Is anyone aware of a new law coming in 2017 taking away some of the powers of SAFER? Thanks.

Hi Alan,
Safer’s powers were strenghtened in 2016 and 2017 being an election year I see no one willing to raise this touchy issue.


Yes, we knew their powers had been strengthened in 2016 (which in my opinion is nothing short of legalised theft) what we had heard today was only from another forum saying this had been rescinded in 2017. Sadly I feel they had things a little mixed up. I presume you meant no one would raise this issue for fear of upsetting the farmers?


could you give me a little detail… what are you not happy about ?

I admit to knowing nothing about SAFER, but as I live in a very rural area…surrounded by farmers… I am interested to learn what is going on.

Essentially what we are not happy about Stella are the rights which this group SAFER have to take whatever land they decide from an owner. In the event that we should ever be lucky enough to find a buyer for our property and the sale reaches the stage of contracts being signed, SAFER are then able to choose if they want to buy our land, at a pittance I might add. The prospective purchaser has the right at this stage to walk away or buy the property minus the land, likewise we can refuse to sell to SAFER and take the property off the market. However, if at any time in the future we decide once again to try and sell, the same thing can happen. Our understanding is that prior to the new law which came into effect in 2016, SAFER had to buy the whole property (house and land) at the market value. If this is not legalised theft I don’t know what is. Anne. (Not Alan )

This only applies to land that is already classed as agricultural though, doesn’t it? As long as you steer clear of agricultural land, SAFER have no right to interfere, surely?

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I have known several properties in my area which have needed clearance from SAFER before a sale could go through but the land has never been any interestto local farmers. The most recent was a concern as the buyers needed the land for their horses and without the land the sale would not have gone through. I can understand how not having the land would have been a deal breaker in that case but I don’t understand how you value the land. Surely the price paid is the price that agricultural land is worth?

Anna. You are correct. My apologies for not mentioning that. SAFER are only concerned with agricultural land. Anne

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I am not saying that SAFER will always take the land, it’s the fact that they have this right that I find objectionable. Agricultural land has a value which varies across the country. Our Marie has advised us in this area it would be paid at 5.000 euro per hectare, which we believe is similar to many other areas, higher than some and lower than others. Our other objection is that SAFER does not step in until the sale has been signed, then it can take up to 2 months for them to decide if they want the land or not, a lot of wasted time, especially if the sale then falls through. Anne

Yes. The farmers are upset with everything right now : prices, EU agriculture policy etc… And future is not rosy for them. Although they count for less of 5% of France’s population French public is quite supportive. It changes, due to to the impact of agriculture on the environment, food, etc… but still.
Regarding the Safer, they are concerned with agricultural land. That does not mean cultivated land but land that is reserved for agriculture. Look at the PLU (Plan Local D’Urbanisme) of your commune to see whether your lot is located in such an area. As cities are endlessly expanding the PLU is trying to preserve some “natural” space.
For all these reasons I am sorry to say that you’ll never win against the Safer.


just for info - SAFER isn’t a group but the government’s agricultural arm ensuring the agricultural world continues as the state wishes. They have the right to buy/intervene on agricultural land in exactly the same way the local mairie has the right to do so on any non agricultural sale. It’s the same policy of across the board once a sale is on-going. It’s just the French (very interventionist) way of doing things. It’s just as interventionist for farmers too, I speak from family experience and one of my sister-in-laws works for the safer !

There are ways and ways of doing things, the method SAFER uses to obtain land shows a total disregard for the ordinary man. We bought a property nine years ago in good faith, now we find without any regard to ownership it could be taken from us, well the land could. Any government who can justify passing a law such as this is basically sanctioning stealing.

Thanks for clarifying SAFER… sounds horrendous…:angry:

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I have heard that SAFER can intervene when a property with agricultural land is put on the market but are you really saying that they can annex an individual’s land at any time? I’m also confused by your use of the words take and stealing, surely such a transaction involves payment?

We sold our small farm of house, outbuildings and 25 acres of land in 2011 through the SAFER to a local farmer and received far more than the notaire and local immobilier valued it at. Very pleased with them as it was so easy and trouble free.

Nice to hear some good news about SAFER… I’ll be chatting at my Mairie about this tomorrow… as we have lots of Brits with land around here and it would be useful to be aware of current legislation should any be thinking of selling…

In 2011 the law was (to my understanding) different. It was in 2016 that it was changed. Prior to that SAFER could not buy just the land, it had to buy the whole property, this is what we were given to be the case when we purchased. Under those circumstances we wouldn’t mind. However, it is now the new law that they only have to offer on the part of the land they wish to buy, and can leave the house with simply a small plot for a garden. You were very lucky that you sold when you did.

I believe I have said what the value would be that SAFER would purchase at. By take the land I mean regardless of whether we want to sell at that price we have very little choice , other than that I have mentioned already ie. Loose the sale and stay here forever (unthinkable) or eventually give in, and let them have it. Steal, in my eyes to reduce a property by far more than it’s worth for a paltry sum. I don’t believe a property with 5acres is only worth to a buyer 10.000 euro more than a property with a smallish garden. It’s hard enough trying to sell property in this country to begin with, this can only make it even more difficult. Just another way to dictate what we can or can’t do.

I don’t think I’ve said that SAFER “can annex a persons land at any time” what I did say was that they could decide whether or not to have it once a contract of sale had been signed by a purchaser.

'We bought a property nine years ago, in good faith, now we find that without any regard for ownership, it could be taken from us, well the land could.'
Sorry, but that sounded to me as though you were saying that they could take it any time. What you dislike is not the same, SAFER have the option to buy the land at its agricultural worth when the property is marketed.