French Lawyers Legal Glossary
ACTE DE VENTE
Deed of sale
ARCHITECTE DES BATIMENTS DE FRANCE
Responsible for the supervision of the application of legislation concerning architecture, historic monuments, and listed buildings, the ABF heads the Service Departemental de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (SDAP), and determines and oversees maintenance and repair work on listed buildings. Permission of the ABF may be required on application for planning permission.
ATTESTATION DE VENTE
Document provided by the notaire in confirmation that completion has taken place.
Initial contract. In relation to the sale/purchase of real estate it may take the form of a promesse unilatérale de vente, a compromis de vente, a contrat préliminaire or contrat de réservation.
Commercial lease. This type of lease is most commonly encountered by UK and Irish purchasers as part of the leaseback scheme.
Bénéfice industriels & commerciaux. Income gained from a commercial activity carried out by an individual or a company that is not subject to corporation tax.
Public register defining within each commune the land surface area and value of real estate, which serves as a base for the calculation of taxe foncière.
Persons exercising the activity of estate agent in France must posses a carte professionnelle, which is issued by the local préfet and renewed each year.
Administrative document providing information as to the planning regulations and taxes applicable to a particular property such as any limitations as to the right to build on it, and whether the land has local mains services such as water, electricity and drainage. Upon application a CU may also indicate whether a particular construction/renovation project is permitted on the land, broadly equivalent to outline planning permission.
CERTIFICAT DE CONFORMITE
Administrative document confirming that work has been carried out in line with planning permission.
CHARGES DE COPROPRIETE
Annual maintenance and administration charges for the common areas within condominiums. The charges are divided among the owners of the privately owned properties within the development.
COMPROMIS DE VENTE
Initial contract by which the vendor agrees to sell and the purchaser agrees to buy real estate property. Not to be confused with the promesse unilatérale de vente.
Clause in a contract which has for effect to suspend the effects of the initial contract until the condition has been fulfilled. If this does not happen within a specified time limit the initial contract becomes null and void and the parties are released from the contract. Suspensive clauses frequently encountered related to finance and the obtaining of planning permission.
CONSERVATION DES HYPOTHEQUES
Part of the French administration attached to the ministry of Finance, which holds records of transfers of ownership and a register of charges against real estate properties in France .
CONTRAT DE CONSTRUCTION DE MAISON INDIVIDUELLE
Contract by which a builder undertakes the construction of one or two properties to the same purchaser destined for residential use or residential and professional use. This type of contract is strictly regulated and is subject to the provisions of the law of 19 th December 1990.
CONTRAT DE RESERVATION
Initial contract, also called a “contrat préliminaire", which is an option to purchase off-plan.
Similar to the American condominium, this is a method of ownership whereby a building is divided up into separate lots containing privately owned elements such as an apartment, and a share in the ownership of common areas.
Vendor in a sale en viager (see definition below).
Purchaser in a sale en viager (see definition below).
DECLARATION D'ACHIEVEMENT DES TRAVAUX
Obligatory declaration that the person in receipt of a building permit must submit within 30 days following the completion of work.
DELAI DE REFLEXION
Period of ten days following receipt of an offer in respect of real estate credit, which a borrower must be afforded in which to reflect before accepting the offer.
DELAI DE RETRACTATION
Seven-day period within which the purchaser of real estate in France has the right to withdraw from the purchase without penalty following signature of the initial contract.
DEPOT DE GARANTIE
Sum paid by one of the parties to a contract in guarantee of the proper execution of his/her obligations. This is encountered for example in relation to leases and also reservation contracts for the purchase of properties off plan and building contracts.
Quote with respect to work and/or materials with an indication of the price.
Deed by which a person makes an irrevocable lifetime gift of property to another. The deed must be drafted and signed in front of a notaire.
Deed by which parents make a lifetime gift of property to their children by which they distribute and divide their property among the children.
Reserve heirs such as the children or parents.
Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune. Tax introduced in 1989 replacing the previous Impôt sur les grandes fortunes (IGF). The ISF is due by individuals whose taxable estate exceeds a certain threshold as of 1st January each year.
Legal situation in which several persons have rights of the same nature over property without there being any material division of each person’s share in the property. This can result from the administration of an estate or the purchase of property by two or more people.
Town hall .
MANDAT DE VENTE / MANDAT DE RECHERCHE
Instruction from client to estate agent authorising him/her to act on the client’s behalf to sell or find a property, and agreeing to pay the agent’s commission. The agent must obtain a mandat before being able to act for the client.
Public official under the jurisdiction of the French Ministry of Justice whose duties include authenticating legal documents in relation to family, succession and commercial matters and real estate transfer.
Document whereby the prospective purchaser offers to purchase a property at a given price. This must be accepted by the vendor, following which an initial purchase contract is drawn up.
Pacte civil de solidarité. Agreement between two persons of different sex or of the same sex with respect to the organisation of their life together. The pact engenders a duty of mutual assistance and creates joint and several liability between the partners for the payment of household debts. A number of consequences result from it for example with respect to income tax, gift tax and inheritance tax, insurance, benefits, rights concerning rented accommodation.
Plan d’Occupation de Sols or zoning plan. This is a planning document that determines the permitted use of land within given areas in a commune.
PERMIS DE CONSTRUIRE
Administrative authorisation which constitutes planning permission.
PROCURATION A ACQUERIR ET EMPRUNTER
Power of Attorney. With respect to a purchase or sale of real estate property, this is generally a document which is drafted by the notaire by virtue of which he/she signs the deed on behalf of the persons who grant the power in the event that they cannot attend the notaire’s office to complete in person.
PROMESSE UNILATERALE DE VENTE
Initial contract whereby the vendor agrees to sell. In contrast with the compromis de vente, the purchaser in the promesse unilatérale de vente does not agree to purchase but has an option to purchase, i.e. he/she has the option to purchase or not during a given period of time. The sale is formed on the date when the purchaser takes up the option. In return he/she pays a sum of money to the vendor in compensation for the fact that the property is taken off the market during the option period, generally 10% of the purchase price. Care should be taken with this type of contract as depending upon the drafting of the promesse the purchaser may forfeit the indemnity in the event that he/she does not take up the option.
Signed agreement by the client to pay the estate agent’s commission.
Société Civile Immobilière. This is a French property owning company.
Local annual property tax due by the occupant as at 1 st January each year.
Local annual property tax due by the property owner.
Local tax due by individuals and companies exercising a professional activity on an habitual basis which is not salaried.
Clause which is entered into a final contract, generally a deed for the purchase of real estate, where two or more persons purchase jointly, by virtue of which only the survivor will be considered to own the property without the heirs of the predeceased purchaser/s having any claim over the property.
VENTE EN VIAGER
Sale of property in respect of which all or part of the purchase price is paid by means of annuities paid to the vendor by the purchaser with the vendor generally retaining a life tenancy.
Back to the legal process >>