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Looks like we may have sold our French house - paperwork being done at present.

But can anyone help with some advice?

The fosse does not conform- what usually happens? is it obligatory to be re-done, can it continue longer (it was built in the 70s and has never has any problems)  and our buyer can they demand we pay/share the cost to re-build it?   As it is we are selling at a massive loss - much less than our purchase price in 2006, and we have made plenty improvements (about 50K euros worth) also lost.

And if this sale crashes could the diagnostic be used for a subsequent sale?  it was done last week, cost 300 euros (excludes the fosse inspection costs)

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance


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AFAIK the subject of the fosse  is a negotiation with the buyer; they do not have a right to force you to share costs. If they want the house they will buy it anyway. It is up to you to decide  you want to lose the sale for €5000 . But maybe by hanging on will do better. Your choice. What you have spent on the house is irrelevant.

Second home purchases are way up at the moment.

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It is up to the buyer to bring the fosse into spec if they choose to buy the property. 

It is nothing to do with you.

The new buyers won't mind you ?

Don't lower the price of the house with respect to the fosse.

Most houses with a fosse are out of spec. The rules keep changing.  

Good luck my friend with your sale.

Edited by alittlebitfrench
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The statutory report is basically about lead and the electrical wiring.

As both ALBF and The Banana Man state (To which I agree), if the fosse septique does not conform to the standards demanded by SPANC, well resolution is up to the potential purchaser.

Under French property law for sales, any sensible purchaser demands what is called a Clause Suspensive on the initial purchase agreement (Compromis de Vente), which negates the potential purchaser's legal obligation if any noted facet is faulty. In which case their deposit is returned.

It is up to the buyer to negotiate a purchase price, which allows rectification of any faults or problems.

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I have seen many recent references to failed fosses during the sale of houses. It would seem that the buyer will be given one year to rectify any problem with the fosse. It is a matter of negotiation whether you contribute by reducing your price. You could argue that the agreed price took account of the fosse failure.

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Many thanks all!

Now the buyer want us to empty the fosse- tricky from Devon UK- and it's one of those fosses with a huge lid (originally concrete- we replaced with a galvanised metal lid, (weighs 53 kg) covered in plastic, sand and then concrete slabs.

Trouble is the fosse has only been looked at 3 times since 2006

1/ when we had roots in the pipes- emptied - but with little in it

2/ new lid fitted - also near empty

3/ inspection 2019 by water authorities (Siveer in the Vienne) also near empty    and not been able to go to France during 2020/2021 - just a week Nov 2021 to get the place ready to sell.

Seriously reluctant as accepted 10,000 reduction and lost on 2006 purchase price and spent on new oak kitchen/2 new bathrooms/ dev'ment started for gite - new corner kitchen made plus new carpets, and  made new main bedroom on top floor.

Estate agent says we must, but yet another deduction from the sale!  is this true?  usual? he says the emptying company must open it- but no doubt might well leave a mess..  Help!   any ideas advice? and hard to get there at present, we have to to empty the place, but not until we know we have sold.

With gratitude - so stressed by all these demands...


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3 hours ago, fromagebleu said:

Estate agent says we must,

That's a new one on me!

If it was not agreed as a term of the contract of sale (The Compromis de vente)and was not a "Clause Suspensive within the compromis, then I suggest that the agent is siding with the buyer.

Unfortunately, if you want the sale to proceed and as you are in Devon its a sort of Hobson's Choice moment.

I would say that since it is accepted in France that a fosse septique needs emptying every three years or so, then easy access is a given. SPANC

Unlike some friends who purchased a nice place not too far away from us and one weekend when the house was full with guests, the fosse blocked and caused back flushing all over the floor...

When they finally found the fosse, it had been concreted over!


In the final event they had to sport out for a complete new fosse and discharge field and since the ground behind the house was higher, it needed a special sump with a pump to push the effluent uphill!

Here is a useful information source:



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I don't pretend to know the legal position on this. But I do know from painful experience that French estate agents are no more reliable than British ones.

OK, I shouldn't tar them all with the same brush but I would certainly not automatically treat what an agent has said as Gospel. They want an easy transaction - and their commission.

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3 hours ago, Alan Zoff said:

I don't pretend to know the legal position on this. But I do know from painful experience that French estate agents are no more reliable than British ones.

OK, I shouldn't tar them all with the same brush but I would certainly not automatically treat what an agent has said as Gospel. They want an easy transaction - and their commission.

Couldn't agree more, Alan!

On 14/01/2022 at 01:01, Loiseau said:

When I sold, about four years ago, the agent said I had to get the fosse emptied and the chimneys swept.

It is the marie, liaising with the local SPANC who can order that a fosse needs emptying. Not an imobilier.

Furthermore, it is a statutory regulation that chimneys need regular sweeping. Indeed, if one suffers a chimney fire and the chimney has not been swept regularly the assurance provider can repudiate any claim.

Once again, if a prospective buyer requires the chimney swept and the fosse emptied, then these should be entered into the Compromis de Vente as clause suspensives and form part of the conditional offer to purchase.


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https://dailymmo.fr/certificat-ramonage-obligatoire-pour-vendre/#:~:text=Oui%2C le ramonage est obligatoire,non par un arrêté national.

Oui, le ramonage est obligatoire avant de réaliser toute vente immobilière. Cette obligation a été définie par un arrêté préfectoral ou municipal et non par un arrêté national.



Les acteurs concernés par la maison avec assainissement non conforme

Trois acteurs entrent en jeu lors de la vente d’une maison avec assainissement non conforme. Chacun remplit des rôles et des obligations respectifs.

Le propriétaire ou le vendeur

Le propriétaire est celui qui possède le titre de propriété et qui souhaite la céder. Parmi les documents nécessaires à la vente, il y a les certificats de conformité de la maison en réalisant les diagnostics immobiliers obligatoires, dont le diagnostic d’assainissement. D’après la loi, des travaux de remise en conformité dans un délai d’un an après la vente sont obligatoires en cas de non-conformité. Même si cette obligation ne concerne pas l’acheteur, il est en droit de désister ou de négocier un rabais sur le prix. Ainsi, le vendeur pourra se mettre d’accord avec l’acquéreur afin que la vente puisse toujours avoir lieu.


Il s’agit de la personne qui va acheter la maison en question. D’après la loi, avant de conclure l’achat, il doit vérifier la conformité de la maison. Cela évitera à l’acheteur de devoir entreprendre les travaux de remise en conformité qui peut se révéler coûteuse. Néanmoins, aucune forme de sanction n’est prévue si le délai d’un an n’est pas respecté.

Le notaire

Le notaire est le spécialiste qui s’occupe de la vérification de tous les documents relatifs à la vente de la maison afin que celle-ci puisse avoir lieu. Le notaire pourra ainsi rédiger l’acte de vente avec la signature du vendeur et de l’acquéreur. En tant qu’intermédiaire, il pourra aussi donner des conseils aussi bien au vendeur qu’à l’acheteur au sujet de la vente.

We sold our house three years ago.  Both chimneys had to be certified, fuel heating system too.  All the grey water and WC discharges had to be verified too.  

Might help.

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