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The town appropriates part of your land, or buys the house that you had put on sale at a lower price. what are your rights? What steps should you take? Explanations.

Expropriation, preemption and alignment, an abused property right

How can my rights as an owner be infringed?

The commune, the public institutions of intercommunal cooperation, the department, the region or the State may encroach on your ownership rights.

  • You can be expropriated, to create a parking or other collective equipment.
  • Your property may be mintedalignment to widen a street.
  • When you sell your house, the municipality can, thanks to its right of pre-emption, evict the purchaser of your property.

What to do in case of alignment?

Alignment is the boundary between public roads and private waterfront properties. An alignment plan may provide for widening of the public road. The new layout may bite on nearby private lots and your property will be hit with alignment.
The implementation of the procedure varies according to the nature of the road: highway, national road, departmental or communal. It includes, nevertheless, beforehand a public survey during which everyone can freely express their opinion and their objections.
If the alignment plan is approved, the following operations depend on the presence or absence of a construction on the parcel of your land affected by the operation:

  • in the absence of a building on it: the property of the parcel of land is immediately transferred to the public authority concerned. You will receive, in return, compensation.
  • in the presence of a construction, for example a fence wall, a garage: you will remain owner of the land strip. But you will not be able, on the walls of frontage or fence projecting on the alignment, to carry out the works of maintenance necessary for the conservation of the constructions. The transfer of property will be done when the building is in ruins or you will have shot down by means of which you will receive compensation calculated on the basis of the value of the bare land. In agreement with the public authority, the transfer of ownership can be done before. The amount of the compensation due to you is fixed as for an expropriation.
When the public road is reduced, the public community abandons part of its property. The riparian owners are then a priority to acquire the land. The price is fixed as in terms of expropriation.

What to do in case of expropriation?

The State or a public authority (commune, department...) can force you to him sell your property for example to create a TGV line, a school or because of a risk of flooding... The procedure will not be done without prior public inquiry. This is an opportunity to consult the file in the town hall and record his observations on a register. But all the owners concerned by a project of expropriation have interest to regroup in association to make weight. Unity is strength and you will need it to complete an alternative project or get the best possible compensation.
The first compensation offer is fixed by the estate services. For sure, it is well below the prices of the real estate market. To get a fairer compensation, you need seize the expropriation judge. He sits with the tribunal de grande instance. For its calculation it takes into account different elements: the value of the property in the real estate market, the costs to be incurred to buy another property (notary fees, taxes and duties...), moving expenses... If you are not disagree with the compensation set by the judge, enter the court of appeal. If the compensation still does not satisfy you, an appeal in cassation is possible.

The preemption right of the municipality

The urban preemption right allows the municipality to buy in priority a property offered for sale by its owner. But the municipality can exercise this right only to carry out an operation of general interest: realization of social housing, public facilities, fight against insalubrity... By displayed deliberation in town hall for 2 months, the city council defines the areas to be preempted.
When you sell your house and find a buyer, you sign a promise or a sales agreement and two to three months later the sale in front of a notary. During this period, he carries out a number of steps and in particular files the "declaration of intent to dispose of" (Dia) with the price and terms of the sale. The town hall then has two months to say whether it is a buyer or not. If it preempts, it can do it at the price indicated in the DIA or at a lower price.
You then have two months to make your decision: withdraw the property from the sale, accept the price offered by the municipality or refuse his offer.
In the latter case, the municipality can refer the expropriation judge to set a price. This price is then more likely to be close to that of the market.
If the municipality renounces the purchase, you will not find complete freedom. For the next 5 years, you can sell the property at the price set by the judge revalued according to the cost of construction index.

No preemption possible

The town hall does not have the right of preemption on a property that you receive by donation or inheritance, on the commercial funds, the shares of SCI.

Works on a building overlooking the public road

The facade of your house is on the edge of the public domain (you have no yard, no garden in front of your house), and you want to make a facelift, open a door...
You must ask, in writing, an act of individual alignment at the town hall. This act will indicate the possible limits of your property rights.
Failure to comply with this procedure may cause you to perform work that undermines the preservation of the public domain and exposes you to a traffic violation.
Attention, this procedure does not dispense you to deposit a Request for a building permit if the work envisaged requires it. Check with the mayor on all permits and declarations to be made.

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