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French property and sustainable development: ask your notaire

Sustainable development is a mode of economic development that seeks to combine economic and social progress with the preservation of the environment. It is important in water management, housing, urban planning, noise.


If you want to build (or to build up) a property:

You must comply with town planning rules and file applications for planning permission at the town hall or elsewhere (premilinary declaration of works, purpose of buildings, town planning documents, building permitplanning permission...).

The compulsory rules vary greatly depending on the type of project, scope and location.


If you want to sell or buy a property:

You must be aware of the status of the risks attached to each promise to sell.

This informs you whether the property you are buying is located in an area covered by a PPR (Plan de Prévention des Risques Naturels - Prevention Plan of Natural Risks) for events such as flooding, subsidence, earthquakes, etc. or a PPRT (Plan de Prévention des Risques Technologiques> - Prevention Plan of Technological Risks), which is more unusual and applies to dangerous, Seveso-type industrial facilities.

This obligation applies even if your property is in the process of being covered by a PPR. Even though the information is compulsory, it remains confidential and incomplete.

The notaire may advise you to read a more complete document: the DDRM (Dossier Départemental des Risques Majeurs - Département File of Major Risks) made available at the Prefectures and on their websites.

This document includes a list of all the risks to which the municipalities in the département are subject.

It should be noted that no information pertaining to noise is currently compulsory even though a European Directive in 2002. This directive which requires the government to develop strategic noise maps and noise prevention plans in the environment has been codified into French law by Articles L 572-1 and following of the Code of 'environment.


Consult guide "Buying a property"


Consult guide "Selling a property"


The use of water for domestic purposes is also strictly regulated

  • Concerns all groundwater abstraction structures, wells and boreholes, for purposes of domestic use.
  • This includes water intended for human consumption, personal hygiene and animal and plant production. In any event, is likened to a household water levy any lower or equal to 1 000 m3 of water per year, whether by a natural or legal person and he is using one facility or several.
  • Any project, any intention or realization of groundwater sampling to work for domestic use must be declared in town hall.

The new owner must be connected within two years of being granted access to the public sewerage system. The owner must have the septic tank and similar facilities decommissioned to prevent them from damaging the system.

It is also prohibited to drain waste water other than domestic (bathroom, kitchen, toilet) water into the public sewerage system. Under all circumstances, the law requires the authorities to endeavour to collect environmental information or have it collected, and ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date and made available to the public.

Frequently asked questions