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land grabbing farmers


Steve
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Hi All

A little advice/assistance needed pls. Approx 4-5 years ago we purchased a property near Perigueux, the house had previously been a holiday home & has 7.5 hectares of woods & meadow with it. The previous owners (English) had a written agreement with the nearest Farmer that he could cut & take hay from the meadow in exchange for keeping an eye on the house when it was empty. We were advised to carry on this agreement which we did, a couple of years ago we were offered some wood for the fire as rental in exchange for the field from another farmer, I put this to the first Farmer who said he would do the same. Three years later he has not given us any wood and we said we wanted to terminate the agreement, to which he said "I have cut this land since 1967, and when I die my son will cut it!" Until this point we had a very pleasant relationship with our Farming neighbours.

It turns out that the Farmer has the right to use our land, and has it in various agreements with the ministry of agriculture which pays him grants. on top of the 60+ boules he gets each year off our field for free!

My question is this: on purchasing the house should "searches" have been made by the Notaire/Immobilier that would have highlighted this problem? if so who is responsible? Had I known someone had the right to the land I was purchasing I wouldn't have gone near it! I can now not even keep a horse on my own land if I wanted to!

This Farmer is notorious in the village over the years for offering to cut & look after foreigners land & then claiming the right to it.

How do you get rid of this peasant!? it is not about money or rental we just want our land back!

Any advice gratefully received.

Cheers

Steve

 

 

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The farmer can hardly be land grabbing if you say he has a right to cut the grass can he?  However, when you bought the house any tenancies or rental agreements should have been disclosed to the Notaire by the seller and the arrangements for continuing those tenancies entered into the contract and signed as seen by the farmer(s) concerned.  If you want the land or to change the arrangements, you need to go back to the Notaire who dealt with the sale. 

One thing you should consider before ousting resident farmers is, have you the time and resources to manage 7.5 hectares of wood and meadow?

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Steve. I'm sorry that I can't answer your question but I'm certainly interested in the feedback you get.

We made an offer on a house back last August in Masclat (46) but subsequently pulled out of the purchase just before the CdV.  This was for several reasons none of which was a total showstopper but combined were enough to make us uncomfortable.

The one relating to your question was that the farmer who owned the surrounding fields had been given access to the land belonging to the house to both graze his cattle and cut hay. His electric cattle fences extended into the garden/land of the house. We told the immobilier that if we were to purchase the house this arrangement would have to be stopped and the fences removed. Although we never wanted to start off badly with our new neighbours the current situation wasn't what we wanted. As we never got to the signing of a CdV and subsequent purchase, the legal aspects of assuring this were never entered into.  However, your question of how this kind of thing gets handled and who is responsible for tying it up from a legal perspective is of much interest. In a similar vein would be hunters rights as well.

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Rather argumentative but thanks for the advice

I am not interested in the money, I have the resources to manage any amount of land, the financial aspect is not a question, it is the principal here. This is land which I purchased believeing I had the right to do with it as I pleased within the constraints of French policies & environmental issues. It turns out I have purchased land for somebody else to have.

Is the Notaire ultimately responsible for not finding out this information?

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1. Who advised you to carry on with the arrangement when you first bought yr house ?

2. Why did you blindly accept this advice seemingly without checking whether there were any long term implications in doing this ?

3. 3 years later you varied the agreement again without (apparently) taking any advice

4. Would you have entered such agreements in England without taking formal advice ? Tenant farmers have long term rights there as well

5. You state that the farmer is not paying his rent - what action have you taken (beyond bleating on this Forum I mean) to determine yr rights in this area and maybe trying to evict him for that very reason ?

6. Stop trying to blame someone else - notaire, agent or whatever - because you did not follow the maxim of caveat emptor, put yr hand in yr pocket and visit an avocat.

John

not

 

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Well aren't we a nice lot, judge prosecutor & jury all in one.

Having already been through the French judicial system to the tune of 20,000 euros in costs & lost earnings for matters I will not go into here, I try now to find as much information as possible before putting my hand in my pocket again.

I admit, I tend to trust people and therefore believed that the contract I had with the farmer & that of the previous owners would be ok, this limited the time the farmer had use of the land to less than 12 months, an arrangement which I had on my land rental to farmers in the UK which denied permanent rights to the land as the agreement is not continuous.

The reason I wanted to take the land back 2 years ago was to let a young farmer in the village use it as he had just got married & was setting up, I was ok with the agreement until then, as I believed it was my land and I would have the right to rent it to whom I choose after giving suitable notice.

I have already taken advice & been told that in a court case (at the moment) I would lose. This is unacceptable, The property's value is now reduced as I would have to inform any potential buyer that he can own but not have the right to use the land he would be purchasing, enough to scare anybody off!

