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Mortgage status

The mortgage statement is a document indicating the mortgages registered on a property. It is issued by the Land Registry to the person who requests it by means of a Cerfa form.

The notary makes a request for information about the property for which the deed is to be drawn up. If the property is encumbered by a mortgage, it will be necessary to obtain its release before signing the deed.

Condition of the electrical installation

The state of the internal electrical installation is a document, established by a professional diagnostician.

It is provided by the seller, when the property is for residential use and has an electrical installation of more than 15 years.

The diagnostician checks the electrical installation downstream from the general control device and the dwelling, up to the power supply terminals or up to the sockets. He indicates the anomalies of the electrical installation.

The state of the interior installation of electricity also relates to :

  • - the adequacy of fixed equipment to the characteristics of the network,
  • - the conditions of their installation with regard to safety requirements.

The state of the electrical installation is attached to the technical diagnosis file. It is valid for 3 years for sales and 6 years for rentals.

Condition of the gas installation

The state of the interior gas installation is a document, established by a professional diagnostician.

It is provided by the seller, when the property is for residential use and has a gas installation of more than 15 years.

The diagnostician checks, without dismantling elements of the installations :

  • - the heating and hot water production appliances supplied by gas,
  • - the fixed gas pipes and their accessories,
  • - the ventilation of the premises and the evacuation of the combustion products.

The state of the gas installation is attached to the technical diagnosis file. It is valid for 3 years for sales and 6 years for rentals.

Parasitic status

The parasitic state is a real estate diagnosis inserted in the technical diagnosis file.

It must be provided by the seller when the property is located in an area designated by the Prefect as contaminated or likely to be contaminated in the short term.

The parasite report is carried out by a professional diagnostician, who looks for the possible presence of termites in the property sold.

The parasite report must be less than 6 months old at the date of signature of the preliminary sales agreement and the deed of sale.

State of risks and pollution

The state of risks and pollution is a document that lists the natural, technological, mining, seismic risks to which a property (land, building, house ...) is exposed, as well as the risk of radon and pollution of a land.

The state of risks and pollution is provided by the seller or lessor of a property and is included in the technical diagnosis file, which is attached to the lease, or to the promise and to the deed of sale. It must be less than 6 months old.
Since January 1, 2023, the ERP has new characteristics and must be issued to the candidate tenant or buyer on the first visit to the property (see sheet 10-6).

State of the art

The inventory of fixtures is a document, established in the presence of the lessor and the tenant, or their representatives, at the time when the tenant takes possession of the good and at the time when he gives it back. It describes the condition of the property. The comparison of the inventory of fixtures at the beginning and at the end of the rental period makes it possible to prove whether or not the tenant or the landlord has respected his obligations.

If the tenant has caused damage or has not maintained the property properly, it will serve as a basis for deductions from the security deposit.

The inventory of fixtures can be established by a bailiff at the request of a party, or if one refuses to carry out an amicable inventory of fixtures.

It can be carried out by a bailiff if one of the parties opposes its establishment. In this case, the cost will be shared equally between the landlord and the tenant, when the property is a dwelling that is the tenant's principal residence.

Real estate expertise

A real estate expertise consists in assessing the market or rental value of a property. It is a study taking into account financial, technical and legal parameters. The value of the evaluated property is objective and reflects the real estate market at a precise place and time under normal conditions of sale.

Transfer rights

Transfer duties are the taxes to be paid when property is transferred. We speak of transfer duties "for free" when there is a transfer of property without any consideration. This is the case of donations where a donor gives a sum of money to a donee without any consideration for the latter. Transfer taxes are said to be "onerous" when, at the time of a sale, the buyer pays a sum of money agreed upon in return for the property. These taxes are paid when the Cerfa forms are filed (form n° 2048 - IMM for real estate sales, and form n° 2735 for manual donations).

Reflection period

When buying real estate, the buyer benefits from a 10-day cooling-off period, which allows him/her to renounce the sale. This period runs before the conclusion of the deed of sale, if and only if the buyer has not benefited from a cooling-off period when signing the preliminary sales agreement or the promise to sell.

This period benefits any non-professional buyer, for the acquisition of a property for residential use only.


In a life annuity sale, the person who is obligated to pay the annuity to the annuitant at the time of the sale is referred to as the "debirenuer". It is generally the buyer of the property.

Diagnostics immobiliers

In order to inform a buyer or a tenant, the law obliges the seller or the lessor to provide different real estate diagnoses. The diagnoses are gathered in a technical diagnosis file and annexed to the preliminary contract and then to the deed of sale, or to the lease.

