Plant trees next to the neighbor’s garden

With summer in full swing and many people heading to their gardens for a bit of maintenance or to plant new trees or shrubs, we’re recapping the rules for planting vegetation near neighboring properties.

In France, trees, bushes or shrubs cannot exceed certain heights depending on the distance that separates them from other properties.

This is primarily to prevent your trees or bushes from blocking a neighbour’s view or blocking sunlight from entering their garden.

Read more: Is there a way in France to get my neighbor to tidy up his messy garden?

These rules may vary according to the municipalities (you can check with your city ​​hall) but the standard rules are:

  • If the tree is over two meters high, it must be at least two meters from the edge of the property

  • If the tree is less than two meters high, it must be at least 50 cm from the edge of the property

There are other exceptions to this that may come into play, such as the age or status of the tree.

If you have a trellis on a wall or fence bordering a neighbor’s property, you can grow trees or plants directly on it, but vegetation cannot exceed the height of the wall or fence.

If you think your neighbor is breaking any of these rules, the first resort is to send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt asking them to cut down the tree or shrub.

If they don’t know, you need to get a court arbitrator to settle the dispute. You can read more about calling a referee at this link.

If the situation escalates, you may have to go to court.

Read more: Can I have my neighbor prune the trees overhanging my garden in France?

Read more: Fires: French law may require you to cut at-risk vegetation

Build houses on farmland

Buying a detached house surrounded only by farmland is a dream for many people when choosing their home in France, but there is no guarantee that farmland will not eventually be transformed into a property development area.

In France, only buildings related to agriculture can be built on agricultural land (agricultural area). This includes greenhouses, storage units, sheds, etc.

Other habitable properties cannot be built on the land, which is deemed ‘unbuildable‘.

But the owner of the agricultural land or a neighboring owner can ask the town hall of the municipality to downgrade this land, opening the possibility of transforming it into a real estate site.

The city ​​hall will have to obtain the approval of the Departmental Commission for the Consumption of Agricultural Spaces and possibly of land development and rural settlement companies.

Because of this lengthy process, Delphine Herman, founder of property search firm Homeyloo, told French magazine Capital that conversions of farmland to property development sites do happen but are rare.

French housing data is ‘weak and unreliable’

The data used to inform housing policy in France is “insufficient”, said France’s public finance auditor, the Cour des comptes.

The data is “too weak”, the databases are too complex and not sufficiently up-to-date and in some cases contain unreliable or incomplete data, the court said in a May 12 verdict released on Monday 18 July. .

Housing policies in France cost about 40 billion euros per year.

The court cited the example of the government’s goal of building 500,000 new homes each year, which it says is “regularly put forward publicly”, despite studies showing that only 370,000 new homes are needed each year.

The court also warned of the government’s growing reliance on data provided by private companies such as property companies.

He said that the successive reforms of the housing tax have “deprived the State of essential data” such as the tax used to allow geolocated information on housing to be associated with the financial situation of the occupants.

The housing tax is being phased out and only 20% of the highest income households still had to pay it last year.

Read more: French housing tax: who is totally exempt in 2022?

The Court of Auditors recommended that the government update its housing databases and make them more reliable.

She also pleaded in favor of greater sharing of databases between the various ministerial departments and with local authorities.

Financing the shared purchase of real estate

Since the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020, it has become more common for French people to buy a second property with one or more friends. That’s called buying a house in joint ownershipwhich means that each person owns a certain agreed share of the property.

In some cases, one person has more upfront money than the other, meaning they don’t need to take out a loan or mortgage to fund their share while the other person does.

Paris notary Charles Flobert said that was not a problem. Buyers are free to finance their share of the property in any legal way they wish.

He told Capital, however, that it might be useful to write a will with an “option to buy” so that if one of the co-owners dies, the other person has the option of buying out their share or even inheriting it. on his part.

Courtyard side with landlord after tenant fell from window without railings

Security features in modern buildings, such as railings, do not have to be installed in older properties that do not have them for the building to still qualify as “fit for habitation”, the Court of Justice said. cassation in France. recent judgment.

The case arose after an apartment tenant fell from a window that had a sill less than 90cm and had no railings.

The tenant claimed that this violated regulations and that the property was not up to standard, which led to the accident.

But the court ruled there was nothing in the law to say older properties needed to be updated with modern features such as balustrades and therefore the landlord was not at fault for the accident.

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