Each week Sharon Scott of local estate agency 2 Valleys Properties shares a really useful, interesting and helpful guide to ex-pat life in the mountains. You’ll find the full back collection of Sharon’s blogs on our website, and on Sharon’s Facebook page.
This Week – Diagnostics
This week the Friday Freebie covers something I get asked a lot when showing clients round properties for sale. Does the owner have to get a survey done or is it at the buyers expense?
Well here is the full list of the diagnostic reports and surveys that are obligatory for sellers which have to be carried out before a compromis de vente is signed. (the DPE or energy report has to be done when the property is put on the market and made known to all potential buyers) You should see a copy and sign all of the reports below when signing the compromis either at the notaires or at the estate agency.
DPE (Diagnostic Performance Energétique)
- Compulsory for the sale of all houses, studios and apartments
- Identifies the estimated consumption of energy of a building based on the use of electricity (in kWh/m2) represented by a letter from A to G
- Measures the impact of this consumption (greenhouse emissions in KG of CO2/m2) represented by a letter from A to G
- Includes recommendations on how to improve the building in order to reduce consumption and emissions
- Report valid 10 years
- Compulsory for the sale of all houses, studios and apartments that had planning permission prior to 1 July 1997
- Lists any products or materials which contains or risks containing asbestos
- Provides advice regarding safety measures and works to be carried out to eliminate the asbestos from the building
- Valid for life if no asbestos is found
- If the property is rented out it is valid 6 years
- Compulsory for the sale of all houses, studios and apartments built before 1st January 1949
- Does not include pipework, just paint
- Valid for life if no lead detected
- Valid for 1 year otherwise and valid 6 years if property is rented out
- Compulsory for the sale of all houses, studios and apartments for all installations over 15 years old
- Covers all the safety aspects of the electrical installation (trip switches, earth cables etc.)
- Any hidden anomalies (behind walls, panels etc) will not be covered under this report for obvious reasons
Natural risks (Etat des risques Naturels et Technologiques)
- Compulsory for the sale of all houses, studios, apartments or land
- Informs the buyer of any potential natural and man made risks surrounding the property or in the commune: land slides, floods, avalanche risk, factories etc.
- Does not inform the buyer of risks specific to the property
The next list of reports are not always obligatory, it depends on the property and where you are buying.
Termites/Fungal and Insect larvae related damage /Termites/Etat parasitaire)
- Only obligatory in certain areas and not in this area of the Alps.
- Valid 6 months
- Recommended for wooden properties of over 25 years old
Certificate of surface area (Loi Carrez)
- Obligatory for all studios and apartments; individual houses are not included
- Valid for life unless renovations are made which affects the overall surface area of the property
- Measures exactly the properties habitable surface area
- Obligatory for all properties with a gas installation that is over 15 years old
- Identifies any safety issues and specifies their severity
- Valid 3 years
Private waste water drainage and sewage (Assainissement non collectif)
- Obligatory since 1 January 2011 for all properties not linked into the mains drains system
- Identifies whether the properties individual waste water and sewage system (septic tank) is up to date, conforms to current regulations and functions properly
- If the installation is ‘non conform’ then the buyer is informed and has a year following the date after the property is purchased to either get the installation fixed/changed or to link into the main drains if this is a possibility
The only report which is at the expense of the buyer and is not obligatory although recommended when buying an older property (farm or barn) is a structural survey. I often ask a local carpenter or builder to take a look at a property when requested to do so for a client and they usually just charge a small call out fee for a verbal report. A buyer can however pay to get a full survey done with a structural engineer if in doubt.
Be aware that the rules concerning surveys change regularly and so make sure you are up to date with the latest changes/rules when buying a house. When in doubt ask your estate agent or if still in doubt (come on we’re not all bad!) ask the notaire.