Can Your Town Hall Force You to Mow Your Lawn? We Answer You

Does the mayor have the right to force you to maintain your garden? Do you have the right to let vegetation grow endlessly on your private land?

It’s spring and the mowing season is open, but some refuse to do so for lack of time or by choice. Can a fallow garden be blamed on you by the town hall and can it oblige you to maintain it? We answer you.

I have been fighting for fifteen years to clean the road where 1,000 sheep pass morning and evening, just in front of the most beautiful view of Mont Saint-Michel, where I own a house. But I refuse to mow the lawn and the surroundings and now the mayor of this town has me clean the ground by his authority of justice and seizes me the cost of this intervention on my retirement…,” tells us a reader from La Manche (50) who wants to know if the mayor is in his right.

So does the mayor have the right to force you to maintain your garden? Do you have the right to let vegetation grow endlessly on your private land? Under what conditions can the mayor exercise his police power? Ouest-France answers you.

A perfectly maintained garden? Not necessarily

In theory, no, dear reader, you don’t have to have a perfectly manicured garden, as long as your neighbours don’t mind. You must therefore, of course, prune the trees planted on your property, since your neighbour may require that you cut the branches that protrude on his property. He doesn’t have the right to do it himself, but he can demand that you do it. If the roots stick out to your neighbours, they have the right to cut them and even ask you for compensation if they have damaged their home.

You are, however, free to not want to mow your land or not to have the time. As long as it does not cause an abnormal disturbance in the neighbourhood, namely that tall grass can attract pests such as rodents or snakes.

The neighbors have the right at that time to contact you and ask you for an amicable solution, or to approach the town hall to find a conciliation and then take legal action to force you to maintain your land.

Harm to the environment?

In Article 544, the French Civil Code specifies that the owner has a right to use, enjoy and dispose of his property unless another law demonstrates a limit. Soil or waterway pollution could be one of these limits. The presence of pests, yet another. So according to the Environmental Code, the mayor can require an owner to remove, for example, waste from his land, even private, even invisible from the public highway if the waste harms environmental health or presents a nuisance to the neighbourhood. He may also require the owner to clear his land.

Read also:  Five tips to easily maintain your garden in the spring

So from the moment, the lack of maintenance of your garden jeopardizes the environment, legally, there is an obligation to maintain your garden. It appears in article L2213-25 of the General Code of Local Authorities: “Failure for the owner or his successors to maintain undeveloped land located within a residential area or at a maximum distance of 50 meters from dwellings, outbuildings, construction sites, workshops or factories belonging to him, the mayor may, for environmental reasons, notify him by decree of the obligation to carry out, at his expense, the work to restore this land after warning. If, on the day indicated by the formal notice, the prescribed land restoration works have not been carried out, the mayor may have them carried out ex officio at the expense of the owner or his assigns. . »

Fire protection?

In certain regions where the risk of fire is high (PACA, Corsica, New Aquitaine, Occitanie), the law obliges the owners to clear the land located near the woods and forests. In this case, article L131-10 of the Forest Code provides a definition:“For the purposes of this Title, clearing means operations to reduce plant fuels of any kind with the aim of reducing the intensity and limiting the spread of fires. These operations ensure a sufficient break in the continuity of the plant cover. They can include the pruning of maintained subjects and the elimination of remnants of cuts. The representative of the State in the department decides on the procedures for implementing brushing according to the nature of the risks. »

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