The content of the technical diagnosis file depends on the contract concluded (sale or lease), the date of construction of the building, its equipment, and the place where it is located.


Divorce is the rupture of the bond created by marriage. It necessarily results from a court decision.

There are 3 types of divorce:

  • - Divorce by mutual consent: the spouses, if they agree on all aspects of the divorce, prepare, with the help of a lawyer, an agreement that regulates all the effects of the divorce. The agreement is signed after a period of reflection and filed with a notary.
  • - Divorce by judicial mutual consent, when a child of the couple asks to be heard by the judge: the spouses, if they agree on all aspects of the divorce, prepare, with the help of their lawyer(s), an agreement that they present to the judge. The judge will give it binding force and will pronounce the divorce after verifying that both spouses agree to divorce and that their agreements are in the family's best interest.
  • - Other forms of divorce, in which the spouses do not agree on the divorce itself and its effects. The points of disagreement are decided by the judge. Divorce can be requested for 3 reasons: acceptance of the principle of the rupture of the marriage, fault, or definitive alteration of the marital bond. The divorce procedure is presented before the Family Court Judge, who is a judge of the Tribunal de Grande Instance. A lawyer is mandatory.
Last living gift

The donation to the last living person is an act established before a notary. It allows you to leave, at your death, a larger share of your property to the person you are married to.

If you have children or descendants, you can leave to your spouse :

  • - the available portion, that is, the share of your property that you could leave to a third party, and which depends on the number of children you have,
  • - or the usufruct of all your property,
  • - or the ownership of one quarter of your property and the usufruct of the rest.

If you have no children or descendants, you can leave all of your property to your spouse.

Registration fees

These fixed, proportional or progressive duties are paid at the time of the registration of a deed recording a transaction. The registration formality may be compulsory or voluntary, but in all cases it allows to give a certain date to private deeds. They are paid to the tax department.

Declaration of Succession

The declaration of inheritance must be made by the heirs, within 6 months of the death, to the tax department of the deceased person's residence. It is a tax declaration. It is made up of several forms that contain information about the identity of the deceased and his heirs, and details of the deceased's assets. Inheritance tax is, in principle, paid when the inheritance declaration is filed.

Retraction period

When buying real estate, the buyer benefits from a withdrawal period, which allows him to renounce to his purchase, within 10 days.

This period is offered to any non-professional buyer, for the acquisition of a property for residential use only. It runs from the day after the first presentation of the registered letter notifying him of the promise or the preliminary sales agreement, when the notification is made by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

If the promise or the compromise is handed over to the buyer by a real estate agent or a notary, the time limit runs from the day after the date of the handover.

Right of withdrawal

The law allows the non-professional buyer of a property, for residential use, to renounce to his purchase, during a 10 days period.

The non-professional buyer benefits from this right if he concludes a contract:

  • - For the purchase of a property for residential use (house, apartment),
  • - For the construction of a property for residential use (individual house, purchase "off-plan"),
  • - For the construction of a property for residential use (single-family house, purchase "off-plan"), - For the lease-ownership of a property,
  • - Subscription of shares giving right to the allocation of a property for residential use.
  • - For the sale of building land in a subdivision, subject to a development permit, taking the form of a unilateral promise to sell concluded with a developer.
Technical diagnosis file

When selling or renting a property, the seller or lessor provides a technical diagnosis file which gathers the mandatory diagnoses related to the sold or rented property.

The technical diagnosis file is attached :

  • - to the lease, in case of rental,
  • - to the promise to sell and to the notarized deed, in case of sale.

The diagnostics to be provided depend on the type of property sold, its date of construction, the place where it is located...

Decent housing

The landlord must provide the tenant with decent housing, when it is the tenant's principal residence.

Decent housing must not present risks to the health and physical safety of the occupants.

Decent housing is defined by a decree of January 30, 2002, which requires, in particular, that the housing be equipped with :

  • - a main room with either a living area at least equal to 9 m2 with a ceiling height at least equal to 2.20 m, or a living volume equal to at least 20 cubic meters.
  • - an installation allowing a normal heating,
  • - an interior installation of drinking water supply,
  • - a sufficient natural lighting, for the main rooms.

The tenant can obtain from the landlord the compliance of the dwelling, and damages, as well as a suspension or a reduction of the amount of rent until the execution of the necessary work, if the dwelling does not meet the criteria of decency.


The tenant is the person who, in a rental contract, rents a property from the landlord, in exchange for payment of rent.

The rights and obligations of the tenant derive from the contract and the legal provisions in force, depending on the type of lease (residential, commercial or professional).

The term "lessee" also refers to the tenant.

