Home Properties Rentals Guides to France Services Directory French News
Log-in | Register



pointerGuides to France
Property in France
Buying property in France
Buying off-plan in France
French property auctions
SCI Ownership
French property rights
Renting property in France
Selling property in France
Building & Renovation
Building a house in France
French planning system
Property renovation in France
French property rights
French Mobile Homes
Work & Business
Business in France
Micro Entrepreneur
Letting property in France
French Unemployment Benefits
Money & Taxation
Banking in France
French mortgages
Currency Exchange
Taxes in France
French inheritance
French home insurance
Living in France
French healthcare
French schools
French universities
Driving in France
French utilities
pointerFrance Info & News
France Information
French Houses Architecture
French Mortgage Calculator
French Property Prices
News from France
French Legal Terms
Housing & Building Terms
Clothing Sizes Conversion
Metric & Imperial Conversion
Living in France
French Newspapers
Driving in France
French Public Holidays
Sporting Events in France
Shopping in France
French TV Channels
Taste France
Food in France
French Food Glossary
French Wine Regions
Wine Vintage Tables
Aperitifs Drinks in France
French Digestive Drinks
Restaurants in France
pointerUseful Links

pointerHelpful Links
Community and News
French Property Newsletter
Newsletter Sign-up
France Services Directory
Metric Unit Conversion
French Health Insurance
Business Opportunities
Property and Finance
French Mortgages
French Planning
French Property Mortgages
Transfer Money to France
Find a property in France today!


Glossary of French Legal Terms

This glossary contains all of the French legal terms mainly used when purchasing a property within France, they may be of use to you if you happen to be in communication with an agent or a notaire who does not speak much English or a legal document written in French.

Please consult our new Guides section: Guide to buying property and living in France



acompte - deposit, sum paid in advance (a certain percentage of the purchase price)
achat - a purchase
acquéreur - purchaser
acte authentique - legal paper drawn up (with all due formalities), by a public officer empowered by law (e.g. a notaire) in the place where he officiates
acte sous seing privé - private agreement in writing with no witnesses (the pre-sale agreement)
acte de vente - a conveyance or transfer of land (sometimes referred to as acte d'achat)
actif - In an estate, the gross assets of a deceased person. In a balance sheet, the assets side.
agence immobilière - estate agent
agios - bank charges after an overdraft
agrément à l'amiable
arrhes - sum paid in advance by the purchaser, forfeited if purchaser withdraws or double the amount refunded if the vendor withdraws
assurance décès - life insurance
assurance décès, invalidité et en général et incapacité - insurance covering death, invalidity and incapacity
attestation d'acquisition - a notarial certificate that the property purchase has been completed
attestation de conformité aux règles de sécurité - certificate of security standards
attestation de propriété - proof of ownership of a property
attribution de juridiction - formal signing of a purchase contract
authentique - document authorised by a notaire
autorisation de prélèvement automatique - direct debit
autorisation provisoire de travail - temporary work permit


bail - lease to tenant
bail commercial - commercial lease
bailleur - landlord
banque de consignation - the bank where the notaire places the deposits, with no interest accruing to either party or the notaire


cadastre - local town planning register recording details of land-holdings
carte bleue - debit card
carte professionnelle - granted by the Préfecture to estate agents to carry out business
carte de crédit - credit card
carte d'identité - identity card
carte de retrait - cash card
carte de commerçant étranger - foreign resident business permit
carte de séjour - government permit to reside in France (also called permis de sejour)
caution - security deposit/guarantee
centre des impôts - tax office
certificat d'urbanisme - zoning certificate (equivalent to a local authority search)
cession - transfer of ownership or rights
chèque - cheque
chéquier - cheque book
charges - maintenance charges on a property (e.g. water, electricity)
clause particulière - special condition
clause pénale - penalty clause governing performance of an agreement
clause suspensive - a conditional clause in a contract that must be met in order for the sale to reach completion
code du travail - French employment law
commission comprise (C/C) - agency commission included
commission non comprise - agency commission not included
code du travail - French employment law
communauté - joint estate of a husband and wife
compromis de vente - contract for sale and purchase of land
comptable - accountant
comptant - cash purchase
compte à terme - deposit account
compte courant - current account
compte joint - joint account
compte séquestre - deposit help in a special escrow account pending fulfilment of certain conditions
conditions particulières - special conditions
conditions suspensives - conditional terms stated in the pre-sale agreement (e.g. the acquiring of a loan, the gaining of a positive zoning certificate)
conseiller fiscal - tax advisor
conseiller juridique - professional legal advisor
conservation des hypothèques - mortgage/ land registry
constat d'huissier - factual statement prepared by a bailiff which is irrefutable in court
constructible - land which is designated for building under local planning scheme
contrat à durée indéterminée (CDI) - employment contract of unspecified duration
contrat à durée déterminée (CDD) - employment contract of a specified duration
contrat de réservation - the purchase contract used for purchase "on plan" (sometimes called contract préliminaire)
contrat préliminaire - preliminary contract
convention - agreement
convention collective - sector specific collective agreement on employment relations
contrat de prêt - mortgage contract
copropriété - co-ownership


