Diagnosing Your French Property Investment
Volume XV, Issue 16
One question our North American clients ask frequently when setting out to purchase a property in France is: “Is there an inspection of the property done in advance of the purchase like we do in the U.S.?”
The answer is, “no,” but instead a recent technical diagnostics must be performed and provided by the seller or landlord to the buyer or renter of any mixed-use residence or commercial space (not single family home), by law. These diagnostics include the following:
* Energy performance
* Risk of exposure to lead
* State of asbestos
* Status of Termites
* Status of internal gas installation
* Status of indoor electrical installation
* Status of the non-collective sanitation facility
* State of natural, mining and technological risks
* Measure of the habitable surface
The single file that is provided is called the “Dossier de Diagnostic Technique” or DDT. A certified professional performs the diagnostics and is insured for his responsibility.
The DDT assesses the presence of materials or products containing asbestos, the risk of exposure to lead, the presence of termites, natural and technological hazards, energy performance, gas installations, control of the electrical installation, and control of non-collective sanitation facilities (septic tanks and others) when the dwelling is not connected to the sewer.
If you are the seller, the the cost of establishing the technical diagnostic file is at your expense. The technician must provide you with a certificate.
If you are the buyer, you have every interest to benefit from the widest possible information in order not to be deceived about the characteristics of the property that you plan to purchase. These diagnoses allow the buyer to get a better idea of his investment, its qualities and his defects. Non-disclosure of any defects is considered a “vice caché” or “hidden defect” for which the seller can be held responsible.
Since January 1 of this year, a global technical diagnosis (DTG) became mandatory for all buildings (with partial or total residential destination) of more than 10 years which are subject to a co-ownership (creation of the apartment group), or which are the subject of a procedure for insalubrity and for which the administration asks the trustee to produce a DTG. Nevertheless, the law stipulates that all apartment buildings must put a DTG to the vote of the copropriété.
In addition to the DDT report, the seller must provide the documents and information related to the apartment building:
– the bylaws (règlement de copropriété), as well as all acts modifying it if they have been published,
– the description of the division of all lots and all acts modifying it if they have been published,
– the minutes of the general assemblies of the last three years,
– the maintenance record of the building issued by the syndic (management company),
– the amount of current expenses (water, electricity, etc.) the estimated budget for the two financial years preceding the sale,
– the amount of expenses outside the budget (works) for the two financial years preceding the sale,
– the amount of the share of the fund related to the principal lot sold and the amount of the last contribution paid by the vendor in respect to the lot sold,
– the sums which may remain owed by him to the syndicate of co-owners,
– the sums which shall be due to the syndicate by the purchaser,
– the overall statement of the delinquencies of the co-ownership,
– the debt of the syndicate of co-owners vis-à-vis the suppliers.
This is a big reason that it takes the Notaires time to gather the documents in advance of the pre-sale agreement being signed. It is your right and duty to review all the documents and ask questions to insure that you’re making a good investment. Of course, all these documents are in French! And even for a native French speaker, they are not so simple to read and dissect. Be sure to work with your property consultant or Notaire to understand them.
Of course, should you wish to hire an inspector, that is certainly your prerogative, but at your own expense. And a property is sold AS IS, meaning the seller has no obligation to make any repairs to the property in advance of your purchase.
If you wish assistance on a property you intend to purchase or sell, do not hesitate to ask us about our “Purchase Assistance” or “Sales Assistance” service. See our Consultation page for more information.
The Adrian Leeds Group
Respond to Adrian:
P.S. If you skimmed past our ad for the North American Financial Forum in Paris at the top of this newsletter, you’ll find all the details on our Conferences and Workshops page. Be sure to check it out!
P.P.S. Don’t forget to set your DVR for another episode of House Hunters International, “Two Bedrooms in Paris.” It airs TONIGHT and tomorrow morning. Details below.