Habitat threatening ruin (at risk)

Verified 10 February 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

If a building or dwelling poses a danger to the safety of its occupants or the neighborhood, the mayor may initiate a hazard procedure. Depending on the urgency, certain measures can be taken (evacuation, demolition,...).

The building is considered at risk if it is in one of the following situations:

  • Walls, buildings or buildings do not offer the guarantees of solidity necessary to maintain the safety of the occupants and third parties
  • The common equipment of a residential complex is defective or not maintained and creates serious risks for the occupants or third parties or seriously compromises their living conditions or conditions of use
  • Explosive or flammable materials are stored in breach of safety regulations in a room adjacent to or included in a public residential complex or create serious risks to the safety of occupants or third parties

Anyone who has knowledge of facts revealing a situation of danger must report them to the mayor by all means.

Who shall I contact

The mayor may make such visits as he or she considers useful in assessing the risks.

Site visits can only be made between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

A report from municipal or intermunicipal services must determine whether or not there is a danger.

In light of this report, the mayor may decide to issue a safety order.

When the situation is urgent, the mayor can ask the administrative court for the appointment of an expert to examine the housing or building. This expert takes stock of their condition and proposes measures to put an end to the danger. In this case, municipal or intermunicipal services do not have to recognize the danger.

The expert must give his opinion within 24 hours of his appointment.

The safety order is issued at the end of a contradictory procedure with the owner or the trustee if it concerns common areas of a condominium. This procedure consists of the owner or trustee explaining the situation of danger and knowing the future peril procedure. The liquidator must immediately inform the co-owners by any means of the existence of this procedure.

In the event of an imminent danger, manifest or ascertained by the report of the municipal services or by the expert appointed, the mayor shall, by an order made without prior adversarial procedure, order the necessary measures to put an end to this danger.

The safety order shall order one or more of the following measures to be carried out within a period to be fixed by the safety order:

  • Repair or other remedial action (including to maintain the soundness of adjacent buildings)
  • Demolition of all or part of the building or installation
  • Termination of the provision of the premises or installation for housing purposes
  • Prohibition of temporary or permanent residence, use or access

The order states that in the event of non-compliance within the prescribed period, the owner or trustee will have to pay a penalty payment per day late. The order must also specify that the work may be carried out ex officio at the expense of the owner or trustee.

The order is notified to the owner or the liquidator. It is also notified to the occupants.

If the address of the persons concerned is not known, or if it is impossible to identify them, the notification is made by posting to the town hall and on the facade of the building.

In Paris, Marseille and Lyon, the display is made at the city hall of the arrondissement where the building is located and on the facade of the building.

The City Hall shall declare the completion of the measures or works ordered, their date of completion and pronounce the release of the order. The decree may also impose a prohibition on living in, using or accessing the premises.

The release order is notified as the safety order.

Where the measures and works ordered have not been carried out within the time limit set, the owner or the liquidator must pay a penalty payment of up to €1,000 per day late.

The amount shall be fixed by decree taking into account the extent of the measures and works ordered and the consequences of non-execution of the latter.

The periodic penalty payment shall begin on the date of notification of the order imposing it and until all the measures and work ordered have been carried out.

The owner or trustee must inform the mayor of the completion of the measures and works, preferably by registered letter with notice of receipt.

Where the measures and works ordered have not been implemented within the time limit set, the mayor may, at the expense of the owner or the liquidator, have them carried out of his own motion.

The mayor may take any measure necessary for the execution.

He may demolish the dwelling or the building at the request of the President of the Judicial Court.

If the safety order is supplemented by a temporary ban on living, or if the work makes the premises temporarily uninhabitable, the owner or trustee must provide accommodation for the occupants.

If the decree orders a permanent ban on living or the cessation of the making available of premises for housing purposes, the owner or trustee must ensure the relocation of the occupants.

The order specifies the effective date of the prohibition.

As of the notification of the decree, vacant (empty) premises may not be rented, made available or occupied for any use whatsoever.

If a release order is issued, all of these provisions cease to apply.

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