Vacant and ownerless properties 

Rundown buildings lead to lower property values, maintenance costs, unpaid charges, health or safety risks, among other things, not to mention vacant or ownerless properties in municipalities can cause untold problems for local governments, land developers, condo associations and private individuals may need to find property co-owners. Call on ADD Associés to find the owners or beneficiaries of these vacant properties.

Why call on ADD Associés to find owners of a vacant property? 

We conduct searches to find the beneficiaries of vacant or ownerless properties, without your municipality laying out any money whatsoever. Our firm can be compensated on a flat-rate basis or based on the heirs’ share of the property’s sale price.  

Under article 147 of the French Law of August 13, 2004, supplemented by the circular of March 8, 2006, local authorities can become the owners of these vacant and ownerless properties, which transfers to them the responsibility of identifying and locating the owners of them. Prior to the local authority’s acquisition of the property, it is incumbent on you to conduct an investigation to identify the owners and beneficiaries. The French interministerial circular of March 8, 2006, encourages that you conduct this investigation by drawing on:   

  • Real estate databases  
  • Notarial records  
  • Land registry information 
  • Civil status records 

ADD Associés possesses these specific skills and has the resources to track down the title deeds and heirs of vacant properties. When you call on our team, you can be sure you’ll be working with experts who specialize in land registry information, archive files and the building inventory in your municipality, also known as the “sommier foncier” (a French government register containing information on property sale prices). 

What are the laws governing vacant and ownerless property? 

In Article L 1 123-1 of the Code général de la propriété des personnes publiques (French General Code of Public Ownership), it is clearly stated as follows what constitutes an ownerless property:   

“Property other than that covered by Article L. 1122-1 is considered as having no owner, and which:  

  • Either form part of an estate that has not been settled for more than thirty years and for which no successor has come forward 
  • Or are properties that have no known owner and for which property tax has not been paid on the constructed property or has been paid by a third party for more than three years. 

Article 713 of the French Civil Code stipulates that: “Ownerless properties belong to the municipality on whose territory it is located. By deliberation of the municipal council, the municipality may waive its rights […].”  

These two articles form the legal framework governing the acquisition of vacant and ownerless property by your local municipality. To ensure the veracity of your investigation prior to the acquisition of these properties, you should hire a highly seasoned genealogy firm. 

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