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Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Old Aug 16th 2022, 12:49 am
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Default Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

I live in a small rural hamlet, and have been settled here these past 10 years. It's normally a pretty tranquil place, but there is a farm, the occasional passing tractors, cow's mooing, sometimes dogs barking, honking horns etc. None of it's bothered me, all part and parcel of country living.

A couple purchased some land and constructed a house a reasonable distance from us, but own a lot of land/woodland in the hamlet. As they worked on the construction of their home themselves they'd often be working outside regular hours, but we never complained about the noises as we understood they wanted their house built.

Fast forward a few years - now their house and garden is pretty much established they started throwing parties this year. Huge speakers blasting music outdoors until after midnight. Initially we didn't complain as I figured it might be a one off, but they became a regular feature, so eventually we sent a polite text message, which didn't receive a reply... The last party they held was still ongoing at 1:30am (I'm normally asleep by 11pm) so the message was not entirely impolite, but it was more to the point. We followed it up with a letter the next day (after speaking with a lawyer to ensure we had the correct civil code) pointing out the article in question.

A few days later they popped over and we got to explain the problem in person. It was a civil conversation, and I was hoping it was put to bed. However I think they're peeved at us for ruining their late nights party nights. One week later on the Saturday morning, he started up his power tools on the very minute it was permissible to use them, and cut down the whole area of woodland bordering our garden, and then installed his chickens and two cockerels (one of whom is the largest cockerel you've ever seen). With all the terrain he has, he could have chosen anywhere without neighbours nearby, but the cockerel now sits very close to the front of our house, and sounds off about 5am, and many times throughout the day. The smaller one is noisy too, but not in the same league as the larger... It's quite evident to me it was done on purpose as an act of passive aggressiveness, however I'm not quite sure whether I should just suck it up and let it go, or complain. It is quite the disturbance at the moment, coupled with knowing it's been done to annoy.

Article R1334-31 (2017) states:
Aucun bruit particulier ne doit, par sa durée, sa répétition ou son intensité, porter atteinte à la tranquillité du voisinage ou à la santé de l'homme, dans un lieu public ou privé, qu'une personne en soit elle-même à l'origine ou que ce soit par l'intermédiaire d'une personne, d'une chose dont elle a la garde ou d'un animal placé sous sa responsabilité.

However in 2020 they did modify another article (L. 110‑1). The civil code now takes into account local circumstances, and a cockerel may not be considered an abnormal neighbourhood disturbance.

I was curious to get an opinion from all you seasoned expats? Should I endure the early morning wake up calls and additional noise throughout the day, try to speak directly to the neighbour (again) or follow up with a lawyer and sound them out?

Sorry this has turned into a really long post!!
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 12:54 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

I'd tell him how lovely it is to have the chickens so close to you when you see him. If he thinks you like having them there, he might move them.

I think the letter you sent originally may not have helped, and another lawyer's letter could just make things far worse. So if you do decide to do something, I'd pop round and ask him to move them rather than sending letters. Obviously if they ignore your polite neighbourly request, you may then have to make it a bit more official.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 1:08 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Thanks christmasoompa. Unfortunately our paths very rarely cross, so it could be months before I was in a position to speak to him in person, short of making a long and deliberate walk up their considerable driveway. I think if I tried reverse psychology it would backfire, and then I'd have no way to follow through with a complaint.
The fence he installed is a temporary, moveable string one. It's possible after a couple of months they might move it and put them somewhere else... It's hard to say. I might try to wait it out to see if that's what happens.

The lawyer proposed to send a letter to them originally (about the music), but we told them we didn't want to escalate it that far right now, so we wrote the letter ourselves, kept it factual and non-emotive. I'm pretty sure they were peeved to receive it, but then who blasts out music at that time of the morning, knowing they have neighbours around them who have to share in it. We told them in person, if we wanted that sort of loud music we'd have moved nextdoor to a campsite.

