|It isn’t within the scope of
our website to offer a definitive guide to the French legal system
and its implications for the property buyer. If you have specific
questions or concerns, we strongly recommend that you take legal
advice from a French lawyer– one thing is certain, anecdotal
opinions enthusiastically offered by well meaning people who have
“been there, seen it done it” is unlikely to be correct
as every case is different…..
Unlike in England, where you can
if you wish do your own conveyancing, in France, the law dictates
that a house purchase must be conducted with the use of a Notaire
(government appointed lawyer).
The Notaires fees are controlled
by the government and are on a sliding scale commensurate with
the price of the property. These are paid by the buyer and are
non negotiable. The notaire is also responsible for the collection
of any taxes and fees from the vendor that are applicable at the
time of the purchase.
It is common practice for one Notaire
to work for both buyer and seller- however you as a buyer can
nominate your own Notaire. The fees are then proportioned between
We work closely with the Notaires
to ensure that your purchase goes as smoothly as possible. The
legal system ensures that the Notaires are thorough and precise,
often to a finite degree.
French inheritance law differs from
that of the UK and we strongly advise that you take advice from
a Notaire, especially if you have children.
The Notaires often ask for quite
detailed information about the buyer and seller, it is not uncommon
to demand copies of divorce papers before a purchase can be completed.
Regardless of what you will have
seen on the endless “dream house abroad” TV programmes,
the legal side of the whole buying process is not normally problematic
and many of our clients are pleasantly surprised at how smoothly
it all runs.
Once you have bought your house, all your activities in France
are governed by French law. You should note that the employment
of Artisans (builders) is strictly controlled and it is illegal
to use unregistered builders either local or from the UK. Spot
checks are made and heavy fines imposed on both the builder and
the property owner if the law is found to be infringed.