A QUESTION I am often asked is the rights and wrongs behind allowing a farmer to graze his livestock on a field you may own.
Just last week I received the following email from a reader of the site:
I told a friend that I had bought a place in France with some land and that I was letting the local farmer graze some of his cows on it.
My friend then told me that under French law, if the farmer grazes his cows on my land for two years this automatically gives him the right to use my land for as long as he likes, is this true?
So I contacted Fabien Cordiez, who has written a guide to buying a property in France for the site and is a bi-lingual notaire with experience of both the UK and French legal system.
Farming law is a rather specialised matter, but I can advise that your reader's comment is indeed correct: in December 2003 the French Supreme Court, having noted that Mr. X had repeatedly used pieces of land during the years 1996, 1997 and 1998 to graze his horses, ruled that there was an agricultural lease, despite the fact that no lease agreement had been signed.
If a rent is paid, whether in cash or else, a presumption exists that the farmer benefits from an agricultural lease.
And here is the Supreme Court's ruling.
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