Carrez law

The "Carrez law" is a 1996 law that requires the seller of a condominium lot to inform the buyer of the surface area of the private portions of the lot sold.

This surface must be mentioned in the promise (or compromise) of sale, and in the notarial act.

If the surface area is not mentioned, the buyer can obtain the nullity of the sale, if he acts within one month after the signature of the notarial act.

If there is an error of more than 5% between the actual surface area of the lot and the surface area mentioned in the deed of sale, the buyer may request a reduction in the price, in proportion to the actual surface area of the lot. The buyer has a period of one year to take legal action, after the signing of the deed of sale at the notary's office.

Condominium lot

When a building is subject to the status of co-ownership, the co-ownership lot is made up of a private portion and a share of the common portions of a building.

The property is made up of the sum of all the condominium lots.


Asbestos is a fibrous substance used in industry, and its properties have been exploited in building materials. However, it is carcinogenic. In order to prevent and limit the exposure of people to asbestos, it has been banned in real estate construction. For real estate whose building permit was issued before July 1, 1997, it could be used.

The law imposed a systematic search for asbestos in all buildings other than individual houses. It also organizes the information of buyers and tenants.

In this context, the owner has the obligation to provide a statement mentioning the presence or absence of materials or products containing asbestos, established<bli by an approved diagnostician, when the building permit of the property put up for sale was obtained before July 1, 1997.< />>

Personal contribution

The "personal contribution" is the sum of money that a buyer has, and that he can effectively bring when buying a property. This sum must be available and must be deposited with the notary before the signing of the deed of sale.

Assembly of co-owners

When a building or a complex of buildings is subject to the system of co-ownership, decisions are taken collectively, by the assembly of co-owners, which includes all the owners of the building. The law requires that a meeting be held at least once a year to approve the budget, validate the accounts for the past year, and, if necessary, appoint the managing agent, vote on the execution of works...

Depending on the decision to be taken, the law of 1965 establishes different majorities, ranging from a simple majority of the co-owners present at the meeting, to unanimity. Each owner of a lot has a number of votes proportional to the number of tantièmes (thousandths) defined by the co-ownership rules, and according to the size of his lot.

Act of notoriety

The act of notoriety is established by the notary, at the request of the heirs of a deceased person. It specifies the list of heirs and the share of the estate that should go to them. The notary draws up the deed of notoriety on the basis of the death certificate and supporting documents provided to him or requested by him: family record book, civil status documents, etc. He then asks the heirs to affirm the sincerity of the statements contained in the deed.

The cost of a deed of notoriety is set by the public authority at €57.69 (€69.23 including VAT) (as of May 1, 2016).

Banks, insurance companies, the employer of the deceased, and more generally any public or private institution will request communication of the deed of notoriety in support of the heirs' requests.

Individual sanitation

Sanitation is the system for the disposal of wastewater and stormwater. It must be in conformity with the needs of public health and the environment.

The individual sanitation installation must be present for any building which is not connected to the collective sanitation. This installation must be in conformity with the standards in force.

The non-collective sanitation system must be checked periodically. And, at the time of the sale of the property, the report of visit of the non collective sanitation is part of the obligatory technical diagnoses.

Collective sanitation

Sanitation is the system for the disposal of wastewater and stormwater. It must comply with the needs of public health and the environment.

We speak of collective sanitation when the commune has created a collection network for wastewater and, possibly, rainwater. The communes or parts of communes that are part of areas with at least 2,000 inhabitants and that contain a sufficient density of economic activities and population are obliged to set up a collective sanitation system.

Down payment

The deposit is a part of the sale price, which is paid by the buyer when signing a preliminary contract (promise of sale or compromise).

Traditionally, the deposit is fixed at 10% of the sale price. At the time of signing the deed of sale, the buyer will pay the full price, less the amount of the deposit.

The deposit is returned to the non-professional buyer if he exercises the right of withdrawal offered to him when purchasing a property for residential use.
The deposit is also refunded to the buyer if the suspensive conditions provided for, such as obtaining a loan, are not fulfilled, provided however that the buyer has not committed any fault.

Authentic act

The deed of sale is drawn up by a notary to record the sale. The sale of a property must be published in the real estate file, which is kept by the land registry service. This indispensable formality can only be carried out on the basis of a notarial deed.

The notarial deed of sale is established when all the conditions are met: termination of the suspensive conditions and obtaining the necessary documents (town planning, civil status documents, mortgage information, etc.).

Property administrator

The property manager is a professional agent, who holds the real estate agent card, with the mention "property management". He manages real estate properties on behalf of the owners, and administers in their place the relationship with the tenants of the property, from the entry of the tenants in the premises, until the end of the lease.

