6. Handover and Delivery of 'Off Plan' French Property
At the stage of delivery the outstanding 5% of the purchase price becomes payable.
If there are non-conformities that are substantial in nature, you are entitled to refuse delivery and withold payment of the outstanding balance of 5%. If the non-conformities are not substantial, you are entitled to accept delivery, but withhold the outstanding payment until the problems have been rectified.
Somewhat strangely, there does seem to be some legal uncertainty as to whether you are entitled to withold the retention in the event of only 'defects' being found.
If you do decide to withold the final payment, then you are required to place it on deposit with the Notaire or with the financial guarantor, pending completion of the works. You cannot hold on to it yourself.
Clearly, if you refuse to handover the outstanding sum this is an important decision in law, leaving you open to an interest charge and to be sued by the developer for non-payment if your claim is not substantiated by a court of law. Indeed, the developer could claim cancellation of the sale and seek damages.
Do not be afraid of standing your ground if you consider you are correct but make sure you have the advice and support of a property professional alongside you.
If you and your advisor are completely dissatisfied with the works then delivery can be refused but you need to be able to justify it.
You should be able to refuse delivery where the property does not conform, in a substantive manner, with the terms of the contract, or there exists one or more defects that render the property incapable of normal occupation.
Where agreement cannot be reached about the works to be carried out then either party would need apply to the Court for a decision. Remember, you have fairly strong contractual and statutory legal support if you are not satisfied with the property.
Next: Index - Buying Off-Plan
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