12. Handover of Property - La Réception
12.1. Handover Process
When the builder has completed construction of your new home you then take delivery (or handover) of the property.
The formal handover of the property is called la réception.
As there may well be difficult judgements to be made the use of an independent building professional (architect, surveyor) to undertake a full inspection of the property is essential.
In the event that you are not happy with the property on handover the builder is unlikely to challenge the opinion of your expert as easily they might your own opinion.
If you are anticipating serious problems the intervention of a huissier (official bailiff) alongside your architect/surveyor might be a wise choice. You should take advice from your professional advisor on this point.
Where the builder/developer is in delay with completion of the works this issue is considered in the French building contract (CCMI).
Sometimes builders offer the services of an expert appointed by them to assist a client on handover if they have no building professional of their own. Resist the temptation to accept such an offer and instead appoint your own.
One other approach sometimes used is for a pre-inspection of the property to be undertaken, during which any problems can be identified and resolved, prior to the formal handover.
At the conclusion of the handover a written report, called procès-verbal, must be completed and signed by all parties.
If an unconditional handover takes place it registers the start of the ten year building guarantee period.
Accordingly, the process is very prescribed in law.
Next: Unconditional Handover
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