Being subjected to the statute of real estate agent, the administrator of goods necessarily subscribed an insurance of professional civil liability, as well as a guarantee covering the funds which it receives on behalf of its customers.

Commercial agent

The commercial agent is a non-trading professional who works in the name and on behalf of a real estate agent.

As a real estate negotiator, he or she holds an employment certificate issued by the CCI. The real estate agent generally gives him the power to have mandates signed on his behalf. However, he does not have the right to draft compromises or to give legal advice.

Real estate agent

The real estate agent is a professional intermediary, holder of a card delivered by the CCI after having been verified:

  • - His honorability,
  • - His professional aptitude,
  • - His professional liability insurance,
  • - His financial guarantee, unless he has undertaken not to receive funds.
  • - His obligation of continuous training, as of January 1, 2017.

The real estate agent carries out three main types of activities: real estate transactions, real estate management and the activity of syndic.
He carries out his mission after receiving a mandate.

Notary fees

It is a generic term which designates the various expenses to be paid by the purchaser at the time of a sale: on the one hand, the emoluments or fees of the notary, on the other hand, the disbursements (i.e. the expenses paid to third parties such as the land registry, the land tax service...), and finally the taxes perceived for the benefit of the State and the local authorities.

Matrimonial regime

The matrimonial regime is the status that applies to the patrimony of married persons, and which defines the powers of each spouse over the couple's property.

Since 1965, the law has applied the legal regime of community of acquests by default to all couples who marry.

Spouses who wish to do so can choose their matrimonial regime by drawing up a marriage contract before a notary.

The two main types of matrimonial regimes are community of property (reduced to acquests or universal) and separation of property.

It is possible to change the matrimonial regime after 2 years of marriage, or 2 years after having changed the matrimonial regime. This is a relatively cumbersome procedure, which requires the use of a notary and, in certain cases, a judge.

Life annuity

At the time of a sale in life, the sale contract envisages the payment of an annuity during all the life of the crédirentier. This annuity is thus life: it depends on the life of the crédirentier.

The price of a life annuity is thus paid :

  • - on the one hand, in the form of a bouquet, which is a fraction of the selling price paid at the time of the signature of the notarial act of sale,
  • - on the other hand in the form of a life annuity.
Main residence

The sale of a principal residence is exempt from taxation. For the tax authorities, a principal residence is the usual and effective residence of a person and his family. It is therefore the place where they usually live for most of the year. If the occupation is only temporary, the property cannot be considered a principal residence.

Co-ownership regulations

The condominium by-law is a written document, which establishes rules that must be respected by all co-owners. It determines :

  • - the private portions and the common portions, as well as their destination,
  • - the share of charges for each condominium lot,
  • - the rules of administration of the common portions,
  • - the conditions of use of the private and common portions.
  • - the rules of organization of the co-ownership. It can be compared to the statutes of a company.

It is published in the real estate file, as well as any modifications.

The condominium bylaws may not impose restrictions on the rights of the co-owners, unless they are justified by the purpose of the building, its characteristics or its location.

Industrial and commercial profits (BIC)

For tax purposes, industrial and commercial profits (BIC) are realized by an individual who exercises a commercial, industrial or artisanal profession. An activity is considered to be commercial when the person carries out commercial acts, for example: the purchase of goods, or the renting of furnished goods. For an activity to be considered as a profession, it is necessary that the person acts with the aim of withdrawing an income from it, and for his own account.

Bail civil

A contract for the lease of real property. Where no mandatory law governs the lease, it is subject to the rules of the Civil Code. This is the case, for example, of a rental agreement for a garage or parking lot, if it is rented independently of a dwelling.

Residential lease

Rental contract for a dwelling or a house. When the property is the tenant's main residence, the lease is subject to the law of July 6, 1989, whether the property is rented unfurnished or furnished.

In other cases, the lease is a civil lease, subject only to the Civil Code, for example for a secondary residence.

Professional lease

Rental contract granted to a tenant who exercises a liberal profession in the premises, without living there. Doctors, lawyers, etc. benefit from this status, governed by articles 57 A and 57 B of the law of December 23, 1986.

It is possible to voluntarily place oneself under the commercial lease system.


In a rental agreement, the lessor is the person who makes the property available to the tenant. This is usually the owner of the property. The tenant must pay the landlord the rent. The landlord undertakes to ensure that the tenant can use the property. The landlord must make any repairs that are not the responsibility of the tenant.


Boundary marking consists of determining the dividing line between two contiguous properties. It is carried out by a surveyor. The demarcation can be carried out amicably, by the owners of the concerned properties. The surveyor they have chosen will draw up a boundary survey report and place the boundary stones on the land. The demarcation can also be carried out judicially, when the neighbors do not agree: it will be ordered by the court of first instance at the request of one of them.

