Did you know? Surveys are all but unknown in France

A new series of extracts from the new Moving to and Living in France Guide 2018 1. What the seller must show...

House surveys, as in the UK, are all but unknown in France where there is no profession of surveyor but sellers must pay for and provide the results to a range of surveys on different aspects of the property, known as diagnostics.

These are concerned with a property’s health and safety aspects and not a ‘full structural survey’, as is typical in the UK.

The results do not prevent someone from selling, but may be used for price negotiations.

The reports should cover any potential areas of concern as the buyer can make a later claim against the seller for hidden problems.

A buyer who wants a full structural survey must organise and pay for an architect or other qualified person to do this.

The reports are:

  • Energy performance diagnostic, DPE. Estimates the property’s energy consumption and should be published with the property advert.
  • Loi Carrez – the official measurements of a property’s private space, so can include attic grenier space, but not cave.
  • Survey of natural disaster, mining and technology/industrial risks (ERNMT).
  • Presence of lead (plomb).
  • Presence of asbestos (amiante).
  • Review of gas installations.
  • Review of electricity installations more than 15 years old.
  • Review of septic tank (assainissement non-collectif), where appropriate.
  • Check for termites (état parasitaire). Only carried out in departments where a risk of termites is present.
  • Check for the presence of fungus in wood (mérule). Not obligatory, but recommended in areas where this is a problem.
  • A report on exposure to electromagnetic waves (including mobile signals) provided by the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (via its site cartoradio.fr) is not obligatory but can provide extra reassurance to the buyer, for example if there is a phone mast nearby.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in the new Moving to and Living in France 2018, written and published in January 2018 by the team behind The Connexion. To read all about house buying - main or second homes - including validity of these diagnostics and other useful points, order your copy here in print or PDF download.

This is the eighth edition of the helpguide and it comprises of 164 pages of essential information covering a wide range of subjects to take you through the basics of the practical side of life in France - whether you are thinking of buying a property and moving to France or you already live here and need to stay informed.