Rainwater: what you need to know about the law


The flow and use of rainwater in your property is regulated. Details on these water stories.

Streaming water

When it rains, the water flows on the ground following the natural slope of the land and evacuates to the property below. This servitude results from the disposition of the places, and the neighbor, even if he is dissatisfied, is compelled to support this natural flow. This is specified in Article 640 of the Civil Code. However, it is forbidden to disturb the natural flow. And the work that would lead to a worsening of the situation of the one who undergoes this servitude of natural flow is prohibited. This is the case if the neighbor builds a wall as a fence, blocking the evacuation of water, and thus causes the flooding of your land. Likewise, you are not allowed to concentrate this flow at one point, creating a devastating torrent ...
Note: there is no question of polluting the neighboring land with household water, or even less to discharge polluted water, foul or unhealthy.

The water we use

Article 641 gives the right to any owner "to use and dispose" of rainwater falling in his garden. So you can let it freely at your neighbor's house, but you can also use it to water your plants or wash your car.
It is entirely possible for you to collect water from the roofs, store it and then use it to water your flowerbeds. A house of 100 m2 on the ground can recover between 50 and 70 m3 of water per year depending on the region, which represents a significant savings. Watering a garden of less than 50 m2 consumes a volume of water ranging from 150 to 500 liters. To water the garden and wash the car, it takes 1,500 to 3,000 liters, and if you want to feed your toilet and the washing machine, plan a storage of 6,000 to 9,000 liters. There is a range of rainwater collectors in specialized superstores, from the plastic tank to be connected to the gutter, to fully equipped burial storage kits (filters, pumps, overflows).
Tax credit: from January 1, 2007 until December 31, 2009, the expenses incurred for the purchase of rainwater recovery equipment, excluding work, allow for a tax credit equal to 25% of the cost of the equipment, capped at € 8,000 for a single person, € 16,000 for a couple and € 400 additional per dependent (general tax code, article 200c). The order of 4 May 2007 lists the equipment concerned and specifies that these provisions only concern the use of non-residential rainwater.

The water that dries

What happens to the water that falls on your roof? Several situations are possible. Your pavilion is built in the middle of the field: you can let this water drip on the ground without any other precaution. The neighbor can not protest if the water then flows on the ground naturally at home.
The construction is adjacent to a road: when the slope of the roof leads the water towards the road, there is no possible dispute.
Your house is built on the edge of the neighboring property: you can not let the water falling from the roof flood the neighbor's land. You are then required to capture it by means of gutters to guide it directly in your garden. It is in this case a "sewer servitude roofs", and the use of such gutters is mandatory.

Beware of the gutters!

When installing gutters to collect rainwater, they should not overhang the neighbor's lot. He would then be entitled to ask you to move it, even if you have to modify your roof. However, it is possible that a "servitude of overhang" is put in place, forcing the neighbor to support your invasive gutter.
By a written act: the two neighbors may agree to an overflow of gutters by an act signed under private or notary.
By prescription thirty years: if for more than thirty years you have left the gutter of the neighbor encroach on your territory, you will no longer have the possibility to protest.
By destination of the father: if, in the case of a division of his property with a view to his succession, an owner divides his land into several lots, thus passing the limits without taking into account the gutter overflows, the heirs must to bear the consequences.