Commercial lease

A lease of real estate granted to a merchant, craftsman or industrialist who carries out his activity on the premises. The commercial lease is regulated by articles L 145-1 and following of the Commercial Code. This very specific regime is complex. It allows the tenant to benefit from a right to renew his lease.

Visitor's voucher

The "Bon de visite" was created by real estate professionals. It is a written document that the real estate agent has the client sign if he is interested in buying a property. It allows the professional to establish that a client has visited the property with him, in order to protect his right to remuneration. The real estate agent can ask the client who wishes to visit a property to prove his identity, especially when signing the visit form.


The bouquet designates, in a life annuity sale, the part of the price which is paid by the purchaser at the time of the signature of the sale act at the notary. Indeed, the price of a life annuity is generally divided between the annuity, paid periodically to the salesman (crédirentier), and the bouquet, paid as of the notarial act. The breakdown of the price between the bouquet and the annuity is freely defined by the parties to the deed. A certain balance must however be respected in order not to run the risk of a cancellation of the sale.

Reserved heir

The law provides that the children (if deceased, their children and grandchildren) and the spouse (if a person has no descendants) necessarily receive a portion of the estate: they are heirs with right of reservation. The part of the estate that is allocated to them is called the reserve. The other part of the estate that can be freely disposed of is called the available portion.

The reserve depends on the number of children of the person:

  • - In the presence of one child, the reserve is half of the deceased's property,
  • - In the presence of two children, it is 2/3 of the deceased's property,
  • - In the presence of 3 or more children, it is ¾ of the property.

The mortgage is used to guarantee the payment of a debt contracted on a real estate. It is the most frequently requested guarantee. It can be taken regardless of the property. If the property on which the guarantee is taken exists (old or new), it is preferable, for reasons of cost, to register a lender's lien.


The mandate, or power of attorney, is a contract by which a person (the principal) gives power to another person (the agent) to do something for him or her and in his or her name.

When a client entrusts the real estate agency with the task of looking for a buyer or a tenant, the agency entrusts it with a sale or rental mandate. The client is therefore the principal, and the real estate agent the agent.


A power of attorney is a contract by which one person (the principal) gives authority to another person (the agent) to do something for and on behalf of the principal.

The agent accepts the mission to act in the name and on behalf of the principal.

The real estate agent is the agent of the client who entrusts him with the sale, rental or management of his property.

Bare ownership, bare owner

Bare ownership arises from the division of the right of ownership between two persons:

The usufructuary, who can use the property and reap the benefits, while respecting the rights of the bare owner,

The bare owner, who retains the right to give or sell the property, while respecting the rights of the usufructuary.

Bare ownership is technically a dismemberment of ownership. It is often created by donation or inheritance. The law divides the repairs and the payment of taxes between the bare owner and the usufructuary.

Common areas

When a building is subject to the system of co-ownership, it is divided into common portions and private portions.

The common portions are the parts of the buildings and land allocated for the use or benefit of all the co-owners or several of them: the shell, the elevator, the access roads...

The co-ownership regulations may contain a different distribution. For example, an elevator can be a private part. Or, a common area may be a part for the exclusive use of a co-owner, such as a terrace or a balcony.

Parties privatives

When a building is subject to the condominium system, it is divided into common portions and private portions.

The private portions are the parts of the buildings and grounds reserved for the exclusive use of a specific co-owner. They are listed in the condominium regulations.

Real estate capital gains

The capital gain is the positive difference between the sale price and the purchase price of a property (house, apartment, garage, land). The seller's notary must, using the 2048-IMM form, calculate the capital gain and pay the corresponding tax in the month following the sale to the Service de publicité foncière of the location of the property. Owners who sell their principal residence are not taxed on any capital gains generated by the sale. Indeed, the capital gain is automatically exempted insofar as the property constitutes the seller's usual and effective residence on the day of the sale. The capital gain is taxed at a flat rate of 19% for income tax plus 17.2% for social security contributions.

Unilateral promise of sale

A unilateral promise of sale is a pre-contract: it precedes the signing of a deed of sale.

In the unilateral promise of sale, the owner (the promisor) undertakes to sell a property to a person (the beneficiary). It specifies the essential conditions of the sale.

The beneficiary of the promise has an option to buy: during a certain period of time, he can think about and decide whether or not to buy the property.

Property advertising

The land registry is a technique that makes it possible to inform everyone of the transfer of real estate, the change of owner of the property, long-term leases, or the existence of a usufruct on the property.

