How to determine who owns garden walls & what rights do we have with them?

Hi - does anyone know how we determine who owns the walls bordering on our garden? Should the Mairie have some sort of planning saying who owns which walls and exactly where the boundaries lie?

If there is a house wall backing onto our garden - are we allowed to put trellis or anything like that directly on it or do we have to build a separate wall?

Also the road runs along side our garden - how do we know where we can build a new wall? There is nothing to indicate on our cadastral plans clearly where the edge of the road stops and our garden starts


Thanks Guillaume x

Dear Suzanne,

I have noticed that you have received no reply to your enquiry.

In the first instance, please note that a cadastral plan is a document to calculate local taxes and should not be relied upon as regards to boundaries or surface areas. The cadastral plan may only be used as a clue in that respect.

In France, the primary legal principle is that “In cities and in the country, any wall serving as separation between buildings up to the point of disjunction, or between courtyards and gardens, and even between enclosures in fields, is deemed to be a party wall, unless there is a deed or evidence to the contrary”. This is known as mitoyenneté.

This mitoyenneté means that a partition wall would be co-owned by the respective owners on each side.

Naturally, many exceptions apply to this principle which can usually be determined according to the situation in practice (e.g. according to the boundaries and how the wall is built) and the use or need for the wall by each party.

If the wall is co-owned, each co-owner may be entitled to use the wall and even build another wall against the first one.

The first step would be to check with your neighbour and on your title deed if there is any reference to this point.

You may find that there are local town planning restrictions as regards to building a wall against another and it is advisable to check this with your local Mairie. This prerequisite would also apply to build a wall along the road.

It is likely that determining the mitoyenneté will depend on the situation of the boundaries the marking of which would need to be carried out by a chartered surveyor (géomètre expert).

Before starting anything, simply ask your neighbour and the Mairie about your intentions. This particular point is source of many disputes in France and it is paramount to tread carefully to ascertain your rights and duties.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,