Sale overturned after 10 years

A wind farm caused more harm than good

20 December 2017

A property sale has been cancelled 10 years after it went through and the seller ordered to repay the buyer's money because a wind farm was installed shortly after the sale and the noise was unbearable.

The Cour de Cassation appeal court ruled on a case in Pléchâtel, Ille-et-Vilaine, where the buyer knew of the plan for the wind farm nearby but failed to appreciate how loud and how much of a nuisance the turbines would be.

Judges said that he could invoke his own ‘mistake of appreciation’ and assert that this was justification for cancelling his agreement on the sale.

The case dates to 2007 when the then property owner decided to sell through estate agents Century 21 / Bain Immo­bilier and the compromis de vente pre-sale contract was signed in October 2007.

The document had two clauses suspensives which could void the sale; one being the sale of the buyer’s own house and the other condition being that there were no ‘urban projects’ or ‘structural modifications’ such as new roads planned near the property.

The buyer made it clear that environmental considerations were high among his priorities and he had contacted the mairie about any urban projects planned and was told none were being considered.

However, in November 2008 a wind farm of four turbines was set up 1km from his new home and he launched a court action in 2010 – three years after he agreed the purchase – against the seller to reclaim the €117,000 paid.

It became clear in court that both seller and buyer had likely known of the wind farm plan but that the buyer had proceded with the purchase.

The appeal court ruled that it was not possible for the buyer to know what the wind farm would sound like when he agreed the purchase and that, while a wind farm did not count as either an urban project or a structural modification, he had grounds for the sale to be voided.

Judges found that none of the parties involved was at fault and that it had only been since the wind farm was built that it was possible to appreciate the possible nuisance.

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