I think you're right though. Better to bring it up with them first, and failing that, speak to a lawyer. Ideally I don't want to let them know that it annoys us, because if we can't do anything about it, they'll be delighted and will probably seek to keep their chickens/cockerel there indefinitely. I'm currently upstairs in my office and can hear the big cockerel sounding off through my double glazed velux windows as I type.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Sorry to read about this G-J-B.
I just don't get people who do stuff like this. Why go around getting on people's nerves? Even if they are totally selfish and don't give a cuss about how other people feel, I thought everybody was supposed to want to be liked, well this isn't the way to go about it, is it.
All I can say is, some noises I can get used to and cease noticing, and some I can't. Barking dogs I can't, human voices I can't. Music I can, eventually. Cows mooing and cocks crowing I can quite easily. I think it's to do with how much resentment builds up inside me. I resent dogs barking because people shouldn't let them, I resent people talking loudly because they should know better, so when they disturb me I lie there getting more and more wound up. But farm animals are just being themselves, they don't wind me up. If they wake me up I turn over and go back to sleep, and after a week or so I get to be able to sleep through it. Hope the same happens to you..
Although saying that it doesn't always work. I remember these geese once, when I camped by a lake. I could have murdered them, they went on and on all night and they were so LOUD.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Thanks for the sympathy EuroTrash. We never did get an apology; it's obvious to most folk that if you blast your music at extremely high volumes outdoors at night, then the sound is going to reach your neighbours, some of whom are closer to the source than I am.

I kept a cockerel once many years ago - it never bothered me much, I wonder if it's because it was mine and not somebody elses... Also it was about 1/4 of the size of their beast, and so not nearly so loud.
The noise has been grating on me today, because it is so loud, and repetitive. Barking dogs I completely understand. It would be easier to complain about a constantly barking dog over a cockerel.

They keep geese too. They're generally quiet, until one of them approaches by car, and then they make the most awful sound. Thankfully they haven't been relocated!

They do run a risk though, because on our side of the garden I have a concrete chicken coop which backs onto the woods, but a few years ago it got infiltrated by a pine martin, which removed their heads (two escaped). Although his chickens have a secure location in which to bed for the night, being in the woodland, knowing that these wild animals visit, they're not in the safest of locations... Just last week I found the body of a pine martin in my bottom garden (no idea how it died), they're clearly not uncommon.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 10:10 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

What about the woodland that was cut down...surely one is not allowed to cut down a large area of natural woodland - even in France?
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

I should have probably made it clearer - he didn't cut down every tree, just things like hazelnut. What was a thick canopy and undergrowth is now very light woodland area. It's a shame because before they moved in, that piece of wood was home to many wild animals.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 8:16 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by G-J-B
I live in a small rural hamlet, and have been settled here these past 10 years. It's normally a pretty tranquil place, but there is a farm, the occasional passing tractors, cow's mooing, sometimes dogs barking, honking horns etc. None of it's bothered me, all part and parcel of country living.

A couple purchased some land and constructed a house a reasonable distance from us, but own a lot of land/woodland in the hamlet. As they worked on the construction of their home themselves they'd often be working outside regular hours, but we never complained about the noises as we understood they wanted their house built.

Fast forward a few years - now their house and garden is pretty much established they started throwing parties this year. Huge speakers blasting music outdoors until after midnight. Initially we didn't complain as I figured it might be a one off, but they became a regular feature, so eventually we sent a polite text message, which didn't receive a reply... The last party they held was still ongoing at 1:30am (I'm normally asleep by 11pm) so the message was not entirely impolite, but it was more to the point. We followed it up with a letter the next day (after speaking with a lawyer to ensure we had the correct civil code) pointing out the article in question.

A few days later they popped over and we got to explain the problem in person. It was a civil conversation, and I was hoping it was put to bed. However I think they're peeved at us for ruining their late nights party nights. One week later on the Saturday morning, he started up his power tools on the very minute it was permissible to use them, and cut down the whole area of woodland bordering our garden, and then installed his chickens and two cockerels (one of whom is the largest cockerel you've ever seen). With all the terrain he has, he could have chosen anywhere without neighbours nearby, but the cockerel now sits very close to the front of our house, and sounds off about 5am, and many times throughout the day. The smaller one is noisy too, but not in the same league as the larger... It's quite evident to me it was done on purpose as an act of passive aggressiveness, however I'm not quite sure whether I should just suck it up and let it go, or complain. It is quite the disturbance at the moment, coupled with knowing it's been done to annoy.

Article R1334-31 (2017) states:
Aucun bruit particulier ne doit, par sa durée, sa répétition ou son intensité, porter atteinte à la tranquillité du voisinage ou à la santé de l'homme, dans un lieu public ou privé, qu'une personne en soit elle-même à l'origine ou que ce soit par l'intermédiaire d'une personne, d'une chose dont elle a la garde ou d'un animal placé sous sa responsabilité.

However in 2020 they did modify another article (L. 110‑1). The civil code now takes into account local circumstances, and a cockerel may not be considered an abnormal neighbourhood disturbance.

I was curious to get an opinion from all you seasoned expats? Should I endure the early morning wake up calls and additional noise throughout the day, try to speak directly to the neighbour (again) or follow up with a lawyer and sound them out?

Sorry this has turned into a really long post!!
Sorry to hear about your neighbours from hell, I add my sympathy to ET's....
I imagine that the Civil Code was amended to take into account a Court case where complaining Parisians/holidaymakers unsuccessfully sued their rural neighbours for being woken up too early by their cock.
Unfortunately you can't do much about noise made by humans during permitted times, nor can you complain about cocks crowing in the countryside. I've got two relatively recent neighbours, each with a cock and harem, which seem to compete with each other. I've got used to them now and don't put ear-plugs in at night any more. As ET says, a lot depends on how irritated/resentful you yourself are - try to be more zen....
The good news is that the neighbours seem to have stopped their noisy parties. But if they do start them again, call the Gendarmes directly, making sure that they can hear the noise from where you're trying to sleep....
Good luck!
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by dmu
Sorry to hear about your neighbours from hell, I add my sympathy to ET's....
I imagine that the Civil Code was amended to take into account a Court case where complaining Parisians/holidaymakers unsuccessfully sued their rural neighbours for being woken up too early by their cock.
Unfortunately you can't do much about noise made by humans during permitted times, nor can you complain about cocks crowing in the countryside. I've got two relatively recent neighbours, each with a cock and harem, which seem to compete with each other. I've got used to them now and don't put ear-plugs in at night any more. As ET says, a lot depends on how irritated/resentful you yourself are - try to be more zen....
The good news is that the neighbours seem to have stopped their noisy parties. But if they do start them again, call the Gendarmes directly, making sure that they can hear the noise from where you're trying to sleep....
Good luck!
We have had a few neighbour troubles in Italy. If you complain all you get is "This is my property and I do what I want." We found that if you let things alone the issues sometimes go away by themselves. Our neighbour kept pigeons in his garden near our bedroom window and he was forced to move them this summer because of the heat. With winter coming things will quieten down.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by philat98
We have had a few neighbour troubles in Italy. If you complain all you get is "This is my property and I do what I want."
France has "tapage nocturne" legislation though, which everybody is aware of. In fact it's so well known that you see humorous references to it in cartoons etc. But even though it's a cliché and people joke about it, at the same time, they take it seriously. No reasonable person would say "I can make a noise late at night on my property if I want" because they know that legally they would be in the wrong, it would be like saying "I can drive as fast as I like".

Last edited by EuroTrash; Aug 16th 2022 at 10:31 pm.
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Old Aug 16th 2022, 11:40 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by dmu
Sorry to hear about your neighbours from hell, I add my sympathy to ET's....
I imagine that the Civil Code was amended to take into account a Court case where complaining Parisians/holidaymakers unsuccessfully sued their rural neighbours for being woken up too early by their cock.
Unfortunately you can't do much about noise made by humans during permitted times, nor can you complain about cocks crowing in the countryside. I've got two relatively recent neighbours, each with a cock and harem, which seem to compete with each other. I've got used to them now and don't put ear-plugs in at night any more. As ET says, a lot depends on how irritated/resentful you yourself are - try to be more zen....
The good news is that the neighbours seem to have stopped their noisy parties. But if they do start them again, call the Gendarmes directly, making sure that they can hear the noise from where you're trying to sleep....
Good luck!
Thanks DMU, and I do recall reading the story - I think the coq was called Maurice, and the Parisians faced a terrible backlash against it... To be fair they were second home owners! The added problem we have, is that I'm British and my wife is Parisian. In 10 years we have only ever made three complaints; once when much older kids were bullying and hurting my daughter aged 2.5 (she started school early), and my son who was just over a year older on the school bus, and neither the school nor the bus company would intervene to do anything about it. Once because another neighbour kept burning plastic material next to the edge of our garden when he has the hamlet's recycle bin just outside the front of his house, and for the loud music we didn't even go to the townhall, because the mayor outrightly sighs and claims us to be outsiders who do not understand the ways of the country, although what he doesn't know is that both of our families come from farming backgrounds. We have to remind him that we've lived here for a long time, and have only ever made complaints twice.
You're right though, I need to get into that Zen zone, and let it go... It's so easy in this situations to dream up schemes at getting one back in return, but tit for tat never gets you far... I suspect they'll get bored without a reaction and will give up after a while. Certainly though if the music continues they will get a letter from a lawyer, and if they continue after that it will be a visit from the Gendarmes. We have logs of dates, and video recordings (not of their property), but at the front of our house, to show how audible it is.

Originally Posted by philat98
We have had a few neighbour troubles in Italy. If you complain all you get is "This is my property and I do what I want." We found that if you let things alone the issues sometimes go away by themselves. Our neighbour kept pigeons in his garden near our bedroom window and he was forced to move them this summer because of the heat. With winter coming things will quieten down.
My home is my castle attitude... Winter will be easier because I will be indoors more... I can't afford it this year, but eventually we'll get doubled glazed windows installed, and that should help a lot.
Are the pigeons very noisy, or is it because they poop over everything? I have to say if a pigeon lands on our roof tiles, it is pretty audible from the top floor.

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
France has "tapage nocturne" legislation though, which everybody is aware of. In fact it's so well known that you see humorous references to it in cartoons etc. But even though it's a cliché and people joke about it, at the same time, they take it seriously. No reasonable person would say "I can make a noise late at night on my property if I want" because they know that legally they would be in the wrong, it would be like saying "I can drive as fast as I like".
I'm grateful because it is so clear cut and they wouldn't stand a chance if they continued throwing parties like that. Their friends leaving the party honk their horns at 2:30am, so we complained about that too. The cockerel on the other hand is really a grey issue... Perhaps if we can prove they installed them where they have, following our complaints against them, when they have so much terrain, it would help our cause... For the moment I'll try and live with it, and later may ask a lawyer their thoughts before deciding if it's worth the hassle of pursuing it. Don't want to end up like the Parisians who went after Le coq Maurice!

I should probably add that we're probably the only people in the hamlet who they can't complain against. I never use power tools or cut the grass outside of regulated hours, we don't ever play loud music, I never honk my horn. I don't ever enter a neighbour's garden to prune something without their permission (can't say the same is true in reverse!), I don't throw parties, water the garden when there's hosepipe bans or burn garden material.

Last edited by G-J-B; Aug 16th 2022 at 11:47 pm.
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Old Aug 17th 2022, 1:52 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by G-J-B
My home is my castle attitude... Winter will be easier because I will be indoors more... I can't afford it this year, but eventually we'll get doubled glazed windows installed, and that should help a lot.
Are the pigeons very noisy, or is it because they poop over everything? I have to say if a pigeon lands on our roof tiles, it is pretty audible from the first floor
Its not the pigeons it is what he does with them. He comes out in the morning and ties the pigeons to perches. By lunchtime they have fallen down in the heat and are hanging upside down. After months of training he sells the birds to hunters.
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Old Aug 17th 2022, 6:33 am
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

Originally Posted by philat98
Its not the pigeons it is what he does with them. He comes out in the morning and ties the pigeons to perches. By lunchtime they have fallen down in the heat and are hanging upside down. After months of training he sells the birds to hunters.
That doesn't sound at all good.
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Old Sep 16th 2022, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

As a horrible anecdote, the two cocks mentioned in my above post have since been disposed of. As said, they didn't bother me, living about 20 and 30 m in different directions from each henhouse, but people living more 100 m away were complaining about losing sleep, and so "Adieu poulet" (sorry, sick joke). These people aren't even newcomers from the city, they're from local families and have been living here for longer than me (30 years this year!)
You can imagine the bad feeling in our small hamlet....
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Old Sep 16th 2022, 9:54 pm
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Default Re: Passive aggressive noisy neighbours

I'm surprised your neighbour's acted on a complaint from someone who lives so far away...
I've somewhat adapted to the cockerel sounds now - he seems to have three in total, which I don't understand as there's only about 8 chickens. There are moments when it's annoying (especially around 5am), but I think my brain has switched off to it for a large part... At the moment I'm glad I didn't try to escalate things, we'll see if they get moved again in a month or so. One thing I have noticed is that his chickens are now randomly laying their eggs in the woodland area and not in their portable coop, so either they're going to waste, or he has to scramble around in there to find them.
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