What happens when the deed of sale in a property transaction does not reflect the terms agreed in the sale and purchase contract?
The legal formalities of buying and selling property in France are a two-stage process.
It starts with the signing of the sale and purchase agreement (compromis/promesse de vente), which can either take place via the auspices of a notaire or agent, or even between the buyer and seller.
Once the searches carried out by the notaire are completed, and provided all conditions in the sale and purchase agreement have been met, completion takes place through the signing of the acte authentique, the deed of sale.
In a case heard at the Court of Appeal in Nimes, the sellers signed a sale and purchase agreement, with the buyer for the sale of several parcels of land in the parish of Bernis and of Beauvoisin.
The sale price of the land was €655,000.
The sale and purchase agreement was not one drafted and signed through the auspices of a notaire.
Following completion of the searches by the notaire, the parties were invited to their offices to sign the deed of sale.
Despite an eventual formal notice to the buyers to attend the signature, issued by a huissier (official bailiff), they refused to regularise the sale of the land.
Accordingly, the sellers brought a legal action in the local tribunal to enforce the sale, as well as a sum for damages and interest.
The court found in their favour and ordered execution of the sale.
The buyers appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal.
They produced the deed of sale which showed shooting rights granted to the seller which were not in the sale and purchase agreement.
In addition, the sellers also reserved a right of access to an anti-frost wind machine installed on the land, which was not part of the original contract.
They also argued that the sellers had failed to justify that planning permission for gravel extraction activities to be carried out had been obtained, or that it could be obtained.
As a result, the court ordered that the sale be annulled and that no fault be ascribed to the buyer.