What self-build dreamers in France need to know

People decide to build new houses or convert barns for many different reasons.

For some, it is about creating a dream home, with everything perfectly in place. Others see it as a way of adding value by doing work themselves.

Family circumstances and needing to be close to people where there are no alternative properties available also drive some home-builders.

In France, regulations concerning housing seem to change constantly. Some places which used to allow individual houses to be built now insist on new building being done in lotissements, or housing estates.

These are often the result of a commune adopting a plan local d’urbanisme (PLU), introduced in 2014, with the aim of tightening up zoning in France. 

PLUs are often detested at a local level – even though, in theory, they have to be drawn up by communities themselves – as representatives say department-level planners, backed by préfets, impose their will.

In some places, it can seem impossible to build or even renovate in the centre of villages, while plans for little rabbit hutch estates on the outskirts are nodded through.

There are, however, still plots for individual builds.

In general, if the land is near medium-tension or low-tension electricity lines, has water mains not too far away, and can be accessed without risk to road users, there is a good chance it might be approved for building.

Similar conditions apply for barn conversions.

The taxe Duflot, named after then-housing minister Cécile Duflot, meant that in some areas the taxe foncière on land deemed to be constructible increased 80% from 2015.

It was intended to encourage the release of land for building.

Instead it has often had the reverse effect, with owners fighting to have their land declared non-constructible.

Make sure of the status of any land you want to build on by asking at the mairie, which is likely to be more informed than a notaire in a town some distance away.

...

To read the remaining 85% of this article, you need to either

Subscribe now to The Connexion and benefit from access to our archived articles since 2006

Print + Digital 3 month subscription

Pay every three months. Our most flexible subscription.

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

€14.25 to France - €18 to EU/UK - €19.50 to rest of the world per quarter including postage

Print + Digital 1 year subscription

1 year of great reading in print and online

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

€55 to France - €70 to EU/UK - €76 to rest of the world per year including postage

Digital 1 year subscription (Our best value offer)

1 year of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

Digital 3 month subscription

3 months of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

More articles from Property
More articles from Connexion France
Other articles that may interest you