Search for Irishman who has left French home abandoned for 22 years

Property is to be demolished following a court order as it is starting to fall down onto the street

The property, on the Rue des Fusillés, Aubusson, is in a state of complete disrepair
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A property that has been abandoned for 22 years in central France is to be demolished by the local council even though the owner, an Irish man, cannot be located.

The terraced property was bought in Aubusson, Creuse in 2002

Since then the owner “has not stepped foot inside the property,” said Stéphane Ducourtioux, the town’s mayor to France3, leading to the property being in a state of total disrepair.

Left untouched for years, it has begun to crumble and fall down, with the front wall collapsing onto the pavement. Several other issues being noted both internally and externally.

Due to the danger for nearby residents, the local council has been trying since 2005 to tear the home down.

However, because the property was not owned by the commune the courts were unable to grant permission to do so.

“We searched for the owner, even reaching out to embassies in France, but he was nowhere to be found, completely unreachable… that’s why it has been so difficult,” the mayor added.

Contacted by The Connexion, the Aubusson mairie said the name of the owner cannot currently be disclosed due to an ongoing legal case, however the mairie is still searching for them.

They also told us the demolition would “begin next Monday [April 1]... and take around one month” to complete. It was initially scheduled for the end of February but was deferred.

Once the demolition is complete, the council will still need to leave the plot on Rue des Fusillés empty as it is not the owner of the land unless the court agrees to grant it ownership.

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Almost a 20-year struggle

The first calls for the property to be renovated by the owner were in 2005 when tiles from the roof began falling onto the ground.

The local council installed protective netting, and tried to contact the owner to alert them to the problem and urge them to renovate.

An ever-growing list of issues with the home led the council to continue attempting to contact the owner, but with no luck.

In 2022 – after the adjacent pavement became unusable due to falling debris – the authorities referred the matter to the local court, which gave formal notice to the owner to put an end to the danger as quickly as possible.

This request went unanswered however, leading the council to file a writ of summons and hold a court hearing over the state of the property.

The owner neither turned up nor sent any delegation to the hearing, leading the courts to grant the mairie permission to demolish the building on the grounds of public safety.

Council will need to pay for demolition

The demolition is expected to cost the local authorities around €50,000 and take more than a month due to the complexity of destroying a terraced property without affecting nearby homes.

“The owner is responsible for this but it's the local authority that's doing the work on his behalf", the mayor said. “We're working at a loss, and we know perfectly well that we'll never get the money back,” he added.

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Nearby residents, however, are more than pleased with the outcome as they feared the property would collapse, bringing their homes down with it.

“We've got damp all over the walls because the house next door is falling down. We can't do any work on it until it's demolished,” said Danielle Lenfant, who lives in one of the adjacent homes.

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