Mairie responsibility for upkeep of route communale

Does anyone have experience of this please? The road in front of our house is communale but serves only our house. All of the roads in our village are being resurfaced and the maire told us that our road would be included, after which we would be asked to buy it for a small charge, which we were happy with. Well, the resurfacing work is now finished with drains and new parking spaces installed for the houses just down the road but our bit of the road has not been touched at all, no explanation, and the maire is avoiding us. Can anyone advise as to any legal arguments we can use? I’m aware mairies are under pressure to reduce the number of roads they are responsible for, especially where they serve few houses, but this bit of road is still communale; is there an obligation for the mairie to maintain it?

Did you sign anything, or was it merely an oral agreement?
Somewhere in the délibérations du conseil municipal, there will be a decision that voted on what exactly was agreed by the town counsel with regard to the road. In theory, you can inspect those records as they are public information, but if the mayor is avoiding you, the mairie might try and fob you off.
Was it clearly explained that the road would be done up all the way to the house? Usually when the mairie resurfaces roads like that, it often tries to sell off into private ownership the bits it doesn’t want to maintain, but this should be completely explained to the buyers beforehand.

I have no idea of how well you understand French… so I ask the question… Are you sure you have fully understood the conversation you had with the Maire?

I can’t see why the Commune would spend a deal of money on bringing the entire road “up to scratch” with drains etc… then sell “your” bit… to you “for a small charge”…

I can envisage a situation where an impasse would be offered to the lone Resident at a cheap cost… and the Resident does the upkeep… :upside_down_face:

Or, an impasse is given a dressing of shingle(or whatever cheap fix)… or even NO work at all… and the price will be low due to the situation/condition of the impasse …

If you seriously consider the Maire has gone back on a conversation… and is now avoiding you…
Visit your Mairie and speak with someone there…
and/or send a registered letter (where you get a notice to prove delivery) . This must bring you a response, since the Mairie will have signed to acknowledge receipt and you will have the proof…

I do know that spending on roads often exceeds the amount budgeted and perhaps your “bit” will happen later… (or not at all…)…
Whatever, you will be able to find out what is going on and why…

We have a similar problem. We share a driveway with our nearest neighbour who has always maintained that it is ‘her’ land (but they rent from the commune) although we have always been told that it is our rightful entry.

It is steep with a loose rock surface and in order to maintain traction I have to do a sharp left/right to my gate at speed.

Now that we have at last been given a road name and a number, I notice that we are 75 but the neighbour 71, so that means this thin strip must be a parcel all of its own which may be constructed on at a later date. They would have to put any construction further back from the road to clear our gateway but I would hope that it would also mean we get a reasonable surface after 30 odd years. :slightly_smiling_face:

You can look at cadastral parcels on geoportail to see whether it is a separate parcel, or part of communal land. And if it is separate you can find out who owns it.

Cadastre France

Thank you for that, I had forgotten about it. As the parcel containing our neighbour’s house also contains another neighbour behind her and runs up to our fence, this tells me that both neighbours rent and, presumably the 2nd neighbour has right of sharing ‘our’ drive, even though they have their own, well surfaced, entrance on another road. So I must assume that they are are number 73, very strange as their entrance is so obviously elsewhere.

Good job we get on so well with both our neighbours, but once when having a friendly dispute with the nearest in which she said we could only access our land by her grace and favour, I said yes, fine, but what if you move on and somebody unfriendly and awkward move in? Hmm, hadn’t thought of that, she said.

Also, there was a time a few years ago, that all these ‘council house tenants’ were offered the chance to buy at reduced rates, a la Maggie. I wonder how they would have handled the access question if our neighbour had bought right up to our fence. I notice that the lotissement of 4 houses not far away, all built at the same time, are now 2 parcels, one for the 3 remaining rented properties, and the 4th a large one all of its own where our friend Thierry and his wife bought, and live.

Thanks Stella, yes I am sure that the situation is as I’ve described it here, there was a lot of discussion with the Maire as it was part of a potential neighbour dispute which I won’t go into here as it’s complicated. I have written to the Mairie to ask them to confirm the situation as I understand it but no response. What I’m trying to get here is an understanding of the legal position re responsibility for upkeep of communale roads, and whether anyone has experience of buying a section that only serves their house.

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Thanks for your reply Alex. There was no written agreement, I did ask the Mairie to confirm in writing what they were proposing but no response. The added issue is that my nearest neighbour complained to the Maire (his cousin) about the fact that our bit of road would be upgraded but his private track would have to be maintained by himself. I’m concerned that the Maire has gone back on his word because his cousin has leaned on him. The cousin has had his private track resurfaced - though not to a high standard - as part of the general upgrading work - of course he may have paid for that but I doubt it. The situation is therefore a bit delicate, which is why I’d like to be clearer about the legal position before speaking to either of them about it.

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Basically, yes, the commune is responsible for commune roads … needing to keep them to a certain level.

Generally, this is achieved according to the budget available.

In our commune, our budget enables/plans for roads to be redone over a rolling 15 years… unless there is a specific project/emergency, when a road might well jump the queue.


If you have proof of wrong-going re the Maire and whoever… you can bring that to the attention of those higher up the chain of command… probably at Departmental level…


re buying the road/access to one’s property.

That does happen quite often in our commune.
If the council wants to off-load it… they will pay the Geomètre and Notaire fees. If the Resident wants to buy… it is the Resident who pays the fees… sometimes they share the Fees… it all depends.

either way, the cost of the land itself is usually quite low… can’t call the exact figure to mind but here it’s only a few euros per m2.

However, buying the access does mean that the Resident is liable for the total upkeep of said road… and that can cost quite a bit, initially… and over the years.

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Thanks Stella, that’s exactly what was discussed with us, down to who would pay the geomètre and notaire fees.
In your village, have the roads been upgraded before people have bought them or not?

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Can’t really add anything more. From the additional information you provided, sounds like there’s definitely a bit of “blood is thicker than water” going on here. See if you can get access to the délibérations du conseil municipal", that’s all I can suggest for the moment. If the mairie does obstruct, then you can take it higher. It is a bit difficult to accuse people of wrongdoing without any evidence to back up the allegations.

Thanks Alex, if it did turn out to be the case I think we’d have to live with it rather than take it higher. It’s a very small village so practically everyone is related to someone on the conseil. Just looking to understand the legal position and what arguments can be used as leverage.

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Sorry if I’m slightly off topic but I was very interested in geoportail and cadastre as I’d not seen them recently. My question is, since I’ve only used them in the presence of the notaire, how do I see who owns a particular parcelle? I also have an interest in the maintenance of an adjoining patch of land

The mairie will tell you

If I remember rightly you can enquire through the site by clicking on the parcelle number and the enquiry form is on the left of the page.

Thanks Graham and Colin. I shall try the site first and then the mairie if that doesn’t work. At least I now know the parcelle number so that’s hugely useful.

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We are in the process of buying a piece of communal ‘track’ that runs into our garden by about 30 metres. However, the first bit of the track that turns into our garden cannot be purchased from the commune as our next door neighbour has a side gate there. So we are able to buy most of the track but are still left with the first 5 metres still belonging to the commune. That part of the track is in a really bad way and in wet weather is not all that easy to drive over in that you have to accelerate a bit fast to get out!
Do you think we could ask the commune to repair it ? (Not least as we had originally thought we could buy whole length but only found out (or realised maybe) after the geometrist had done his bit.