electricity is not so indictive of occupancy. I do have neighbors, but they are all in the valley at least 30 min away.

For sure it would be weird to have a camera when people are in occupation but I have a feeling that even the door camera might be a problem if he complains that it is an invasion of his privacy (he presumably has keys and access to the property as part of your arrangement). As heating and hot water are normally the biggest culprits when it comes to electric bills, maybe remote sensors on these would help (and even the ability to control them remotely). If you’re pretty sure this is going on, you have a decision to make I guess on whether you can tolerate it for the convenience it affords you, or if you want to cut the relationship. Sorry to sound defeatist, but someone doing this doesn’t seem like a person who will be reasonable if challenged.

1 Like

I don’t really see how he can say it’s an invasion of his privacy, if he is on your property and it only covers the front door, it is your property and not his so you can put what security you want on it, if he does not like it and complains you have to wonder if he is up to no good.

It is draconian to those from more laissez-faire cultures. But like many things in France if you follow the French rules it is fine… You have to make it crystal clear that there is CCTV and it must not by even a tiny smidgen film outside your boundary line. And give people you invite onto your property the right of their droit de l’Image, ie delete frames that include them.

An alternative to a camera could be a motion sensor/door contact on the front door linked to the internet so you can see how often it’s triggered. If it’s triggered daily when there aren’t folks officially staying, then that’s a pretty good indication something untoward is going on, as rather difficult for your neighbours to talk away. I have contacts on all my doors and windows and whenever any are opened it registers on my phone - I find it very effective.


OH! That is a great alternative - no cameras and very simple…this is along the lines of something jut to let me know that something is / maybe going on.

1 Like

Interesting! We aren’t into cameras as too many in the world, but a door contact thing would alert to all sorts of problems.

How would a technical numpty do this?

That’s a really good suggestion :+1:

I use two systems, the original one I have is using HIVE (UK system that I used before I moved) and the second more recent one is the RING (Amazon) system. Both work very well, very simple to set up and as I have a Ring alarm, I have it set so every time a window or door is open it beeps as well. Saved me a couple of times when I didn’t quite close a door0-


You can buy the hardware on Amazon. Just search for ZigBee door sensors. You’d then need a solution that controls what happens when the sensor is activated. There’s some software called Home Assistant that makes this very easy nowadays.

Or do it the way @letsmile describes above… Probably even easier.

1 Like

And the other time this system came in handy was when I found someone snooping in a cupboard where I keep a safe. They opened the door, it triggered the motion sensor in the cupboard. A rather awkward conversation followed!

Time for my favourite gif

1 Like

If wifi internet is a problem look at solar powered camera with 4g sim card.

I’m thinking a trail cam might be enough. I can check the images with dates when I get there and know the comings and goings. I don’t need them in real time. I also think the presence of a camera would be a deterrance.

We had a solar powered trail cam for a while. It was great until earwigs decided it was a perfect nest - they made a huge mess :scream:. If you get one , make sure you tape over any joints as far as you can before you leave.

1 Like

Hi Andy,

I remember reading about a start up that monitors energy use patterns. It’s intended as a way of checking old folks living alone are okay (by figuring out habitual use such as putting the kettle on each morning or using the cooker at lunchtime).

No idea if it took off, what it cost or if it’s in France, but maybe worth a look?


Edf & moi app. Not real time there is a delay of a few hours, but gives you detailed usage

Actually, the way I know that the house is occupied when I am told it is not, is via Linky - EDF gives me daily usages with a 24 hr delay. The issue is that I am told the electricity is high when no one is there because of the ‘hors gel’. But the usage is much higher than necessary for that and is at a similar level to when I am told renters are there.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the consumption of electricity in our gite over this winter via Linky because we have just switched to Tempo. We have underfloor heating in the gite and the frost setting was set at 7 degrees. I put a maximum / minimum thermometer in the gite and on our coldest days it went down to 5 degrees overnight. That was enough to trigger the underfloor heating briefly. I turned the underfloor heating settings in each room down to 5 and the gite temperature never dropped below this - even on the coldest days - and there is little or no usage of electricity.
Your experience does sound strange - who would be renting your place out of season? Unless your place is in a ski resort? Over how many days is the electricity peaking? Does the length of time make sense for a rental period?