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Whish diagnostic checks to complete at the sale?

Legislation orders that certain diagnostic checks must be completed before the sale of a property. At the moment this « technical status» essentially applies only to the sale of a property.

All relevant diagnostic checks up until now have been legislative texts or scattered rules that are now being reformed. The application of the new rules is summarized in a forthcoming publication. In the case of constructing part or all of a building a file of technical diagnostic checks conducted by the vendor must be annexed in the promesse de vente, failing that, the final signing.

In the case of a public sale the file of technical diagnostic checks is listed in the terms and conditions of the sale.

The lists of clearly stated conditions for technical diagnostic checks are defined in clauses stated in six documents.


1 -  Lead : valid for one year

  • This cost is borne by the vendor. The risk of exposure to lead is mainly of concern in buildings used for habitation and built before 1st January 1949.
  • Bear in mind that lead can be present in paint and other surface materials and can contain toxic materials, which could endanger the inhabitants of a building.

- In the case of a sale concerning premises located in a co-owned build the report is the responsibility of the private party of the premises concern; In the same way if the premises belongs to a private contract or named individuals- the same checks must be performed on the premises.

- The length of validity for this document is fixed by decree. (published decree).

- I f the report states that levels of lead in the building are acceptable there is no need to repeat a test for every change in the property, the initial report will be added to the file of diagnostic checks for the property.

(Public Health code: articles L1334-1 to 12 and R1334-1 to 13)


2 -  Asbestos: unlimited validity (unless work has been completed on the property after the report has been published)

   This cost is borne by the vendor, the report will investigate the presence or absence of materials containing asbestos in privately owned properties constructed before 1st July 1997.  For co-owned properties it’s necessary to add a spreadsheet summarising the asbestos report of the building (DTA) by the local authorities. (Public Health Code: articles L.1334-13 and R1334-14 and the law SRU art. 176 issued 2nd January and 22nd August 2002)


3 - Termites: valid for 6 months

- This is paid for by the vendor, the presence of termites has to be tested in buildings located in zones deemed to be at risk of termites by the prefecture.

-Consult the mairie to determine whether the property is located in an at risk zone. This test must be carried out if the property is located in a contaminated zone.

- In the case of co-owned builds the owner of the plot must carry out a parasite report. As no particular method of detection is recommended by legislation, the owner may find it beneficial to consult a qualified professional.

If the vendor does not guarantee-hidden defects or termites are discovered after the sale has been completed, the vendor will not be held responsible.




4 - Natural gas:

   This check refers to interior installation of natural gas in habitable properties where the supply was installed over 15 years ago. In the case of the sale of a property in a co-owned builds the private party concerned must complete the check.


5 - Natural and technological risks: valid for 6 months

- The diagnostic checks must include a declaration of the risks of natural and technological disasters in properties located in areas deemed at risk or in zones susceptible to seismic activity.

- If, after the la promesse de vente, the plot is located in an « at risk » zone or an area updated by the prefecture to be at risk, the diagnostics are not complete until documents stating this are signed in the l’acte final declaring that the purchaser is informed and aware of these risks.


6 - Energy efficiency tests: valid for 10 years

   Recent ruling requires that energy efficiency tests be conducted. These tests are valid for 10 years. When an offer is made on a property the results of these tests should be made available to the purchaser if requested.


7) Electrical diagnostic checks compulsory from the 1st November 2007.

The 6th obligatory diagnostic check as from 1st November 2007!

   The state of the installation of interior electrical supplies must be reported in all property sales from 1st November 2007.
   This will be included in the file of diagnostic checks and involves obtaining a certificate of compliancy on a certain date.

   The regulations defining the exact requirements for the checks will be presented on 18 December by the housing ministry in preparation for their publication. More information on this can be obtained from their Internet site from now until December.

   Reminder of the clauses of article L. 134-7 of the civil code of construction of a habitation (part of law n° 2006-87213 July 2006 from the national institution for buildings):

   « In the case of a sale of a building or part of a building used for habitation, a report evaluating security risks of interior electrical supplies installed more than 15 years ago to people in the building is required in accordance to the terms stated in articles L. 271-4 to L. 271-6.

Decreed by the Conseil d’Etat defining methods of application for the present article. »




8 - Sanctions :

   If the relevant valid documents concerning lead, asbestos, termites, and natural gas are not included in the final signing the vendor is not held responsible for any hidden defects in the property and will not be liable for any damage or harm to a person after the sale has completed.

   The purchaser could however counter attack and appeal for a termination of sale and return of the whole sale price or a reduction in price.

** If the defect concerns a communal build and the fault is due to the board of co-owners the vendor’s responsibility is shared with the other co-owners.

   If the status of natural risks in the area is not declared at the final signing the purchaser can pull out of the contract or demand a reduction in price.

   In the case that the energy efficiency report does not contain enough information, the purchaser can demand further information about the property’s energy efficiency.

   If one of these documents is produced during the promesse de vente but is no longer valid at the  time of the final signing, it has to be replaced by a new valid document which will be added to the paperwork for the final signing.


9 - Persons eligible to perform these checks:

   The requirements for professionals undertaking the various checks and diagnostics are determined in a decree by the Conseil d’Etat (State council).

   All these documents, with the exception of the statement of natural and technological risks, have to be compiled by a qualified professional from an appropriate organisation.

   This person must sign an insurance document covering any consequences arising from the results of these tests.

   The eligible professional must be impartial to the interests of both vendor and purchaser and not have connections with enterprises or companies who could provide services, materials or equipment required to validate these documents.


10 - When the tests are applicable:

   The energy performance diagnostic test will be enforced 1st November 2006 (law 2004-1343, decree 2006-1147, issued on15 September 2006) and document for the installation of natural gas will be required on the latest day the decree in concern is put into operation.

   In principal the purchaser should make the final payment « the day and place of the sale art.1650 of the civil code). It’s therefore up to the parties concerned to decide upon the method of payment during the signing of the pre-contract. Failing that, article 1651 states that payment must be made « in the place and at the time of completion », in other words, when the keys are handed over.


All of the descriptive elements are to give an indication and have no contractual value.
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