The land registry service keeps the real estate register, which lists these acts. When a deed is registered in the file, a land registration tax must be paid.


The term "escrow" is used to designate the sum of money that the buyer pays when he signs a compromis or a promesse de vente. This sum is kept by the real estate agent, who takes out a financial guarantee (or by the notary, when the preliminary contract is signed at the notary's office). It will be deducted from the sale price at the time of signing the deed of sale.

The escrow constitutes a guarantee for the seller: if the buyer does not fulfill his obligations and refuses to sign the deed of sale, the seller will be able to ask for compensation. He will be able to refuse the restitution of the escrow to the buyer. Indeed, the real estate agent can only return the escrow to the buyer with the agreement of the seller or a decision of the judge.


An easement is an encumbrance imposed on one property for the benefit of another property. An easement may exist on land or on a built-up property.

It is attached to the property and is transmitted along with it. There are different easements: of passage, of view, of drawing, of not building...

Thus, the easement of passage allows the owner of the land who benefits from it to pass on the property of his neighbor, who supports the easement of passage.

Easements can be registered in the title of the property, but they are not always included in the title.

Real estate company

The real estate company is formed by two or more people, in order to manage, sell, or build one or more buildings. It is often a tool for asset management.

It is subject to articles 1845 and following of the Civil Code. In order to exist, it must be registered in the Trade and Companies Register.

It then obtains legal personality.

Before registering the SCI, the partners must draw up written articles of association. The articles of association define the operating rules of the company. The SCI is represented by one or more managers, appointed by the articles of association or by the partners.

Syndic of co-ownership

When a property is subject to the rules of co-ownership, all the co-owners are united in the syndicate of co-owners. This syndicate is a legal entity, which must appoint its legal representative: the syndic.

The syndic can be a professional, holding a real estate agent's card, or a non-professional. He is appointed by the assembly of co-owners.

The trustee administers the building, executes the decisions of the co-owners, taken in a general assembly, and represents the syndicate of co-owners.

The law obliges the co-owners to appoint a trustee. If this is not the case, any interested party may apply to the judge to have a provisional administrator appointed.

Syndicate of co-owners

When a property is subject to the rules of co-ownership, all the owners are automatically united within the syndicate of co-owners. The syndicate of co-owners is responsible for maintaining the building and making decisions relating to the administration of the common portions.

The syndicate of co-owners has legal personality: it is a person in the sense of the law. It is represented by the syndic.

The syndicate of co-owners makes its decisions at the meeting of co-owners.

Local taxes

Any owner of a built or unbuilt property (land for example) is liable, in the eyes of the tax authorities, for property tax on built and/or unbuilt properties. In addition to this property tax, there is also the housing tax due by the occupant of the property, i.e. the owner of the property himself or the tenant if the property is rented out for a fee (i.e. against payment of rent) or free of charge (free occupation). For these two taxes, it is necessary to assess the situation on January 1st of the year. Thus, for a tax due for the year 2019 (the roll is generally received around October 2019), the property tax is due by the owner of the property on January 1, 2019. The housing tax is due by the occupant of the property on January 1, 2019, provided that the property is furnished and used for housing. Please note that in case of transfer of the property after January 1st, it is possible to agree between the seller and the buyer that the latter will pay part of the property tax in proportion to the time elapsed from the date of the sale until December 31st of the year of transfer.


When several people own a property together, each having a share in it, the property is subject to the regime of undivided ownership.

Undivided ownership is frequent after a death: the property of the deceased is in undivided ownership between his heirs. It also occurs when cohabitants or PACS partners buy a property together.

The sale of an undivided property requires the agreement of all the undivided co-owners (or a decision of the judge). But the common acts, which are called acts of administration, can be carried out by one or several undivided co-owners holding 2/3 of the shares of the undivided property.

Tax on property income

People who receive rent for real estate that is rented bare are required to declare it each year in May. The landlords file a specific declaration n° 2044 if they come under a so-called real regime. If they are subject to a so-called micro-foncier regime, landlords mention the rents on their tax return n° 2042. After deducting the real estate expenses (either for their real amount or for a fixed amount of 30%), this income is added to the other income of the tax household to be subject to the progressive scale of income tax and to social security deductions.

Overall effective rate (TEG)

The TEG (global effective rate) or annual global effective rate (TAEG), is intended to inform the borrower on the global cost of the loan which is proposed to him, all expenses included.

The law specifies the elements which make it possible to determine the TEG:

  • - The interest rate, itself,
  • - The file fees, commissions, fiscal fees, etc., which are passed on to the borrower,
  • - The cost of the insurance.

The law sets out the methods for determining the TEG.

