To carry out their real estate development or property management projects, real estate operators must, in most cases, obtain the following permits planning permissionissued by town halls. Whether it's a Permis de Construire for major works, a Déclaration Préalable for minor works, or a Permis d'Aménager for subdivisions, specific rules apply.


1- Filing the authorization

Each authorization must be deposited, against receipt, at the town hall of the commune in which the operation is to be carried out. From then on, the mayor's office has 30 days in which to request additional documents, such as plans or certificates. The operator then has 3 months to complete his request and submit a complete file.

Receipt of the complete file is the starting point for the appraisal, and the time taken may vary depending on the type of authorization:

  • 1 month for a Preliminary Declaration
  • 2 months for a building permit for a single-family home
  • 3 months for other Building Permits and Development Permits

In addition to these standard deadlines, there are a number of cases in which the appraisal period can be extended. This enables the department to adapt to special cases, for example those requiring consultation with external services.

For example, in a protected area, a remarkable site or in the vicinity of a building listed as a historic monument, the basic application deadline is increased by one month to allow consultation with the Architecte des Bâtiments de France. In another example, if the project involves the development of an establishment open to the public, the lead time is extended to 5 months.

At the end of this period, the town hall issues a building permit order or a preliminary declaration non-opposition order .

In the absence of a response within the legal timeframe (1, 2 or 3 months), authorization is declared tacitly obtained. The mairie is obliged to respond. Subsequently, on simple request to the town hall, it is possible to obtain the tacit certificate justifying that the authorization has been obtained.


2- Purging the authorization

Once the order authorizing the work has been obtained, the operator must then purge this authorization of any third-party appeals or administrative withdrawals.

  1. Recourse by third parties: a person with an interest in acting, usually a neighbor, who opposes the real estate project. The deadline for lodging an appeal is 2 months from the1st billboard displaying the authorization on the land or building.

During the purge period, a bailiff is commissioned to justify, by means of 3 minutes, the continuity of the billboard's display. The sign must contain the following compulsory information:

Building permits

If any of these details are missing, despite having been posted for 2 months, the Building Permit will not be considered purged.

If planning permission has not been purged, or if continuous posting cannot be proved, any person with an interest in the matter can lodge an appeal up to 6 months after completion of the work .

  1. Administrative withdrawal: carried out by the administration, this can take place within 3 months of the date of issue. It comes into play if the initial decision proves to be illegal.

To make things clear, when the mayor grants a planning permission, he forwards the complete file to the prefect, who checks its legality. If it is found to be illegal, the prefect can ask the mayor to withdraw the authorization. However, the mayor can also withdraw the authorization on his own initiative if he becomes aware of its illegality. To do so, he or she issues a withdrawal order, which cancels the permit initially issued, which is deemed never to have existed.

Causes of illegality include failure to consult a commission specific to the type of project, non-compliance with the requirement to use an architect (construction of a building over 150 m²), non-compliance with town planning regulations, etc.


3- Proof of purge

To justify the absence of an administrative appeal or withdrawal, the operator will turn to both the commune and the administrative court responsible for the commune in which the operation takes place.

The town hall issues certificates of non-recourse and non-withdrawal. Depending on the case, the attestation may mention no incident, a withdrawal or an "ex gratia" appeal. Attestations of non-withdrawal can only be issued by the town hall. In fact, only the administrative authority that made the decision in question is likely to have withdrawn it, and to be able to provide information on the subject.


A closer look at appeals

Anyone with an interest in the matter can lodge an " recours gracieux", which is simply a request to the town council to withdraw its decision. The mayor's office then has 2 months in which to respond, failing which its silence will constitute an implicit rejection of the request. From the date of notification of refusal or tacit rejection, a further period of 2 months begins, during which the applicant can lodge a contentious appeal (the procedure is referred to the administrative court).


The administrative court issues a certificate of non-recourse to litigation. In most cases, this certificate is requested directly at the end of the period during which the sign has been displayed on the site. In fact, it is possible for a contentious appeal to be lodged without going through the informal appeal phase. This is why it is necessary for the operator to combine a request for an attestation of non-recourse to the town hall(ex gratia appeal) and to the administrative court(contentious appeal) .

In the event of an informal appeal, it is essential to request a certificate of non-appeal from the administrative court at the end of the aforementioned informal appeal deadlines, i.e. 2 months from the date of rejection of the cancellation request by the mayor's office, or 2 months from the date of implicit rejection by the mayor's office (absence of response). This makes it possible to check whether or not the appeal has been definitively withdrawn.


A closer look at litigation

If the administrative court is seized of an application to annul the planning permission, a judgment will be issued, accepting or rejecting the appeal. In the event of rejection, the applicant has a further 2 months to appeal to the Court of Appeal. If the Court of Appeal rejects the appeal, the applicant has a further 2 months to appeal to the Conseil d'Etat.

The claimant can stop the procedure at any time, either voluntarily or following a settlement agreement between the operator and the claimant.


In conclusion, it's very important for every operator to be well informed beforehand to avoid any shortcomings in the implementation of their real estate project. The accumulation of legal deadlines (appraisal, appeals, etc.) can take several months, which is why financing companies such as Raizers only intervene once all authorizations have been purged of all appeals.

Operators should also check the validity of validity of administrative authorizations which have a limited lifespan.

Town planning rules

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