If the party wall at our French home is damaged are repair costs shared?

A neighbour is undertaking renovations to their property

The responsibility for any damage can be relevant if a disputes arises
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Reader Question: Our second home is the middle house of three in a terrace. A new neighbour is renovating the property to one side of us. Do their builders need insurance against any damage that might be caused to our party wall in the process?

The principle of caring for shared walls in France is that costs are split equally between the people who own the wall.

An exception is that each owner is responsible for damage they cause to a wall.

So if the wall is damaged during your neighbour’s renovation, they are responsible for repairing it.

This does not mean you can demand to see their insurance certificates.

Read more: Not respecting planning permission can cost you (a lot) in France

Household insurance

If the wall is damaged, it is up to them to sort out how it is repaired and how it will be paid for.

This could be through their ordinary household insurance, or through the policies registered building firms must have in France.

One of the dangers of paying builders au noir in France is that any work done ‘off the books’ will not be insured, so you could ask, discreetly, if the builders are registered.

A complication might arise if the building work reveals the shared wall is in a bad state – a recent building collapse in Toulouse was put down to an unnoticed underground leak weakening the structure of a shared wall.

If this is the case, you and your neighbour would have to share the cost of repairs. Your insurance companies would no doubt come to an agreement.