Development permit in France

Updated on Wednesday 20 December 2023

A development permit is an administrative act which allows the administration to monitor the works, installations, and developments, which shall impact the use of the land on a given site.


The development permit is mainly required when it concerns

  • the creation of subdivisions from two building lots with construction or development of roads, spaces or common equipment or if the project is located in a classified site or in a protected sector (in these 2 sectors the change is required from the 1st separation).
  • land consolidation carried out by a free urban land association, provided for construction of roads or common spaces,
  • creation or expansion of a campsite which allows to receive more than 20 people or more than 6 leisure accommodation, made up of tents, caravans, mobile leisure residences or casual leisure accommodation,
  • creation or expansion of a residential leisure park or a holiday resort classified as a casual accommodation,
  • re-development of a campsite or an existing residential leisure park, when the purpose or effect of this redevelopment is to increase the number of sites by more than 10%,
  • works affecting a campsite or a residential leisure park, and substantially modifying the vegetation which comes in the way of the visual impact of the installations,
  •  the development of a site for sports or leisure activities,
  • development of an amusement park or a playground and sports area surpassing 2 hectares,
  • development of a golf course with an area greater than 25 hectares,
  • when they are likely to contain at least 50 units, parking areas open to the public, transport stores and collective garages for caravans or leisure mobile homes, unless a construction permit is required, scouring (digging) and raising of the ground, of which the height, in the case of an uplift, or the depth in the case of a scour, exceeds 2 m and which shall cover an area greater than or equal to 2 hectares,
  • development of built or non-built land made for reception areas and family plots for Travelers, through the installation of more than 2 mobile residences,
  • development of built or undeveloped plots, to install at least 2 residences which are removable and create a total floor surface  which is more than 40 m² and make up the permanent residence of the users.

The file is sent to the town hall by Registered mail or deposited against receipt.

Development permit process

The processing time with some exceptions, is 3 months from the date of filing the request.

The permit shall either be accepted, or refused with motivation or subject to a stay of proceedings:

  • If accepted, if the works don’t begin within 3 years and, after this period, if it is interrupted for more than a year, the permit lapses.
  • Before issuing the development permit no act of sale in any form or condition can take place.
  • After obtaining the development permit and before the viability of works or completion guarantee, only unilateral sales acts which are subject to a special system, provided for in the Town Planning Code, are admitted.

The development permit doesn’t leave any room for amateurism. This document is an authorization and often a rather large-scale operation. The regulations are strict in order to guarantee access to the property. Compliance with administrative constraints is ensured by the notary, who shall check the compliance with the procedure point by point and will only receive documents depending on the state of the procedure. The validity of the acts depends on the procedure’s stage.

Moreover, the notary will check whether the conditions for implementing insurance and completion guarantees are present. The notary is key, when it comes to compliance with the legal procedures that are required for the purchaser, to guarantee the property.