I am not trying to apportion blame for the sake of it, but if you pay considerable fees to these people surely you are paying for a service, if  it is their responsibility to find these things out & bring it to the attention of the buyer and they do not, then they have not fulfilled their contract and are therefore negligent, "buyer beware" or any other latin phrase, should not enter into it

I am not "bleating" on this forum, I was asking a question and for advice, I thought that was the purpose of the Forum?  obviously I was mistaken, I find your reply rude & argumentative, I will not trouble you again.

Steve

 

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I can see you are a relatively new member here Steve and I would just like to say that most people on this forum do not behave or respond quite as unpleasantly as John has just done to you.  I have been stung by his vitriole in the past. 

Does anyone else have anything helpful to say?

Talk about rubbing salt into the wound!!  The term "self-righteous" comes to mind, John! [:P]

Pix

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I have a friend here who is a farmer.  He warned another acquantance of mine never to let anybody farm their land for more than one year, because of these kinds of problems.  They are not uncommon, and the farmer probably is within his rights.

However, as you say, you should have been warned about this at the time of purchase I would have thought, but the problem really is the time lapse as you have not contested this early on.  I think that legal advice is your only route but as others have said above (somewhat harshly!) you may well find that there is little you can do about this.

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Hi

Sadly I think you are in difficult position, the main issue as far as I understand it is that you have a written agreement.  A friend of mine was advised not to enter into anything written as this can be very difficult to get out of,.  Your only hope I believe is in having the agreement cancelled because they are in breach having not supplied you with the agreed recompense.  All that having been said I think it will be a long and difficult path. 

You also haven't said what the agreement says, does it not have any means of giving notice and cancellation (even if it's years) and who drew it up?

Panda

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"Well aren't we a nice lot, judge prosecutor & jury all in one."

Another new user to the forum who probably wont be returning, I agree with Steve's comments above whole heartedly, why oh why do members feel the need to be so rude to new users on this forum.

Whilst I agree with most of  Icenis comments, why do we need the rude digs?

I have been a reader of this forum on a daily basis for more than 2 years and I can assure you this is a regular occurence by some of our members.

 

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I can't give an opinion or advice on your problem as it is out of my domaine and I agree, you should seek legal advice. Having said that, you did rather put my back up referring to the farmer in a pejorative way as a 'peasant'. My late OH was a 'peasant' (viticulteur in fact) and he reminded me on many occasions that without the 'peasants' of this world, we wouldn't eat. Or to put it into his words, it's not the men in nice suits and ties who put food on the table.

I do nonetheless sympathise with your story and hope you resolve it soon. Jen
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One person's abruptness is another's rudeness. Apart from maybe the slightly uneccessary comments about bleating and blaming (both of which given the circumstances could be true) then I can only see a lot of useful and inteligent answers from Icenci.

Not everyone does warm and cuddly when questions are asked: that is what makes this such an interesting well informed place to come to you get your information, warts and all.

The next thing some posters will be requesting is a standard response form cutting out the opportunity for personal opinions to be expressed. [6]

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The word "peasant/paysan" is not a pejorative term according to some of my French friends - it is actually an honourable term.

You are welcome to your opinions Benjamin and I am too!  When I read John's response I felt as if he had slapped the reader around the face!  This is not a friendly or sociable way to behave and you wouldn't do it if you were face to face with someone so I believe it is somewhat cowardly to behave like that when you are sheltered from a physical reaction by means of a computer screen!  Good way to get your block knocked off if you ask me ... and as Maude said if Steve had wanted a fight there are plenty easier ways of doing it!  Next time you have a query about something Benjamin bear in mind that, according to your stand point, you will be bleating (baah!).

Pix

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[quote user="Benjamin"]One person's abruptness is another's rudeness. Apart from maybe the slightly uneccessary comments about bleating and blaming (both of which given the circumstances could be true) then I can only see a lot of useful and inteligent answers from Icenci.

Not everyone does warm and cuddly when questions are asked: that is what makes this such an interesting well informed place to come to you get your information, warts and all.

The next thing some posters will be requesting is a standard response form cutting out the opportunity for personal opinions to be expressed. [6]






[/quote]

 

I'm sorry, but the way I read, every single point made was rude and unhelpful.

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[quote user="Pixie Toadstool"]Benjamim that is because you have cleverly gone back and edited your comments - including the one about peasants!

Pix

[/quote]

I haven't edited any of my comments!!!!!!!!!!!!! As far as I can see no one else has either.

Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else.

Perhaps a Moderator can confirm that I have not edited the post to which you refer?

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At the time of writing, one contributor has edited his/her posts in this thread.

That person is not Benjamin.

Can I kindly suggest all contributors stick to the subject matter of "Land grabbing farmers", as indicated by the title of the thread?

Thank you.

Forum Moderators

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If you are still reading this Steve - looks as if you have just found out the hard way that farmers in France usually have the force of the law behind them, and have various legal protections. In many ways I think this is right. We were warned at the start that if we let a farmer cut and keep our hay, never to accept payment as this could start a binding contract. There are various websites which cover the area of the law related to this, if you can read french you can study up your chances of success in court.
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