Challenge of a city planning authorization

Verified 18 August 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Your neighbor has just obtained a city planning authorization (building, demolition, development or non-opposition to prior declaration). You are bothered by the building project and you feel that it does not comply with the city planning rules. Can you challenge this permission? What are the possible remedies?

Please note

If you are the applicant for the city planning authorization and wish to appeal against the decision to refuse the authorization, the procedure is different (building permit, prior declaration of works...).

To challenge a city planning authorization granted to your neighbor, you must have an interest in acting. You must prove that the authorized construction or development has a direct impact on the conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment of the property you occupy or hold. The same applies to a property for which you have a promise to sell, a lease, or a contract to sell a building to be built.

The judge appreciates your interest in acting on the date the permit application is posted in town hall.

You must prove that your neighbor's project is harming you by providing, for example, photographs or certificates in support of your demonstration.

If you don't prove that you're interested, you could be fined €10,000. If your appeal is detrimental to him, the authorization holder may also ask the administrative tribunal damages for abusive behavior.


Your conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment must be affected by the project itself and not by the nuisance caused by the work.

The ex gratia remedy is a friendly procedure that allows you to appeal to the mayor who issued the authorization to ask him to annul his decision. It suspends the 2-month period to bring legal action.

You must make your appeal within 2 months from 1er day of the display of the authorization in the field.

Please note

If the permit is not posted in the field, it can be challenged for 6 months after the completion of the work.

You must write your appeal on open paper and send it by letter RAR: titleContent. You can use a mail template:

Exercise an ex gratia challenge to a neighbor's city planning authorization

The mayor has 2 months to cancel the city planning authorization or reject your application. If you don't get an answer, your application is rejected.

You then have 2 months to file a contentious appeal before the administrative tribunal. This period starts when you receive the rejection decision or, if you have not received a reply from the mayor, from the end of the 2 months allotted to him to reply to you.

You must inform the authorization holder of your appeal. This notification must be sent by letter RAR: titleContent within 15 free days from the filing of your appeal to the city hall. It must include a copy of the full text of the action. If you do not send it, the administrative tribunal will not take into account the litigation remedy you may file afterwards.

If you believe that the license does not comply with the city planning rules, you must to refer the matter to the administrative judge to ask him to cancel the city planning authorization. There is no obligation to have a lawyer.

You have to go to the administrative tribunal within 2 months from 1er day of the display of the authorization in the field.

Please note

If the permit is not posted in the field, it can be challenged for 6 months after the completion of the work.

You can also go to court within 2 months of the rejection of your gracious appeal to the city council.

You must bring an action before the court within whose jurisdiction the project for which the authorization you are contesting was granted is located:

Who shall I contact

In drafting your appeal, you must justify your interest in bringing proceedings, by describing the elements of the project that affect the conditions of occupation, enjoyment or use of your property.

You attach to your appeal the order of the contested authorization (building permit, no opposition to prior declaration...). You must also attach to your appeal any act establishing the lawful occupation or holding of your property (title, promise of sale, lease).

Within 15 free days as of the filing of your appeal, you must notify the authorization holder and the city hall. To do so, you send him a copy of the full text of the appeal by letter RAR: titleContent.


Construction work may continue throughout the duration of the legal action. To suspend the proceedings until the judgment, you must also request a interim suspension before the Administrative Court. This must be justified by an emergency situation.

The administrative judge may decide tocancel authorization city planning.

If the work has not begun, it may also partially cancel the permit when the illegality relates to a part of the project and it can be regularized with amending permit. For example, it may be the slope of a roof or the color of a façade.

The judge then sets a time limit within which the holder of the authorization may request regularization through a amending permit.

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