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Even the French get caught!


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I hope the people concerned won’t mind if I put this on the forum as a warning to others.


One of our French neighbours recently had a major health scare and therefore decided to take early retirement. Upon retirement they had always planned to relocate from our isolated hamlet to a town or village with facilities within walking distance and found an ideal house about 10km away. It was a ‘New build’ in the grounds of an existing property that had been intended for the owner’s son but after University he had found a job elseware so the parents decided to sell it.


They bought the property through an agent who had copies of the Architects drawings and all the permits etc so everything appeared to be ok; the Notaire was happy and at the signing reminded both parties that as a New Build it was covered by the statutory 10 year guarantees. Apparently the look on the vendors face at this point should have sounded warning bells but it didn’t!


They moved in during early summer and were very happy until come winter they found the place difficult to keep warm and thought they could see a perceptible dip in the roof apex. Measurements in the attic proved this to be true so they checked the plans and found there were several less roof trusses than shown on the drawing and the walls were 50mm thinner than the design spec.

They spoke to the vendor who informed them that as far as he was concerned it was not a New Build but a Renovation, it had been built mainly by himself on an existing base layed several years before for an agricultural building that had never been built, therefore there was no 10 year guarantee and it was entirely there problem. They immediately contacted an independent expert who carried out a full survey and as a result of the long list of faults he found collected up all the paperwork and sought advice, this resulted in them taking action against the Vendor, the Agent, the Notaire and the Architect.


Two and a half years down the road and they have finally got a ruling in there favour, the Notaire and Architect were found to be blameless, the Agent heavily criticised but the Vendor has been held totally responsible. It has been classified as a New Build and he must either buy back the property at ‘current market value’, to be set by the court, or have the property entirely rebuilt using a site agent appointed by the court.

Originally they wanted it rebuilt but although they like the location and have made many new friends they have chosen to sell the property back as they just can’t face effectively putting there lives on hold for a further couple of years while all the work takes place.


There is however a question mark over whether the vendor now has the money or assets for either option so this case could well be far from over yet!

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