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Information for buyers and tenants: the obligations of vendors and landlords
 

Introduction
I. Statement of risks
II. Claim information
III. Accessing online information provided by Prefectures
IV. Frequently Asked Questions about buyer and tenant information

Introduction

Article 77 of the French law of 30 July 2003 governing the prevention of technological and natural risks and the repair of damage resulting from such risks is codified in article L 125-5 of the French Environment Code and creates an obligation to provide information to buyers and tenants of any property (whether completed or yet to be constructed) located in an area of seismic activity and/or shown on a prescribed or approved risk prevention plan.

To fulfil this obligation, sellers and landlords must provide the following documents:

1. A statement of natural and technological risks inherent in these easements, prepared on the basis of information provided by the prefect of the département.
2. A written declaration on plain paper of any claims paid out following a disaster officially recognized as such.

What is it?

In property transactions, all sellers and landlords of buildings (whether completed or yet to be constructed) must append the following to the contract of sale or rental agreement:

1. A “statement of risks” drawn up within 6 months of the date of completion of the contract of sale or rental agreement on the basis of the publicly available information that can be viewed in the prefecture, sub-prefectures or town halls of the local authority area in which the property is located. The same information can also be accessed via the Internet.
Template for drawing up a statement of risks:
PDF Format (183 Kb) - Word Format (139 Kb)

2. Written information listing any claims paid in respect of the property relating to the effects of a natural or technological disaster occurring during the period of the vendor’s or landlord’s ownership, or notified to him or her in writing at the time the property was sold.

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I. Statement of risks

The statement of risks must be enclosed with the offer to sell and the contract of sale, or, for rentals, every written rental agreement.

In which districts is this information compulsory?
Those districts covered by the information contained in the statement of risks are those:

Who is affected?
Vendors and landlords: individuals or public or private companies, including local authorities, central government and public bodies.
Where rental agreements are being renewed, it is not necessary to attach an updated statement of risks.

Which types of property are concerned?
All property (whether completed or yet to be constructed), regardless of location, but located in those districts covered by this statement of risks and offered to buyers or tenants by vendors and landlords.

When does this obligation come into effect?
This obligation comes into effect on the first day of the fourth month following the prefectural order, which, for most départements, means 1 June 2006.

Which types of agreement and contract are affected?

  • unilateral offers of sale and purchase,
  • contracts of sale,
  • written property rental agreements (regardless of whether the property concerned is completed or yet to be constructed), including all types of agreement relating to “3/6/9 year” property leases,
  • seasonal and holiday lets,
  • furnished lets,
  • contracts of sale for future completion (VEFA).

Which types of agreement and contract are NOT affected?

  • Construction contracts for private homes (excluding supply of land),
  • Unwritten rental agreements (verbal leases),
  • Tenancy agreements for buildings containing communal areas, and especially those offering services to their residents,
  • Property sales conducted as part of legal proceedings,
  • Transfers of ownership made as part of pre-emption, abandonment and compulsory purchase procedures.

How do you fill in the statement of risks?
Vendors and landlords are free to contact the appropriate town hall, sub-prefecture or the Direction Départementale de l'Equipement (DDE) to view files containing all the information required to fill in the statement of risks.
On the basis of the information contained in these documents, vendors and landlords should draw up the statement of risks using the template agreed by the Minister for Major Risk Prevention.
This template can be downloaded from prim.net:
Template in PDF Format (183 Kb) and Template in Word Format (139 Kb)
The statement of risk must be accompanied by extracts from other documents, especially the graphical information available from town halls (contained in the viewable file of buyer/tenant information) showing the location of the building or property for sale or rent within the various risk zones.

How much does it cost?
The file held at the town hall may be viewed free of charge. The statement of risks may therefore be drawn up at no cost to vendors and landlords.

How long does a statement of risks remain valid?
A signed statement of risks is valid for 6 months. If the period between the agreement to sell and the completion of sale is longer than 6 months, a new statement of risks must be attached to the contract of sale.

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II. Claim information

Vendors and landlords must declare all claims accepted on the basis of damage caused to the property by a natural or technological disaster occurring either during their ownership, or prior to their ownership and of which they have been informed.

In which districts is this information compulsory?
The information about claims is compulsory in all those districts covered by at least one arrêté de reconnaissance de l’état de catastrophes naturelles ou technologiques (official recognition of the natural or technological disaster status), which means almost all of France. (view the list of arrêtés de reconnaissance de l’état de catastrophe naturelle for your district )

What kind of claim is involved?
All those claims resulting in a payment under the national guarantee against the effects of technological or natural disasters, as defined by inter-ministerial decree; such payments having been received by the owner (whether vendor or landlord) or previous owner of the building concerned, where the vendor or landlord has been informed of the fact.

Who is affected?
All property vendors and landlords of the premises concerned, whether individuals or public or private companies.

Which types of property are concerned?
All finished buildings.

When does this obligation come into effect?
This obligation comes into effect at the same time as the obligation to attach a statement of risks, which, for most districts, means 1 June 2006.

Which types of agreement and contract are affected?

  • contracts of sale
  • written property rental agreements for completed buildings, including all types of agreement relating to “3/6/9 year” property leases
  • seasonal and holiday lets
  • furnished lets

Which types of agreement and contract are NOT affected?

  • Unwritten rental agreements (verbal leases),
  • Tenancy agreements for buildings containing communal areas, and especially those offering services to their residents,
  • Property sales conducted as part of legal proceedings,
  • Transfers of ownership made as part of pre-emption, abandonment and compulsory purchase procedures.

How can I find out if the property has been the subject of a claim… and who will tell me?
Vendor and landlords must tell you if the property has been the subject of a paid claim made under the natural disaster arrangements (i.e. during the period they have been in ownership, and, where appropriate, on the basis of the written declaration received when purchasing the property). They can also find out this information from their insurers.
This written information is appended to the rental agreement. Where a sale is concerned, the information is included in the completed contract of sale.

What's the point of it?
The aim of providing this information is to make people aware of any major risks they may be exposed to. Being informed of past or possible future events, their consequences and the measures that can be taken to protect themselves and minimise any resulting damage, will render people less vulnerable.
These two items of information complement other district and departmental provisions, such as the Document d’Information Communal sur les risques Majeurs (District Major Risks Information Document), Dossier Départemental sur les Risques Majeurs (Departmental Major Risks File), public meetings, risk awareness posters and known high water marks.
This information also contributes to promoting the risk awareness culture, and forms part of the overall risk management policy required under the national sustainable development strategy.

For more information:
- About buyer/tenant legal information
- About what the authorities are doing in addition to this buyer/tenant information

Updated: September 2006

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