Guide to Selling Property in France

5. Statutory Surveys

As part of the sale process the seller is required to arrange for a number of surveys and reports to be prepared on the property.

These surveys are called the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT).

When completed they are attached to the sale and purchase agreement.

Note, however, that the survey on energy performance needs to be carried out prior to advertising of the property, so you may wish to consider undertaking all surveys at this time.

The only difficulty with this approach is that two of the reports (which are not required in all cases) only have a period of validity of six months. Accordingly, if you sell after the date of their expiry, you will need to have the two surveys undertaken a second time.

The cost of these surveys is at the charge of the seller, although the cost is a deductible from any liability to capital gains tax.

It is imperative these surveys are carried out, failing which the buyer can later withdraw from the sale, or can seek a lower purchase price.

Make sure that whomever you organise to undertake the surveys has a Comité d’accreditation français (COFRAC) accreditation.

The main surveys that are now in operation are as follows:

  1. Asbestos
  2. Lead
  3. Termites
  4. Energy Efficiency
  5. Natural or Industrial Risks
  6. Gas Installations
  7. Electrical Wiring
  8. Septic Tanks
  9. Radon
  10. Soil Survey

1. Asbestos Survey

A report on the presence or otherwise, of products or materials containing asbestos, called amiante. Which must be undertaken for any property granted planning permission earlier than 1st July 1997. The period of the validity of the report is not regulated.

2. Lead Survey

A report on the presence, or otherwise, of paintwork (not lead piping) that contains lead, in a report called the constat de risque d'exposition au plomb - CREP. This survey applies to all properties built before 1949.

The report cannot be dated earlier than one year from sale completion. If lead is not found to be present, or to be so low as to not be a risk to health, then no further survey is necessary on a subsequent sale of the property.

3. Termites Survey

A report on the presence, or otherwise, of termites (termites) and other similar destructive pests in the property.

The survey is called the état des risques parasitaires.

It is only required within designated areas of the country. The local mairie will be able to advise you whether the property is located in one of these areas.

If a survey is required, then it cannot be dated earlier than six months from the sale contract.

4. Energy Efficiency

A report on the energy performance (Diagnostic de Performance Energétique - DPE), of the property is required.

The report has only informative value, so cannot be used by the buyer as a reason to withdraw from the contract.

The period of validity of the report is ten years.

Where the dwelling is classed F or G in the survey, from September 2022 sellers will need to have an energy audit undertaken. It will apply to class D from 2025.

5. Natural or Industrial Risks

A report on any natural or industrial risks, called risques naturels ou technologiques, to which the property may be prone, together with a declaration by the seller on any previous insurance claim(s) on the property relating to a natural disaster.

The report is required in those communes where there a risk prevention plan (un plan de prévention des risques naturels) in place, or in those areas classified as at risk of seismic movement.

The report cannot be dated more than six months prior to the signing of the sale contract, and must be updated if there has been a change in the designation of the area prior to completion.

The seller must also state separately whether they have previously received compensation from their insurer on a claim resulting from a natural or ‘technological’ disaster on the property, e.g. claim for subsidence, flooding, or storm damage.

6. Gas Installations

A report on a natural gas installation (installations de gaz) in the property. It applies to those properties where the gas installation has been installed for at least fifteen years.

The period of validity of the report is three years.

7. Electrical Wiring

A report on the condition of the electricity supply in the property, where the wiring is over 15 years old. A survey is valid for three years.

No survey is necessary where a certificat de conformité can be produced as evidence that the property complies with the regulations, provided the certificate is less than three years old.

8. Septic Tank Survey

A report on the condition of a septic tank, for those properties which do not have mains drainage.

If the survey establishes that the septic tank does not comply, the new owners are required to bring it up to a compliance standard within a year.

In practice, it is unlikely local councils will all be equally vociferous in ensuring that either the sellers or the new owners carry out the work. There are actually no sanctions for non-compliance.

However, the fact that they might is going to be a factor that new owners will need to take into consideration in the purchase price they pay for the property. It will certainly make a strong negotiating point for many buyers.

The cost of a new septic tank installation varies by type and size of installation, but can be anything from between €5000 and €15,000.

5.1.9. Radon

In those areas covered by a plan de prévention des risques or an area where, as defined by regulation, a potential radon risk is present, the buyer must be informed of the existence of the risk. This requirement has been in place since 1st July 2018.

5.1.10. Soil Survey

In relation to the sale of building land there is a requirement for a geotechnical study (étude géotechnique) to be carried out, but only in those areas considered of moderate or high risk from ground movement.

Strictly speaking, this report does not form part of a DDT because the sale of land is treated separately.

An interactive map of the zones can be found at Carte Argilles.

Next: Sale and Purchase Contract

Back: Offer and Acceptance

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