While in the United States, rare are the houses whose land is delimited by a fence, in France, practically all the pavilions and villas have their garden well closed by a wall, a fence or other fence. Moreover, a property with closed ground will sell much better than another open to all the winds. Are there rules to follow to install a compliant fence, by the way?
Comply with town planning rules
As always when it comes to work, it is better to start by going to the town planning department of your municipality to find out if the installation you are planning is authorized and requires a prior declaration of work. The municipality can regulate, in particular in terms of height, the construction of fences.
In general, the owner is free to enclose his land as long as this does not hinder the proper flow of water or even if it does not obstruct a right of way, for example.
Systematically, a prior declaration of work (CERFA n° 13404*06) will be required if the wall is more than 2 meters high, if the future fence is located in a protected area, on the perimeter of a classified natural site or monument or registered under the Environment Code, in the field of visibility of a historic monument, in an architectural, urban and landscape heritage protection zone or in an area for the enhancement of architecture and heritage, in a sector that the local urban plan (PLU) has delimited as a sector to be protected, or in a municipality which has decided to impose a declaration of works for fence projects.
In the absence of town planning rules imposed by the municipality, article 663 of the Civil Code applies, which requires compliance with the minimum height rule of at least 3.20 meters in height in towns of 50,000 inhabitants and more, or 2.60 meters in height in other cities.
If your house is located in a housing estate, you will also have to respect the specifications that it imposes in terms of materials used, height, color, appearance, etc.
Respect the neighbors
The fence must be installed on your property, but it must not encroach on that of your neighbor and not be installed in the middle of the line separating the two properties. Otherwise, your neighbor will be entitled to have you demolish or remove this fence, by taking the matter to court before the High Court. Be that as it may, your neighbor cannot question the construction of your fence as long as it is on your land: for example, if you have fixed a wooden palisade on the edge of your land to isolate you from your neighbour’s eyes, the latter cannot ask you to change it for an aluminum fence on the pretext that he prefers this material
The municipality can also impose distances to be respected vis-à-vis public roads (paths, etc.).
If you get on well with your neighbor and you agree to erect a fence wall between your respective lots, then it will be a joint fence governed by articles 653, 654, 661 and 663 of the civil code. This specific form of co-ownership imposes rights and duties, in particular maintenance of the wall.
All these regulations concern fences, whatever the materials used, whether walls, wire netting, grating, solid or slatted palisade, gate, door, trellis, stakes, barbed wire, harrows, etc.