Legal Information
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 them.

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.