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Reclassifying "non-habitable" as "habitable"


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We have been told its is very easy to reclassify a "non-habitable" building ( e.g. combined garage/conservatory) into a "habitable" habitable building - indeed we have been advised that we simply need to contact the Centre des Impots Foncier-Cadastre.


Can it really be this simple?


Stefan (09) 

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When I was looking to buy one of the houses we looked at had a 'converted' garage which did not have a declaration de traveaux but was it noted as habital space on the tax side. I didn't go into it in great depth as we decided against the house but as far as I understood there were a number of things in play.

You do need a declaration to change non habital to habital (but many french people just do it) - whether you get the permission will depend on, amongst other things, the size and loction of the plot. For example plots of a given size can only have a house with a certain habital area on it - it your change exceeds that limit they won't give the permission.

In the case of the house we looked at they were quite happy to collect the tax but the change was 'illegal' so the marie was entitled to tell you to change it back at any time - in this case it was suggested that it was unlikely that they would bother but they were entitled to. (I think there was a time limit on this, something like if they had been collecting the tax for 10 years and hadn't told you to change it back they then couldn't)

All in all check with the Marie, they are usually quite helpful. If you were to do and keep quiet it might cause problems when you came to sell as the buyers are likely to insist that it is correctly declared as part of the sale as this means they cannot be fined for doing work without permission - though they can still be told to change it back again.

Another house we looked at had converted the loft without permission and as this was the equivelent of a listed property they had been told to change it back again, they hadn't. This rendered the house effectively unsaleable - the phrase used was 'No french person would ever touch it with that entry on the records.'

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