Problem with neighbour

We have a problem with our neighbour and his rubbish. Our property shares a large courtyard with one French man. Until a round 2 1/2 years ago we had a really good relationship with this man, we’ve been here over 10 years. However, around 2-3 years ago the neighbour started filling his area of the courtyard with all sorts of unsightly rubbish, old baths, fridges building materials, scaffolding, even a pile of asbestos roofing. This went on for a while, eventually my husband mentioned to him that we were unhappy with the state of things, he said he was going to build a shelter for one of his horses but wouldn’t do it until his holidays in September, not wishing to upset things we said OK. However that afternoon his parents arrived (he’s about 50 and they are in their 70s) along with another elderly couple and two trailers, they spent all afternoon removing rubbish, sweeping and cleaning, his Mother actually came across to us and apologised for the mess. We thought great, but since then nothing more has been done and outside although not as bad as originally is an absolute eyesore. My husband spoke to him again and once again he made the same promise…September holidays, that was then into the second year, September came and went, Alan spoke with him again very nicely, each time offering to help him to move things but he refused. It’s 2 1/2 years since we first spoke to him. Relationships now are almost nil. It’s not just the rubbish in the courtyard but everywhere we look. He has a large double garage and several outhouses attached to his house, all of which we look straight onto, and all of which are permanently open, making it unable to miss everything inside which is also half out. I do realise that this may sound like a very small issue to some people but to me in particular it’s become a major issue. We have wanted to put the house on the market for all this time but keep putting it off hoping things will improve outside. Since this began I’ve had a TIA and also developed a heart condition. I’m not saying these things were caused by this problem, however I do know the stress of waking up each and every day and the first thing I see is his mess is not helping. So, my question is, would we possibly make things worse by visiting our Marie and asking for help? Is it the sort of thing the Marie might get involved in? Bearing in mind they are a family who lived here for generations. Otherwise what other options are there for us? My husband, who is not in good health, really doesn’t want to have to broach the subject again with him. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted. Thanks

Apologies the original post is written by Anne, for some reason it shows as Alan, maybe the account was opened in Alans name. Thanks

Hello Anne and Alan… yes, the Registration is in Alan’s name… but, never mind…

You seem to have done your best with the neighbour… and this stands in your favour. Now is the time to speak with the Maire… (you may have to make an appointment to ensure you are given enough of his time…rather than a passing chat over the counter.)

Have a few notes written, to keep things straight… and explain what has been going-on and ask for his help/advice.

A few photos will be useful… keeping a visible record…

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If your French is reasonable, or you have someone reliable who will translate, then definitely go to the Mairie.

I completely understand your reservations regarding the fact that his family has been there for generations, but I believe its best to meet these issues head on…if not, they do fester and can make your life a misery.

It will make you feel good just to have your say - even if you don’t get a result. As communications have already broken down with the neighbour, then you cannot make things worse by seeking advice.

Paul Rupa 2 … I reckon Anne’s French will be more than adequate, as she has successfully discussed things with the neighbour and his parents…

The Mairie are there to help and, I am sure, they will make every effort to understand Anne and grasp what has been going on… :relaxed:

Thank you Stella and Paul. It’s reassuring that you both feel speaking to the Marie is the best way to go. We’ve been delaying doing that in the hope things would change, but feel at this stage nothing is going to change without intervention. As far as photos Stella, I have dozens dating back to the time it first became an issue, I learnt a long time ago to keep records, both written and photographic of everything that goes on. Just one other question please, I know in England if you are selling a house you must declare whether or not you have had issues with neighbours, does that same thing apply here? Obviously if we’re hoping to sell the house we don’t want to make things worse. Thanks again.

Alan/Anne…I’ve never heard the one about declaring issues with neighbours as part of a house sale - perhaps it may fall under the category of “vices caches”, or hidden defects, although this usually covers building problems (like not declaring a structural problem that you know about) - but it also covers areas such as “custom and practice” eg. whether someone has a right of way on a property - or uses for shared courtyards!..might be worth taking some advice on this? As for town halls, contrary to other advice given here, my experience has not always illustrated that they are there to help - particularly if the Mayor is related to the person you have a problem with…or belongs to the same Hunting club. But don’t be deterred. Give it a go.

My comment may not contribute much by way of a solution, but the situation surrounding a fifty-year-old man who lives alone and is showing signs of eccentricity (hoarding rubbish) strongly suggests mental illness. Not knowing much about how mental health services operate, but with local anecdote pointing to them being under-resourced and overstretched, it’s not a very optimistic scenario. The Mairie ought to be made aware (they may well already be) but eccentricity and ‘anti-social’ behaviour is a common feature of rural isolation, and is characteristically well-tolerated. Eccentrics are also generally well-protected by the community, who are very reluctant to interfere, and resent the involvement of agencies who want to tidy things up.