The advertisements and the loan offers must mention the TEG.

Property tax

The property tax must be paid by the owners of real estate, whether it is land (property tax on undeveloped properties) or buildings of any kind (houses, buildings...) (property tax on developed properties).

This tax is paid once a year, according to the situation existing on January 1st of the year.

When the property is sold, it is therefore the owner on January 1st who is liable to pay the property tax to the tax authorities. However, it is customary in the deed of sale to provide that the buyer will reimburse the seller for the property tax in proportion to the number of months elapsing from the signing of the deed of sale.

Real estate VAT

Transfers of real estate are subject either to transfer duties for valuable consideration or to real estate VAT (as opposed to common law VAT) and reduced notary fees. The seller's status as a taxable or non-taxable person determines which duties are payable. It should be noted that since January 1, 2013, the scope of application of the real estate VAT and the related reduced notary fees no longer applies to the sale of a new property (i.e. less than 5 years old) between two individuals. The transfer duties to be paid are 5.09% or 5.80% in most departments.

VEFA - Vente en l'Etat Futur d'Achèvement

The sale in the future state of completion is also called "sale on plan". The seller, who is often a developer, sells a property that is not yet built.

The sale is specially regulated when it concerns a building for residential or mixed residential and professional use, and when the buyer is a private individual.

The sale is generally preceded by a preliminary contract, which is a special form of pre-contract. An authenticated deed is then signed before a notary. The content of these contracts is regulated.

In VEFA, the buyer pays the price in installments according to the progress of the work.


The life annuity is a particular form of sale, in which the price is paid in the form of a bouquet, which is a sum of money paid at the time of the signature of the notarial act, and of an annuity paid to the salesman and, possibly, to other people, during the remainder of their life.

The life annuity can be free: the purchaser will be able to occupy the good immediately. The life annuity can also be occupied: the seller continues to occupy the property.

The buyer is called "debirentier", the seller is called "crédirentier".

Hidden defects

A latent defect is a defect in the property sold, which could not be discovered at the time of the sale, and which renders the property unfit for the use for which the buyer intended it.

For example: a piece of land that can be built on turns out to be unfit to support a building.

In principle, the seller is responsible for hidden defects towards the buyer. The buyer can ask, at his choice: either the restitution of the selling price, in exchange of the restitution of the good, or a reduction of the price, and he keeps the good. Moreover, the seller who was aware of the defect and did not tell the buyer, can be condemned to compensate him. The action in guarantee of the hidden defects must be brought, in justice, within 2 years as from the discovery of the defect.

Attention: the deed of sale of a property concluded between individuals generally contains a clause of non-guarantee of the hidden defects. The seller will only be liable to the buyer if it is shown that he had knowledge of the defect before the sale.

Maintenance booklet

The maintenance booklet is created and kept up to date by the syndic.

It gathers all the information related to the maintenance of a building in co-ownership. It lists in particular the information concerning the work carried out, the reference to the insurance contracts of the professional who carried it out, the maintenance contracts of the common elements, such as the elevator. Any co-owner can request a copy from the syndic.


The acronym "CREP" refers to the lead exposure risk report, which is one of the mandatory real estate diagnoses for the sale or rental of a property for residential use, when the construction of the property is prior to January 1, 1949.

The CREP must be established by a professional diagnostician.


The real estate agent, intermediary in the sale or rental of a property, is entitled to the remuneration provided for, at the time of the signature of the lease or of the authentic act of sale. The amount of the commission, as well as the party or parties in charge of it, is mentioned in the mandate (of sale, of rent...) and in the act containing the commitment of the parties (lease, deed of sale...).


Within a condominium, the owner of a lot is called a co-owner. He is a member of the syndicate of co-owners and participates in the assemblies, in which the decisions relating to the co-ownership are voted.

The syndicate of co-ownership is represented by a syndic, either non-professional or professional.

The co-owner is the owner of a co-ownership lot, composed of a private portion and a share of the common portions.

Real estate credit

A real estate loan allows you to finance the purchase :

  • - a building for residential use (or for professional and residential use),
  • - a building plot (and the construction of a building on the plot),
  • - shares of a real estate company (SCI).

A real estate loan can also be used to finance maintenance and repair expenses of buildings, if their amount is higher than 75 000 €.

Real estate loans are subject to strict regulations designed to protect the borrower. Thus, the borrower is obliged to respect a 10-day cooling-off period, starting the day after receiving the loan offer issued by the bank, before accepting the loan offered to him.

Bridge loan

A bridging loan is a particular type of real estate loan. It is used to finance the purchase of a property before having sold the property one owns.

