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squatters rights on our veg plot?


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We brought our property in the Jura 5 years ago and visit when we can. The house has a veg plot at the side and we have been allowing the neighbors to use it. They probably used it some years before 2003 as the owner was getting on.

I am a bit worried there might be “squatter’s rights” they can invoke if we do not formally serve notice on this arrangement, as they have expressed an interest in buying the plot from us when I visited at Easter. We are not interested in selling as it would allow them to do as they please, with the possibility of a new property blocking our view; ( we intend to eventually use it ourselves at some stage anyhow.)

The question is should we allow this arrangement to continue or are we playing into their hands in the eyes of the French laws? There are already on the deeds evidence of a small parcel of our land being surrendered to them in the past for a useless plot in the middle of nowhere!

The neighbors are farmers about to retire and intend selling up. This would mean selling theirr own house to facilitate the sale but with land and permission in short supply they may be eyeing the space between the properties as a potential building plot for the house they would then need

any thought or insights more than welcome



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I'm interested in the answer to this as we bought a property last year with a field on which a neighbour puts his horses to graze.  The previous owners were happy with this arrangement as it kept the grass down, and assured us it was an informal arrangement with no money changing hands.  We questioned this with the notaire who assured us that, if no money was changing hands then this would be considered an informal arrangement that could be stopped at any time - we really pushed to get a clear decision on this, especially asking if there was a time limit on this arrangement (like homesteading in the UK, no-one challenges you after xxx amount of years and you then get to own the land).  the notaire assured us that, no, that wasn't how it worked in France.

But if there is clear advice from other people on this forum I'll be interested to see it.  If it looks dodgy then we will stop the arrangement.  I don't want to fall out with neighbours but it's better than getting the land sneakily nicked from under our noses.


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Absolutely agree with Terry.  There are certainly rights over agricultural land which has been 'used' for a number of years - 30 springs to mind, but do not let that put you off doing something about it a.s.a.p.  Even a verbal agreement giving them the right to use the land for a short time could be taken as a contract and held up by a court.  As Terry said send a letter, Raccomandée and Accusé de reception, I would even copy the mairie. 

We had a problem witha neighbour who brought in an enormous debroussailleur brush cutter and cut a swathe through our wood so that his cows could cross over to another parcelle of land he used.  As this was behind our farm rather than across in front of us we let him use it fr a while, but then fences started to go up and an electric fence, to make a roadway through our land.  So we wrote to him as above and pointed out he had no right to use this land.  I copied the mairie at the time.  We removed his fences and put the fencing material back onto his land.  He still uses the cut through occasionally but the fencing has not reappeared.  I have copied this letter to him every year as we have other problems with his cows eating the grass we cut for our llamas, so it is an on going situation, but you must do the letter without further delay.

 In my case the farmer is moving his cattle to the next village and I have already spoken to the other farmer who is set to use the fields he vacates, and he is much more amenable and has offered to help us re-fence our land if we will help him make a crossing for the cows higher up the mountain on common land.  Good luck but do not let things drag on.

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