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?Boundary dispute?


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Dear all

Have just received a letter from a geometre to say that he has been asked by our neighbour to determime the boundary of his property one border of which we share.  I think he is going to try to build on the plot or sell it as a building plot.

They have given me a date of a meeting (which I cannot attend) and a form to give proxy for somebody else to represent me if I want.. Does anybody know what this is all about. Is it a geometre representing the neighbour or the Mairie. What are they going to decide on that day and should I have my own  geometre at the meeting.

I am not a keen gardener but would not want to see half our garden disappear by some slight of hand by a local fast-talking geometre.

Any thoughts from anybody

Many thanks

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Keith ............

I have some current experience of this sort of lark and my initial reaction is "Beware !!"

From your post, it sounds as though this is a bolt out of the blue. I can guess that most people's (and my)suggestion would be to talk to your neighbour and try to find out what this is all about. You don't say whether you are on speaking terms or even in situ, so one or even both of these might be difficult. 

I rather doubt that the Mairie is involved in this: it's much more likely to be your own thinking, i.e. clear delineation by the owner with a view to sale and / or development. Is the plan cadastral covering yours and your neighbour's plots clear cut? Presumably not (and that's never a surprise!)

Ultimately, nothing can be decided from an appointed geometre carrying out a survey. If you do nothing for the moment, you'll be sent details of his findings for your approval. Agree nothing unless you're sure that it doesn't affect you adversely. Of course, it may well be that you'll have no problem with the bornage that is specified. On the other hand ................. well, then you have an opportunity to cry "Foul".

Check out your own deeds if you haven't already done so. The appointed geometre will probably want a copy to assist with his survey - no harm in making that available if asked. I wouldn't get your own geometre involved at this stage - just expense that you don't need ........... yet.

That's just first thoughts: key is to find out what all this is about. It might be nothing, but people don't engage professionals at a cost of €'000's for no reason. 

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Keith, I also have recent experience of this - twice - with new neighbours and it was a positive experience.

Do you live in France, if so, things will be much easier.  If you do or don't, get in touch with your Mairie and ask for an extract from the plan cadestral of your property and find out whether the plot next door is designated as CU, ie, buildable, this IS very clear and any plot that is designated for building will clearly be identified as such at the Mairie.

You may have this information already in your deeds, we actually got a map when we bought with all our boundaries marked on them and had worked out where they were - roughly - quite easily but after the two geometre had visited we found we had more land than we thought.

Both the geometres that I met for my land (and others I have helped with for other Brits locally) have been fine, they're not there to rip you off, take your land or make life easier for the person that has engaged them.  Their job is to mark out the plot accurately and if they don't or if there's seen to be anything untoward, you can make life quite difficult for them.

As Gardian said, when he or her's finished the job, they will send you as many copies of the plot they have marked out for all the bordering neighbours plus one for the Mairie and you have to sign all of them, as do all the other people who are sent the copies.  If you're not going to be there, you need to make sure that your post gets forwarded or you make arrangements for the geometre to send you the copies in the UK because holding this up can cause bad feeling too.

That, as Gardian has said, is when you kick up a fuss if you need to but if you already have the information in your deeds, write to the geometre in advance and let him/her know that you have a - rough - idea where your boundaries are and that you're willing to so-operate but can't be there in person - he wont rip you off, it's not worth his while!

Edie:  I think it's likely he may be selling the plot as it's now a legal requirement to have the survey done as part of the transfer of the property to STOP disputes after the event.  And it doesn't necessarily cost thousands unless you have a huge plot, high several hundred each time my neighbours did their's and our plots are not easy to sort out at all, even with all the hi-tech kit they used.

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Whilst we received a copy of the Cadastral Plan from the notaire and it formed part of the Acte de Vente, I also wanted to source an independent copy with some authority.

Mrs Gluey and I went to out local Impôt (A local Cadastral Office tends to be located there too) and requested a rendevous with the Cadastral Office. (bureau de Cadastre, from memory).

The charming chap manning reception asked me what I wanted: and there and then printed off copies of the plan in A4 and A3 three times for each.

When I went to pay, there was no charge.

I also have an ongoing boundary question: but this time with the Marie! Low key all very amicable as I am on friendly terms with our commune's Mayor!

Probably the bottle of malt I bung him each Noël!


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Could be something or nothing, lets hope the latter !

Boundary questions - I deliberately refrain from calling them disputes - are very common in France and until positively determined by a geometre, or subsequent a court case if parties do not then agree on his/her findings, boundaries can form an enduring source of discussion.

Cadastral plans are OK as far as they go but are simply not of a scale to be accurate to the degree required by some and historic understandings such as 'my boundary is from that rock outcrop to that tree' are simply no longer acceptable so it's not unreasonable to have them properly established.

Good luck.

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The first time this happened to us, we got very worked up about it.  But as previous posters have said, it's just a sort of professional "beating of the bounds" to make sure that everybody knows exactly where these are.

It's often done in connection with putting a house on the market, or even with building a fence (which I think can go ON a boundary line - though I stand to be corrected on that).

Everybody with contiguous properties has to be invited to attend - though you should not have anything to pay if it is not you who has requested the "bornage".

It's ideal if you can be there, as sometimes there are tiny negotiations that can be done on the spot.  For example, the first one we attended, it transpired that a bit of the adjacent farmer's track actually officially took in a sliver of what was rightfully our land (though it didn't look like it), and would have made the turn too tight for his tractor if he had relinquished the patch.  We traded that little bit for a small patch alongside our house (which we had always thought was ours but wasn't!)   The géomètre just marked it on the map and that was it.

So if you have to get somebody to go on your behalf, they need to be able to understand exactly what's going on, and have authority to take decisions if necessary (and maybe to have you available on the other end of a mobile phone).

The boundary markers are usually already there - and you probably have never noticed them.  In our case, they were like little truncated concrete pyramids - about the size of those ash-covered goats' cheeses that you can buy.  The geometre knew exactly where to find each one, however many brambles concealed them.  Sometimes they drive in new ones, usually bright orange plastic these days.


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You can get a copy of the plan cadastre on line (from http://www.cadastre.gouv.fr/scpc/accueil.do ) and look at it on a sufficiently large scale to work out what should be where - it's been digitised from a paper plan at 1:2500 (in old money that's about 25 inches to a mile) and you can zoom in and out on screen. What I would suggest is that you check whether the boundary you are worried about is marked already with bornes - the geometer's official landmarks - or whether it is simply determined by a line on the map. I couldn't quite get this to show on the online version (or perhaps I could and didn't understand the way to make the different symbols appear) but what we had from our geometer certainly shows the location of each one.

If it's already marked with bornes you should have nothing to worry about. I believe it's almost impossible to shift these legally after they have been planted, and no geometer would do it illegally.

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