The lending institution makes an advance of funds to the borrower, who thus finances his new acquisition, while waiting to sell the property he already owns.

The bridging loan has a duration of one to two years. It is used to finance up to 80% of the new acquisition. It is repaid when the first property is sold.


In a life annuity sale, the person to whom the annuity is paid by the buyer (called the "debirentier") is called the "creditor". The creditor is usually the seller of the property.

Condominium fees

The condominium fees are paid by the co-owners of the building to the syndicate. They are used to finance maintenance, conservation and administration of the building, as well as collective services such as elevators and works. Each co-owner pays them on request of the syndicate and according to the tantièmes (or thousandths) that he holds. There are two main types of charges:

  • - general charges, which cover the expenses of maintenance, conservation and administration of the common areas.
  • - special charges, which finance common equipment and collective services. The co-owners contribute to these charges according to the usefulness of the equipment and services for their lot.
Sales agreement

The preliminary sales agreement is a preparatory contract that defines the conditions of the sale. It precedes the drawing up of the deed of sale, which will be signed by the notary. The preliminary sales agreement can be drawn up by a real estate agent or by a notary.

In the preliminary sales agreement, the seller and the buyer mutually commit themselves to sell the property and the second to buy it, under the conditions defined in the agreement. The conditions of the sale are included in the notarial deed drawn up and signed by the notary.


Co-ownership is a way of organizing a property. It may concern a building, in which case it is referred to as vertical co-ownership, or a group of houses, in which case it is referred to as horizontal co-ownership.

In a co-ownership, we distinguish :

  • - the common parts which belong to the syndicate of co-owners (which gathers all the co-owners),
  • - the private parts, which belong to each co-owner.

Each co-owner is thus the owner of a lot of co-ownership, made up of a private part, and a share of the common parts.

The co-ownership is represented by a trustee, and the decisions are taken by the co-owners gathered in an assembly.

Ten-year warranty

This compulsory guarantee covers all construction defects compromising the solidity of the building or making it unfit for its purpose for 10 years. This guarantee also covers all damages that affect the solidity of the building's inseparable equipment elements. The starting point of the decennial warranty is the reception of the house by the owner.

Warranty of hidden defects

The seller of a good owes the buyer a guarantee against hidden defects. A latent defect is a defect which is not detectable at the time of the sale, and which makes the good unfit for the use for which the buyer intended it.

If he discovers a hidden defect, the buyer can ask for the restitution of the sale price, by returning the good, or a reduction of the price, if he wishes to keep the good. He must act within 2 years from the discovery of the defect.

The buyer can obtain additional compensation if the seller knew about the defect and hid it from the buyer.

Attention: it is usual to mention a clause of non guarantee of the hidden defects, in the act of sale of a real estate between private individuals. This clause exonerates the seller from his responsibility, except if he had knowledge of the defect before the sale.


Legal term. Action to dispose of a real estate or to collect the rents of it.

Share of co-ownership

Share allocated to each co-owner for the distribution of the co-ownership expenses.


Approval of the management of the syndic within a co-ownership. By giving discharge to the syndic, all the co-owners approve the mission accomplished by him.


Receipt sent by the owner at the request of his tenant, for the payment of the rent and its loads. The delivery of the receipt is done without any cost for the tenant.


The usufruct is the right to use a property and to collect the fruits (the rents for example). It arises from the distribution of the right of ownership between two persons:

The usufructuary, who can use the property and reap the fruits, while respecting the rights of the bare owner,

The bare owner, who retains the right to give or sell the property, while respecting the rights of the usufructuary.

The usufruct constitutes, technically, a dismemberment of property. The law divides the repairs and the payment of taxes between the bare owner and the usufructuary.


Wood-eating insects, and termites in particular, can cause significant damage to buildings by degrading the wood and its derivatives used in construction.

Their activity can affect the quality of use of buildings but also cause significant disorders in their structure. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to their collapse.

The legislative and regulatory system (articles L.112-17, L.133-1 to L.133-6, L.271-4, R.112-2 to R.112-4, R.133-1 to R.133-8 and R.271-1 to R.271-5 of the construction and housing code) aims at protecting buildings. It defines the conditions under which the prevention and control of termites and other wood-eating insects are organized by the public authorities in order to protect buildings.

This measure, which mainly concerns termites, sets out the responsibilities of each of the actors in the fight against termites: building owners and occupants, the State (through the prefect), persons who proceed to demolition, professionals who establish diagnoses or carry out treatment operations, and the municipalities.

More particularly, it prescribes on the one hand an obligation to declare infested areas and eradication measures in infested areas and on the other hand obligations in case of sale, demolition or construction.