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Business property sale loophole open

Commercial buyers can use a loophole which allows them to pull out of a sale and keep their deposit

COMMERCIAL buyers can use a loophole which allows them to pull out of a sale and keep their deposit despite having already signed the compromis de vente (pre-sale contract) and forcing the seller to accept this or be frozen in a legal battle.

Sellers find themselves with a choice of being unable to buy any other property until the conclusion of a legal process lasting two to three years or letting the matter drop and handing back the deposit.

After the compromis de vente is signed and the deposit has been lodged with the seller’s notaire, the buyer can decide to change their mind by claiming there was an element of fraud in the deal.

In one case highlighted by a reader the buyer was verbally told the property was subject to two syndics and two sets of charges, although this was not written in the contract, and they later used the fact to hold up the sale after changing their mind.

In this case the deposit money sits with the notaire until: The seller agrees to sign a paper to say they renounce the deposit and the buyer says they will take no action over the “fraud” or the seller takes legal action to have a judge decide who should have the money.

As this can take two to three years, and in the meantime the property cannot be sold and the buyer cannot buy another commercial property - but can rent one - invariably the seller is forced to sign and give back the deposit.

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