When a funeral concession deed is signed between a municipality and an individual, the latter undertakes to honor certain obligations. In addition to paying the price of the concession and certain administrative and tax costs, the concessionaire is thus bound by a maintenance obligation.
In order to ensure the decency of the place and the safety of visitors, the town hall can summon the holder of a funeral plot or his heirs to clean a grave when it reaches an unacceptable state of disrepair, or even dangerous. . In the most extreme cases, the municipality can even initiate a recovery procedure for a state of abandonment.
The upkeep of a grave includes of course the cleaning of the tombstone, but also of its surroundings. In anticipation of your visit to the cemetery, you will need to equip yourself with garbage bags, garden scissors for weeds, mild detergents such as black soap, rags, sponges, a soft brush and a bucket. Most cemeteries provide water supply points for their users, but you can provide a container of clean water in case of doubt.
Start by removing the weeds and dead leaves that clutter the area around the grave. Then remove it from all its ornaments, flowerpots and other plaques. To remove traces of moss and other dirt, scrub the stone with black soap with a soft brush before rinsing and polishing with a rag. If the stone is very dirty, you can use a cloth soaked in Spanish white with two drops of turpentine. On the other hand, do not use bleach which, over time, deteriorates the marble. Finish this maintenance session by cleaning all of the burial ornaments with black soap before putting them back in place.
Specialized companies at your service
The cleaning of a grave is therefore above all a matter of elbow grease… and availability. But when you are very busy or live hundreds of kilometers from a loved one’s resting place, it is sometimes difficult to honor this type of obligation. This is also why many families prefer to entrust the maintenance of their concessions to specialized companies.
As part of a burial maintenance contract, they will be responsible for cleaning the tomb, but also for the maintenance of its ornaments and its flowering. Depending on the type of service expected and the frequency of intervention, the price of this service can vary from 70 euros per year for an annual intervention up to 1,500 euros for a bi-monthly cleaning. And to be sure that the work accomplished is up to your expectations, most service providers send you a before / after photo assessment of the burial for which you have entrusted them.
Resumption for abandonment
When a concession is not maintained, the town hall can note this abandonment by report and proceed to its recovery. This exceptional procedure is only used in the most extreme cases, since the law requires that the concession dates back more than thirty years and that the last burial dates back at least ten years.
If this is the case, the family will be notified of the report of abandonment by registered mail and formal notice to proceed with the maintenance of the burial. If, at the end of three years, the concession is still in a state of abandonment, the town hall may then proceed to take over the plot.