date de livraison prévue - expected date of completion
décennale - 10 year warranty provided by artisan
déclaration de sincérité - compulsory formula providing that the purchase price has not been increased by a counter-deed
département - administrative area within a region
dépôt de garantie - deposit paid when renting or buying a property
devis - written quotation
direction départmentale de l'équipement (DDE) - departmental surveyors, land planning and public works department
domicile fiscal - main residence for tax purposes
droit de passage - right of way
droit de préemption - pre-emptive right to acquire the property instead of purchaser
droit de succession/ donation - inheritance/ gift tax
droits d'enregistrement - stamp duty paid by the purchaser
durée - duration of mortgage


EDF/GDF - The state utilities: Electricité de France, Gaz de France
emoluments - the scale of charges of the notaire
enregistrement (droits d') - registration of the title of ownership (following of which are the payment of transfer duties)
état des lieux - schedule of condition or schedule of delapidations depending on whether it applies to the beginning or end of a lease
expédition - the certified copy of a notarial document showing the date of its registration and the registration duty paid
expert comptable - chartered accountant
expert foncier - professional to check on the state and value of the property (usually an architect)
expertiser - to value a property


FNAIM - Federation Nationale des Agents Immobilier - national association of estate agents, providing a compensation fund for defaulting agents
fonds de roulement - capital supplied by all flat-owners, in an appartment block, on top of service charges to meet unexpected liabilities
frais de notaire - total sum of money to be paid to the notaire on top of the sale price (includes, notaire fee, registration duty, land registration duty and other charges)


géomètre - surveyor appointed by the notaire to certify the dimensions of the property according to the cadastre


HT - hors taxe - not including sales tax
hussier - has many official duties, including baliff and process server; is used to record evidence (for example on the state of property) where legal proceedings are considered
hypothèque - mortgage - where the property is used as security for the loan


agent immobilier - real estate agent
indivision - joint-ownership


jouissance - right of possesion which must occur simultaneously with the transfer of ownership



location - renting (tenancy)
loi scrivener - the law protecting borrowers from French lenders and sellers on French property purchases in all cases other than a purchase on plan
lots - land registry plots applied in appartment blocks
"lu et approuvé", "bon pour achat" - phrases written accompanying signature of contract ("read and approved", "good for acquisition")


mairie - town hall
mandat de recherche - private agreement giving power to estate agent to look for property
marchand de biens - real estate dealer
monuments historiques - listed buildings


nue-propriété - reversionary interest where the purchaser has no occupational rights over the property until the death or prior surrender of the life tenant


occupation - occupant of the premises (either tenant or occupant without good title)
offre d'achat/de vente - an offer to buy or sell property which is not itself a binding contract


paiment comptant - cash payment
parties communes - common parts of buildings
parties privatives - parts of the building restricted to the private use of the owner
permis de construire - planning permission
plan de financement - financing scheme
plus-value - capital gain realised on the sale of the property
prélèvement - direct debit



rejeter - to bounce a cheque
réservation - the deposit paid in a contract de réservation
réservation, contrat de - type of contract for the purchase of property état de achèvement futur
résiliation - cancellation of a contract


SAFER - local government organisation supposed to ensure the proper use of agricultural land, sometimes they will hold pre-emptive rights to buy land
securité sociale - French national health system
société - legally registered company


TTC - toutes taxes comprise - including sales tax
TVA - taxe sur la valeur ajoutée - value added tax
tantiéme - proportion of of the common parts of a copropriété owned jointly with other appartment owners
taxe d'habitation - rate levied on the occupation of property
taxe fonciére - local tax on the ownership of property
testament - a will
timbre fiscal - some official documents (e.g. applications for the carte de sejour) carry a revenue stamp
tontine - joint ownership
troisième age - senior citizens (old age pensioners)







Top of the page

Couldn't find what you are looking for? Search again now!
Custom Search

The Guides to France are published for general information only.
Please visit our Disclaimer for full details.


AdvertisingLinksHelpInfoContact UsFrance InformationRegionsVersion FrancaiseForums

Copyright © French-Property.com | Property in France | Rentals France