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Powers of Mairie?


Mandy
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Hello all. Hope you are keeping well and safe during these troubling times.

I'm a newbie in desperate need of advice.

About 10 years ago we bought a husk of a house with barn attached in Cruese. We lived there and renovated the house before returning to UK. 2 years ago the Mairie decided that the barn was in danger of falling into the road and after being unable to contact us pulled the barn down. He now wants €40 k euros from my husband for the costs, but currently does not have our contact details. My husband has been declared bankrupt and is very ill. We do not have the money. I dont want to further upset/stress my hubby about it so thought I would try and find out some info on the QT. Does anyone know our options? I want to settle my bill with the Marie but fear getting in touch with him will provoke unwanted action on his part. Can he insist on selling the house at a low price just to get back his costs ie. €40k? Ideally I would like to agree to pay him back if I sell, or over time if I rent - or perhaps I can legally sell a part share in the house to raise the cash? I appreciate that selling property is challenging at present of course.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Any advice, or suggestions of where I can find relevant information would be appreciated. Thanks :)
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I think that one way or another you will have to get in touch with the Mairie, because you owe them a lot of money, which I would assume would be in their interests to recover. It is hardly a couple of hundred €'s.

If you decide to see then when you put your house on the market, the Mairie will automatically be given the option to buy it, that happens with all house sales and perhaps even land sales.

I would suppose that a court of some sort would be the only people who have the option to actually make you sell it, or give the property to the Mairie.

I don't understand how the Mairie couldn't get in touch with you one way or another, as you would still be paying taxe fonciere and taxe d'habitation on that house for the last 10 years.

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As idun says, if the tax office has your address to send you your annual property taxes, then I'm sure your maire could find it out very easily if he really wants to get in touch. I imagine he would simply have to apply to a judge to be given access to the information. So I don't think that you contacting him will let a cat out of a bag that he couldn't let out himself whenever he wants. And since you know exactly how much you owe, presumably there has been some contact between you?

Maires are usually very understanding of people's personal and financial difficulties, after all part of the mayor's job is listening to residents' problems and giving what advice and help they can. But they also have to look after the interests of the commune as a whole and keep spending down to avoid rises in local taxes or cuts in services. So if yours is a good mayor (s)he will be looking to recover as much of the commune's money as they can, whilst at the same time helping you as much as they are able. Hopefully they will consider and discuss with you any arrangement you propose.

I think you're right and it's better to contact your mairie before they find you, because if by that time they have been to the judge and some kind of court order to pay has been issued, it may be harder to come to an amicable arrangement. But that is only my feeling, you have to do what you think is wisest.
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Any recourse against the seller from whom the OP purchased or an insurer? Any guarantees or assurances given about the condition of the property? Just a thought

Edit: Have just reread OP. The 10 years since purchase would no doubt rule out chances of a successful claim
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[quote user="woolybanana"]The figure of €42000 seems very high for pulling down an old barn. I may be wrong, but my suspicions suggest that you should at least ask to see the details of the bill before paying anything.[/quote]

Depends on:  size of the barn, the materials used in the building, the amount of debris to be carted away and disposed of, the difficulty or otherwise of keeping road users safe whilst the demolition was effected and other things. 

Just a "f'r instance", if any asbestos materials were used (and I have seen many old barns with roof sheeting with an asbestos content), the materials need to be taken to a special facility with the know-how and necessary certification to dispose of noxious materials.

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[quote user="Mandy Stidard"]Hello all. Hope you are keeping well and safe during these troubling times.

I'm a newbie in desperate need of advice.

About 10 years ago we bought a husk of a house with barn attached in Cruese. We lived there and renovated the house before returning to UK. 2 years ago the Mairie decided that the barn was in danger of falling into the road and after being unable to contact us pulled the barn down. He now wants €40 k euros from my husband for the costs, but currently does not have our contact details. My husband has been declared bankrupt and is very ill. We do not have the money. I dont want to further upset/stress my hubby about it so thought I would try and find out some info on the QT. Does anyone know our options? I want to settle my bill with the Marie but fear getting in touch with him will provoke unwanted action on his part. Can he insist on selling the house at a low price just to get back his costs ie. €40k? Ideally I would like to agree to pay him back if I sell, or over time if I rent - or perhaps I can legally sell a part share in the house to raise the cash? I appreciate that selling property is challenging at present of course.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Any advice, or suggestions of where I can find relevant information would be appreciated. Thanks :)[/quote]

It might be relevant if you said how you know this if the Mairie doesn't have your contact details? Also, perhaps, what country you live in?

Note that Mairie means the Town Hall, so it's not a "he". The Mayor is the Maire.

If your information is hearsay, maybe the sum includes other charges - have you been paying the Taxes Foncières and Taxe d'Habitation on the house since you left France?

If not, unpaid bills and resulting fines can attract compound interest an at an alarming rate.

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The Mairie will have gone through the correct procédures in trying to contact you including a legal notice in the regional newspaper before having the right, in fact the obligation to act in your absence and on your behalf in the interests of public safety.

A hypothèque will have been raised against your property so you could never sell it without the Mairie being repaid their costs plus interest.

I read these notices frequently and quite a large proportion show the owners have English names and the last recorded addresses in the UK, often what looks like family members so perhaps they were inheritances.

Often they can take a very long time to go through, a property is currently finally being demolished in another town that has been abandoned and uninhabited for 45 years.

 

Where there is a danger to the public they have to act much faster, they would otherwise not speculatively have spent €40K having no idea if you would come forward to pay it.

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[quote user="Mandy"]Can he insist on selling the house at a low price just to get back his costs ie. €40k? [/quote]

 

In a way yes but it wont be him doing the selling or making the decision but the Mandataire Judiciare.

 

I am making the assumption that if they have no way of contacting you then the property taxes will not have been paid, those together with the demolition costs will be registered against your property as hypothèques, I know about this subject because I bought my hôtel direct from the Mandataire.

 

When the permission is sought of the Tribunale de Grande Instance to sell the property to recover the debts their only obligation is to sell it for enough to cover the debts and the Mandataire Judiciare & Notaires fees, not a centime more and its easy for a bidder to find out what is owed via any Notaire.

 

The €40K may be a trigger point because thats what I paid for mine.

 

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Nice to see you posting Chancer!

I used to look at our village notice board regularly, and I never saw anything like that on it, ever. And in fact in these small places, I am absolutely sure that I would have heard if there had been via local gossip.

Sounds logical that this sort of thing would be on the official notice board as amongst other things, a list of the permit de construires etc was always on it.

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I am only now picking up these things because I took an abonnement to the Courrier Picard during the confinement to fill my time.

I doubt that its in the interests of the Mairie to talk about or publish these things, they do owe the owners some sort of confidentiality regarding their finances, the notices that I have read are the final public appeal for the owners to come forward before the Tribunale takes control.

I have a friend 1ière adjoint of the village under the flightpath of the aéroport, he is a fervent opponent and is mounting a campaign to oppose the extension of the runway from 2.2km to 3.5km.

He was in disbelief when I told him that there had already been a public enquiry to extend the servitude de dégagement around the aéroport which would allow such an extension although it was never mentioned then. There were expositions and permanences in 3 Mairies for a week at a time and there were no visitors and no objections written or oral, he knew nothing about it they had done it so much on the sly and used other Mairies & not the ones like his that would be affected. 

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