Rights of Way in France

  1. Easements & Servitudes
  2. Landlocked Property
  3. Right of Access for Property Maintenance
  4. Fishing Rights
  5. Shooting/Hunting Rights

2. Landlocked Property - Le le droit de désenclavement

Where a property has no means of access to the public highway, or the access provided is inadequate, then the owner can invoke le droit de désenclavement, under which a neighbour is obliged to grant a right of way.

The rule applies as much for an older property as a new property, but is more often invoked in relation to properties under construction, or for agricultural or employment use.

In the case of a new construction it is important that the person seeking access is not themselves author of the landlocked property.

Accordingly, if someone decides to build or convert a building for residential use on landlocked land, they only have themselves to blame if a neighbour refuses access through their land!

Normally, where access is sought then the shortest possible route should be taken, except where another route would cause less nuisance or damage to neighbouring property.

Formally, the process must be commenced by a written request to the adjoining landowner for a right of access.

If agreement is reached, then it should be signed via a notaire and placed on the land registry.

The use of a land surveyor (géometre) is normally required to provide a detailed plan to be annexed to the agreement.

If agreement cannot be reached then the matter would need to be considered by a Tribunal de Grande Instance where the appointment of an avocat would be necessary.

Where subsequently the property is provided with alternative access to the public highway, then the owner of the land on which the right of way is granted can ask for the right to be extinguished.

Next: Right of Access for Property Maintenance

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