Taking on a property with a caretaker who you don't need...help!

Hello everyone,

We have just recently viewed a property near Toulouse and we have learnt that the property has had a lady who has been caring for the property as the main house has remained empty.

After asking our Realtor about the Caretaker we have learnt that she has been residing at the Caretakers cottage since the age of 9, she is only paying property tax and living in the property rent free for looking after the grounds.

The Caretaker is single and no children and is roughly 48 years old.

One of the reasons we like this property is due to the Cottage which is situated on the grounds would be ideal for our children and extended family to stay.

However having learnt that the lady who has been managing the grounds in the current vendors absence and the fact that she has introduced livestock which in all honesty is something we didn’t anticipate.

Obviously our heart strings have been played and we would like some advice on how we remove the Caretaker we don’t really require considering the history and relationship she has with the current owner.

Any advice on this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Hello Martin and welcome to the forum. Here are my thoughts - others will chime in I am sure…

Firstly, it should be clearly explained to you whether or not the Caretaker has any claims on the property. Is it being sold with her as part of the deal??? If not, it is up to the Seller to ensure she is moved out/on/whatever. If she is part of the deal… mmm… you need to understand your responsibilities towards her and you need to decide whether to accept her or to walk away from the property…

If you are serious about the property… you could insist that one of the Clauses in the “promise to buy” is that the whole property is sold as unoccupied with no tenant… which puts the onus on the Seller to sort her out…

Only sign documents provided at the Notaire’s office and make sure the Notaire understands you want vacant possession.

The Notaire will ensure the correct phrasing shows on anything you sign. this sort of thing…

"l’Acquereur est propriétaire du Bien vendu à compter du jour de la signature.

Il en a la jouissance à compter du même jour, par la prise de prise possession réelle, les Biens vendus étant entierement libre de location ou occupation"

Do NOT sign Anything which the “Realtor” Immobilier provides. (they can and do get things wrong - friends are in the middle of just such a dispute at the moment. They signed a “promise to buy” at the Immobilier’s office. The phrases were “explained” to them , incorrectly as it turns out. (Huh) Latest word from the Notaire is “tough, you signed it, you are stuck with it” …). :zipper_mouth_face:

Best of luck

I would walk away, there are so many properties for sale here free of complications.


Even if the seller does manage to get her out. What is to stop her out of spite making your life a living hell?
This is only supposition but does and can happen .
Revenge - a great idea for a film or book, not so good in reality.
Your dream house could end up being a nightmare.
Up to you, but I’d keep looking.
Good luck.


My concern would be local reactions to forcing this woman to leave what is effectively her home - even if she doesn’t own it or formally rent it. Is the house in a small village or hamlet? If so, be careful as if she has been there for 40 years there may be a backlash if she is pushed out and you will meet resentment from the local neighbours when you move in. Of course she may equally be a thorn in the side of the village and they would be delighted,. But tread carefully.

Did you meet her when you viewed the property? And does it look as if she is well implanted in the property?


Unless you have fluent French (and I mean fluent) and understand how the legal system works in France my advice would be to reluctantly walk away. Even if you negotiate the tricky legalities, the local social ramifications of evicting a single, childless 48 year woman old from the home she’s been in since a child could be awkward in the community.


I think you need to find out the legal arrangement. This is France, there will be paperwork. Legally you can’t simply barter accommodation against services - there are labour law issues, tax issues, social security issues. Presumably the former owners have/will terminate the arrangements they made before the sale, but check.
Does this lady work? Part time job maybe? She can’t live on fresh air even if she pays no rent.
It’s not about heart strings, it’s about practicalities and legalities, and it’s for the vendors to sort. She should be gone before the sale. If there is a villain it’s them not you. If they don’t sort it, walk away.


This sounds like an enormous can of worms and I would walk away if I were you. There are so many properties available in France that you could easily find one without this added problem.


@Martin_Johnson , I think you can see where the forum advice is taking you.
Ultimately it is your decision to make, sometimes it is best to let the head take over from the heart.
I hope it all works out for you, whatever you decide.


@Martin_Johnson If this lady really has claims on the cottage, it is going to be nigh on impossible for the Seller to actually sell…

One way in which a Seller can get rid of a tenant, is to offer the property for sale (first refusal to “tenant”). If the “tenant” does not buy, then the property has to be vacated by the time the Sale is completed. As the cottage forms part of a larger Ownership, it is unlikely the lady will buy the whole kit and kaboodle…

Perhaps this is a route the Seller is taking… who knows. A frank talk with Seller/Agent/Notaire should sort things out.

Other than that… as others have said… walk away.

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To avoid the tenant taking squatters rights, this needs to be more formalised in the scheme of things. Something on the lines of a clause suspensive.

As I have already mentioned… the Notaire needs to ensure the correct wording… no point in leaving such important stuff to Immobiliers :cry:

What I outlined, helped us remove an unwelcome tenant… I was a nervous wreck until the final day came… He kept telling potential buyers that he would never, ever leave… :crazy_face:

It isn’t just the legal side though is it. Not knowing this females relationship with the community ,even if all is done above board there could be ongoing issues for years (especially if she is left homeless ) with neighbours etc you would want to get on with



We have a lady who has been turned out of the home she has shared for 27 years, because the family do not like her and disapproves of her liaison/love for their father.

The only voices heard in the commune - She has no claim, they have every right to turn her out.

She has vanished, to live with a far-flung sister… and I seem to be the only one who finds this distressing. I liked her very much… but that is nothing in the scheme of things.

If the lady in the cottage has a legal claim, it is for the Seller to have that noted in the Sale Documents. If she does not have a legal claim, then that should be made clear, also, in the Sale Documents.

No way can a Buyer be blamed (by anyone) for seeking vacant possession if that is what is being offered for sale…

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Slightly different though being removed because a family doesn’t like you,and being thrown out of your long term home because somebody has bought it

Mary… see my reply above… The Property is either being sold with a Sitting Tenant (with whatever Rights that entails) or it is NOT.

Something for the Seller to clarify before going any further…

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What I am trying to say ,badly probably , is that forget the legal side completely. If this lady has lived there years,it’s her home ,she is part of the community etc. If she has to leave albeit completely legally ,is there not a chance,a chance that the neighbours may not be over welcoming to the people responsible?


at your peril :nauseated_face:

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Not sure if I am over-sensitive… but in my daily life I am seeing more and more situations where non-French folk are being led like lambs to the slaughter… simply because they do not have sufficient grasp of what is being said/implied/promised/whatever.

This could well be another of those situations. I hope not.

I really hope the Seller will clarify (in words of one syllable) whether or not the whole property is sold with Vacant Possession… and I hope that whatever the Seller says will be correctly covered in the Paperwork.

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are you in the right thread @Stella ?
That comment seems to relate to the brexshit process… :wink: