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What laws govern lost items in France?

The civil code defines who is the owner of an item that has been found :
• Article 713 states that items without a proprietor belong to the commune of the territory where item has been found , unless the commune renounces them
• Article 2276 states that whoever holds an item is presumed to own it but that if the item has been stolen or lost, the real owner has 3 years to claim it from the person who owns it.
The law of 21 January 1995 entrusted the management of found items to the communes except in Paris where this competence belongs to the Prefecture of Police.

I find an item: what regulations are imposed on me ?

The obligations depend on the municipal by-law of the municipality where you find the item. There are two situations:
The commune has a municipal order on found items The big cities and some other communes thus elaborated decrees regulating the found items on their territory. To find them the simplest is to type on a search engine “arrested municipal items found” followed by the name of the municipality. You can also ask the town hall (tel / mail). If such a decree exists read it and follow the instructions. These rules usually require you to deposit the item within a certain time in the lost property service or the municipal police. Of course, they do not prohibit you from taking additional steps such as posting an online advertisement on our Troov platform or taking other steps to find the owner. In Paris it is a decree of the police prefecture n ° 2007-21381 which provides that the items found in Paris are deposited either in a police station or 36 rue des Morillons within 24 hours of their discovery.
The municipality has no municipal order on found items
If you find an item on the territory of a municipality that does not have a municipal bylaw regulating found items, then it is up to you to decide what to do. As a good citizen, we are counting on you to at least post an ad on our Troov platform which only takes a few minutes. Of course, the Penal Code also prohibits you from using identity documents or means of payment (other than cash) that do not belong to you that you could have found.

What penalties do I face if I do not respect the regulation of found items ?

If the item was found on the territory of a municipality that has adopted a municipal by-law, its violation is a first-class fine punishable by a fine (from 11 to 38 euros in 2018).

After how long can one become the owner of an item that has been found?

Article 2276 of the Civil Code states that the person who owns a movable item is presumed to own it but that for 3 years the real owner may ask him to return it. You thus become definitively owner of an item found only 3 years after the loss and not after one year and one day as is often indicated in error, this last delay having no legal basis. Attention, the right to be granted ownership of a found item can not in principle be exercised by officials or employees who find an item in the course of their work, as is usually indicated in the by-laws. Be aware that in legal texts we often refer to someone who finds an item as “the inventor” or “the discoverer”.

I lost an item are some of these steps required?

The law does not provide anything but you may be required to make a declaration of loss to the police either because it will be required to redo some official documents or because you could be liable for the use of your lost property. It is also necessary that you comply with the obligations of declaration of loss provided by the contracts which bind you like for example the contracts with the banks which granted you means of payment (check books, credit cards, …). And of course it is not mandatory to post an ad on our platform Troov but it is a very good idea to increase your chances of finding your lost items.

I am a Town Hall, what are my obligations for lost / found items in the territory of my commune?

Law 95-73 of 21 January 1995 entrusted city halls with the task of organizing the management of items found on their territory and collecting declarations of loss.
Since no implementing text has been adopted, each municipality organizes itself as it sees fit.
If your municipality has adopted a municipal order on the management of lost property, it may be interesting to review it to ensure a less expensive and more efficient management including by integrating an electronic tool for managing lost / found items such as that of TrooV. If your municipality has not yet adopted such a decree, Troov is at your disposal to help you implement a solution based on our digital solution ensuring a simple, effective and inexpensive management of this municipal mission.

I am a professional, what are my obligations for lost / found items in my organization?

You must comply with the regulations resulting from the municipal bylaw (or the Prefecture of Police for Paris) of the municipality in which your establishment is located where the property is found. For more details on these by-laws, please refer to question 2 above. Troov has implemented a solution to help you manage the lost items in your establishments optimally so that your employees do not waste valuable time in this task and facilitate the steps of your customers.