I do share the concerns of people whose lives are affected of course, but sometimes one has to reconcile oneself to what can’t easily be changed, and learn to live with it, compassionately.

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Hi everyone…

Glad Anne has photos… a picture is worth a thousand words… :sunglasses::relaxed:

In a similar situation I sent my hoard of photos to the legal-eagles who were “hired” by the ghastly chap who had ruined my rental property. The photos were a last resort as far as I was concerned (after much correspondence to and fro)…and his legal-team were so shocked that they back-tracked immediately and told me to deduct all my costs from the Bond that I had been quite legally holding onto for the 30 days after the chap finally left my property.

Paul Rupa 2 … you obviously did not have good experiences when you were living in France. I hope you find it better in the UK.

However, the Mairie is the place for Anne to start, regardless of who is or might be related to whom.

Anne/Alan … I’m sending you a private message… :wink:

Peter. Your post made me laugh (not unkindly) probably for the first time in months. I think I can say without question that our neighbour doesn’t have mental problems, well not in the way you mean, have to say I’ve said several times, “that man is mad” not a description I would normally use, just that he makes me so mad. When we moved into this house he had what we believed was his wife, after about 4 years she left, seems they were not married. Enter “wife” number 2, she was here on and off for about a further 3years, I think we’re on number 4 or 5 now, I’ve lost count. We were invited into his house once after about a year here, it was like a black hole. All in all I think he’s just a lazy, dirty little man, no mental problems. He has a full time job, does endurance riding and generally seems to be out a lot. It’s such a pity that things have become as they are now, as we always said “he’s a really good neighbour” we helped him out with things and likewise he was always ready to give Alan a hand . We can never work out why he suddenly became so untidy outside, perhaps the first woman wouldn’t let him accumulate all the rubbish he has now

Stella, thank you for your support. We will go to the Marie’s office next week and firstly speak “off the record” to the Marie’s secretary, as Alan knows her reasonably well. We’ll take the IPad and show her photographs, if she thinks it wise to go ahead we’ll make an appointment with the Marie. I think that way we’ll be covering our back in not making it official at this stage. Thanks again

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Let me know how you get on… glad to help if I can… :wink:

Thanks Paul. I’ve never heard anyone mention that particular clause in France which is why I asked a wider audience. I’m sure it still applies in England. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Will do Stella. I haven’t seen any private message, can I assume it will inform me something is there? I can’t see anywhere that refers to private messages!.

There should be a bright blue 1 to the left hand side of “your smiling face” when you go to your screen… but you may also get an email…


What a pompous person you are Stella Wood! Overall, my experiences whilst living in France (and with the French) for the last 15 years were overwhelmingly positive… so a little presumptuous of you to assume otherwise. I also advise that Anne/Alan should go to the Mairie… despite knowing that the local town hall can be just as corrupt as they are elsewhere in the world. Sorry if that doesn’t fit your Oracle’d view of the world…

Paul Rupa 2

If I have misunderstood your previous Posts on the Forum… then I certainly apologise.


My experience is probably not at all relevant…I moved here and inherited a wilderness out back and my first priority after erecting dog panels front and back and deer mesh around “the wilderness” to stop my Collies from wandering into surrounding farm land was making the inside of my home livable…during this time I waved a cheery bonjour to my next door neighbours but unbeknownst to me they were becoming increasingly upset by my unruly outback…complaint to the Marie…local English speaking translator bought in…local farmer tilled the wilderness…voila…sorted…I appreciate that this is not “rubbish” in the strict definition but I once had friends who lived in France for many years whose lives were made a misery by their French neighbour who hurled abuse as soon as they got their sit on lawnmower out…they didn’t have to declare this when they sold and having sold to other English then I can only imagine that the hostilities are ongoing…I’ve also encountered “hoarders” but in uk…I do tend to think that hoarding however manifested is an attempt to fill an emotional void…there are probably buyers out there who won’t see the neighbour’s “collection” as any detriment…If my next door neighbours had been “rubbish collectors” then it wouldn’t have put me off my house as I’d have already been thinking about screening…and methods of avoiding conflict…I hope you get it sorted amicably…:heart:

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Things ‘pan out’ strangely sometimes, my farmer neighbours first words were, “get your gutters fixed”, I did and we are now good friends, knew a hoarder in a block of flats in the UK, his junk, stored in the parking area, under the flats was a serious fire and hygiene hazard, the Council there, did absolutely, nothing, maybe now, after ‘Grenfell’, they would? maybe? :roll_eyes:

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Just when I was thinking " what a lovely group of people they are on here" I really appreciated your input Paul, but feel the comments to Stella were totally uncalled for. You were kind enough to spend time replying to my post, why is it necessary to attack another member so viciously? Very sad.