New legal obligation for many French property owners on way

Potential buyers must be made aware of the risk of forest fire to the property and commune

Undergrowth fire in Aubais, Gard, France in 2022 - new property obligations in france
New land clearance rules were introduced after the particularly devastating fires of 2022 (here in Aubais, Gard)
Published Last updated

Many people selling or letting property in France will face a new administrative charge from 2025 - to make potential buyers or renters aware of any risk posed to the property and commune by forest fires. 

This new obligation will apply to all homes in areas with a land clearance obligation due to fire risk and takes effect from the buyer’s first visit to the property and to all real estate postings.

All property available for sale or renting in France is required to have a diagnostic immobilier, or real estate assessment that interested parties can consult from their first visit.

This document, which must also be joined to all sales agreements, includes the risk exposure assessment of the home to “natural and technological risks” including earthquakes, radon gas and floods.

This assessment is typically undertaken at the same time as the DPE energy assessment, however homeowners can find the information themselves here.

Read more: Four factors that can lower the value of French property 

From January 1, 2025, the diagnostic immobilier will also have to include the risk of fire to the individual property and in the commune as assessed by the government risk assessment website

Any risks noted on for either the individual property, as indicated for its number in the cadastre or land registry, or for the commune will have to be made clear to the potential buyer or renter, along with the phrase:

Les informations sur les risques auxquels ce bien est exposé sont disponibles sur le site Géorisques - “the risk assessment information for this property is available on the Géorisques website”.

At present, property owners are only obliged to inform people buying or renting if there is a legal obligation to clear the land.

Why is fire risk being added to the diagnostic immobilier?

In the past 15 years, there have been on average 15,000 wildfires each year, 90% of which are of human origin.

However, 2022 was a particularly disastrous year, with a total of 19,821 fires burning 72,000ha across the country.

This spurred the government to introduce a range of measures in an attempt to prevent it from happening again, including extending and strengthening the legal obligation to clear land in at-risk areas with a wide-reaching decree in July 2023.

Read more: Land clearance in France: rules, fines and tax credits for garden work 

In line with this law, those with property in these areas are required to clear the land of excess vegetation for at least 50m around their property and 10m on either side of roads or private access roads.

This includes areas that they do not own, such as adjoining fields. Landowners cannot prevent them from accessing the area to do this work and if they do refuse it is their responsibility to clear the undergrowth.

The new legal requirement for homeowners to declare the fire risk status of their property in areas with land clearance obligations is an amendment to the 2023 law, added by a decree on April 29, 2024.

From 2025, a new map of areas with land clearance obligations will be available on, along with a national map of at-risk areas from 2026, which will act as a “public utility of ‘danger areas’”, according to the decree.