When selling property in France you will need to have various tests done before the compromis is signed.
You are required by law to produce the following reports when your property is sold. These are often referred to in French as “les diagnostics”.
The DPE (Energy Performance Certificate) has to be provided when the property is advertised for sale. The other documents are only required prior to the signing of the compromis, beware of having them prepared too early as the validity varies and you do not want to have to pay twice. In the case of flats, the reports only refer to the privately owned part.
This only needs to be done for buildings built pre-1949. It looks at the presence of lead in paint and wall coverings. It only needs to be redone if the paint has been removed.
This establishes the presence of asbestos in buildings built before 1st July 1997. Again, unless the asbestos has been removed, it does not need to be redone.
Termites must be tested for In zones decided on by the Prefecture. The report is valid for 3 months.
Natural Gas (Gaz Naturel)
A report on the state of the gas installation must be carried out for properties that have had gas for more than 15 years. It is valid for 3 years.
Natural and Technological Risks (Risques Naturelles et Technologiques)
This report must be produced in areas designated as zones at risk from natural or technological causes or where there is a risk of seismic activity. It is valid for 6 months.
Energy Performance Certificate (Performance Energetique)
The DPE is the same as the EPC which is produced in the UK. It is valid for 10 years if nothing has changed.
Electrical Installation (Installation Electrique)
This has to be produced where a property has had electricity for more than 10 years. It is valid for 3 years.
If the seller does not provide any of the above documents before the final sale, he would be responsible for hidden defects. The buyer can therefore demand the cancellation of the sale and the return of the whole purchase price, or a reduction in the purchase price. The only exceptions are the natural and technological risks report, discussed below, and the EPC which is purely advisory.
If the natural and technological risks report is not provided, the buyer can ask a judge to rule that the sale is cancelled or to give a price reduction.
Any tests which are out of date by the time of the signing of the final act of sale must be redone.
Who to use
Look in the local pages jaunes or online, or ask your estate agent for recommendations as to which firm to use. They will be under diagnostics immobiliers.