Taking The Plunge - Do I need to seek permission from the Mayor to build my French swimming pool?
Laws and regulations differ from country to country
Fiona Matthews has owned her property just outside Nièvre, Burgundy-Franche-Comté for nearly two years and ever since she purchased she has longed for a swimming pool. “We decided to wait until our two girls 4 and 6 could swim well before installing a pool. However when talking to another British owning neighbour when at the property most recently she mentioned that I’d have to petition the local major to get permission to build the pool – which could take years! We want to make the most of these years when the girls are young and the thought of having to go through a protracted process is really worrying.”
Undertaking any work to your foreign property needs careful thought and the right advice to avoid costly mistakes and to ensure you have the right planning in place should you need it. French laws and regulations are very different to those in the UK so we asked AIPP members and French legal experts, Tees Law, for their advice.
Expert advice - what you need to know
Usually, all that is needed for the construction of a pool is a “déclaration de travaux” (declaration of works) to be filed at the town hall. There is a form for this, for a standard size pool. This applies to pools the surface of which is between 10 m² and 100 m². The form can be found here: https://www.formulaires.modernisation.gouv.fr/gf/cerfa_13703.do
However, and this is where the confusion may have come about, the Mairie (town hall) may impose certain features (eg: colour of lining). It will have one month to respond (acceptance, refusal or acceptance with conditions). In the absence of response after this, it is deemed to have consented and the works can start, although it is prudent to request from the town hall a certificate of absence of opposition.
No declaration is required for pools under 10 m².
For pools with a surface greater than 100 m², a planning permission is mandatory, and the required form can be found here: https://www.formulaires.modernisation.gouv.fr/gf/cerfa_13406.do
In all cases, even for pools under 10 m², the local planning rules must be complied with, so it is essential to check them. These can be found in the local Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU), often available on the town’s website.
Our thanks to Hervé Blatry from French law specialists and AIPP members Tees Law for the advice given in this article.
Tees Law have a strong legal team led by their own resident avocat based in Bishop’s Stortford. Hervé Blatry is a rare resource in a UK law firm, being a French-qualified avocat with extensive experience. Hervé is a member of the Paris Bar and is registered with the Law Society as a European Lawyer and of course he is fully bi-lingual.
If you’re dealing with a legal issue in France, it’s best to get expert advice. After all, French laws and regulations are very different to those in the UK. Tees French team will look for the solution that’s right for you, cost-effectively and promptly. Expert advice provides clarity, even in challenging situations.
Contact Tees through the AIPP member directory here
Disclaimer – this information is meant as a guide and is not a substitute for independent legal advice. Please refer to our policy page which outlines the terms and conditions of use of this website.
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