Renting to associations

The French General Code of Public Property states that a private person/entity occupying the public domain is liable to pay a fee for use of public property (redevance domaniale). As far as charitable associations that operate in public interest are concerned, the financial advantages resulting from occupying or using the public domain are extremely slight. ­

  • Package application

    • Against this backdrop, the local authorities could grant them occupancy titles in exchange for a fee that only takes into account the set portion of the rental value of the property occupied or used. Depending on the value the local authority puts on this right, this fee may be minimal, even token.

    • But the members of parliament thought it important to modify a system which only allowed for two exceptions to the rule according to which occupying property in the public domain for private purposes must be paid for, namely :
      - where occupancy or use was a natural, inherent condition for the performance of work or the presence of a structure likely to benefit the entire community free of charge as part of a public service provision,
      - or where such occupancy or use contributed directly to the preservation of the public property itself.

    • Hence the law of 20 December 2007 stipulating that an authorisation to occupy or use property in the public domain may also be granted free of charge where such occupancy or use is of no commercial interest to the beneficiary.

    • In addition, the employment authorization or use of the public domain can be issued free of charge to non-profit organizations that contribute to the satisfaction of general interest.

    • The law of 7 August 2015 is coming indicate that the employment authorization or use of the public domain can also be issued free of charge where the occupancy or use:
      -contribue directly to ensure the missions of the state departments responsible for peace, security and public order or border control at airports, ports and railway stations,
      -enables performing work on a public rail transport infrastructure or guided.

    • But the municipal council needs to adopt a motion setting the conditions under which the principle of a fee being charged may be waived.

    • It is important to clarify that the Council of State has reaffirmed that the holders of authorizations or agreements for temporary occupation of the public domain have no vested right to renew their title (EC, 25 January 2017, No. 395314).

  • The notaire in renting to associations

    • In small and medium-sized communes, Notaires, who are the only local legal specialists available, are often approached by mayors and their assistants to consider every type of application including those related to leases. Notaires are trained in the general principles of administrative law and specialise in everything connected with property owned by local authorities.

    • By keeping up with professional reviews and in-service training, Notaires stay up to date with changes in legislation and case-law. This makes them ideally suited to respond to requests from mayors and their assistants.

Frequently asked questions