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Buying a home in France: Electricity report is for buyer to deal with

Electrical anomalies are not always serious but it is best to be transparent with the buyer

Electrical diagnostics are obligatory for sales where the power installation is over 15 years old Pic: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

Reader question: If our electricity diagnostic during our house sale in France throws up anomalies, are we responsible if something happens later to the buyer? G.R.

No, you are not, but you should tell the buyer before the sale what is in the report and, if dangers are signalled, what should be done to remove the danger.

Electrical diagnostics are obligatory for sales where the power installation is over 15 years old. Le diagnostic électrique obligatoire is part of the diagnostic technique supplied in advance by the seller or landlord to buyers or renters.

An electrician certified by a comité français d’accréditation (Cofrac) body, will work from the meter and look at wiring, including the junction box to each light or plug socket. 

Only visible parts are inspected - wires in insulation or hidden in walls are not examined.

It includes fixed appliances, such as water heaters and wired-in-radiators, but not appliances with a plug.

Anomalies are common, as rules changed over the years, but not all are dangerous.

Landlords cannot let a property with an earth wire missing or with bare electric wires as it is not considered ‘decent’, but sellers are under no such obligation.

Prices vary, but Internet searches had a range from €90 to €150, paid for by the seller. Certificates are valid for three years.

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