France - with its bastides nestled among fragrant Lavender fields, châteaux and exclusive waterfront homes on the glittering Côte d'Azur - has caught the eye of foreign buyers eager to enjoy a taste of the French lifestyle - skiing in snow capped Alps, sampling haute cuisine and local wines and exploring the exquisite art housed in some of the world’s best museums.
If you have invested in one of the luxury villas in France, chances are you are wondering how best to identify your property boundaries, especially if your neighbour isn't too far away. Knowing where your property ends has long term benefits as it enables you to get a fair valuation in the future, should you plan to sell or let your residence and ensures your tenants don’t fall foul of the neighbours.
Defining French property boundaries
If your French property adjoins public space or real estate owned by an individual or public body, you can easily get demarcation done by engaging a géometre to survey your land. Do, however, get your neighbour’s consent before hiring the surveyor. After drawing up a process-verbal (written report) based on the findings, share it with your neighbour for approval.
Once your neighbour agrees with the suggested boundaries, go ahead with marking them using bornes (property markers). If your home adjoins public space however, the préfet (government representative for the region) will need to place the markers in accordance with the surveyor’s findings.
Should your neighbour not want property boundaries identified or isn’t in agreement with the géometre’s findings, you will need to ask the court to intervene. In this case, the land surrounding your deluxe French house is assessed by a court-appointed surveyor who recommends where property markers can be placed.
At this point, if you and your neighbour are in consensus with what the surveyor proposes, you can mark out your property limits. If one or both of you feel the boundaries suggested by the surveyor are unfair, the judge will review the findings and issue a court order indicating where the bornes must be inserted. This ruling concludes the legal definition of your property boundaries.
Your final step, after a 30 day grace period (time given to appeal) is to file the court order in the land registry's office. Doing so, completes official registration of your property’s boundaries. Even if you and your neighbour have agreed over your properties delineation without court intervention, we recommend you register your process-verbal so that it carries the official stamp of approval.