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France's loi Carrez – why is it so important?

The loi Carrez – why is it so important (I have only come across this concept in France)? Which areas are counted? 

The 1996 Carrez law obliges sellers of copropriété property (ie. a property, usually a flat, that is part of a larger complex with common areas) to give buyers a certificate detailing the surface area, which is also mentioned in the main sale documents (compromis de vente, acte de vente, etc).

It is advisable to have this established by a diagnostiqueur, who will provide a certificate.

It remains valid unless work has been done changing the surface area.

The law is named after the centre-right MP who championed it, Gilles Carrez, and it included a standardised definition of floorspace.

The superficie Carrez is the total enclosed floor area, not including walls, partitions, staircases and stairwells, piping and electricity conduits and doorways.

Cellars, gardens or terraces, and parking spaces are also excluded, as are enclosed areas less than 1.8m high and rooms less than 8m².

If the floor area is overstated by more than 5%, the buyer has the right, within a year, to demand a pro-rata price reduction. If the floor area is understated, the seller has no recourse.

It does not apply to property that is not yet built (covered by other rules) or detached property, though there is a Civil Code oblig-ation of accuracy if a contract mentions floorspace.

Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats

Tel: 05 61 57 90 86 - -

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