OBLIGATORY TECHNICAL SURVEYS
A property survey consists of a check on the property by a qualified surveyor. The aim is to evaluate the state of the property.
Three technical surveys are required by law if a property is being sold or rented out.
These are charged to the property owner – the vendor in the case of a sale, or the landlord in the case of a rental.
Natural Risks survey (ERN)Since the 1st June 2006 this is also obligatory. It is valid for 6 months and is required for a building located in a town or village that has its own specific civil defence plan in case of natural or technical risks (PPRNT), or if it is situated in an earthquake zone.
Energy Efficiency Survey (DPE)Required by law since 1st July 2007. For any enclosed building with a surface area greater than 50m2. Valid for 3 years.
The DPE must be presented when a residential or office/hospitality building is sold or rented, and has been a legal requirement since 1st July 2007. It is aimed at informing the owner and the tenant of the energy consumption of a dwelling or service building with regards to heating, air-conditioning, hot water production – but not regarding general electrical usage (lighting, household appliances…).
An illustration of the scale of energy consumption for residential properties
The DPE must include 4 sections:
- The annual energy consumption expressed in kWh and in euros.
- Energy consumption score / per m2 / per annum and greenhouse gas emissions (GES) / per m2 / per annum
- Details of key data: insulation and construction details for walls, roof, windows, heating system
- Details of potential improvements.
Risk of exposure to lead survey (CREP)Required by law since 11th August 2008. It is valid for 6 years if any lead is found, otherwise it has permanent validity. Exposure to lead paint: for properties built before 1st January 1949, the CREP has been obligatory since 12th August 2008, for all rental properties and common areas, as part of the lead poisoning prevention programme. As well as these three obligatory surveys, and in the case of a sale, certain technical surveys specific to real estate transactions are required. These must be commissioned and paid for by the vendor.
Measurements according to the Carrez lawRequired by law since 18th December 1996.
The Carrez law stipulates that the vendor of a co-ownership property (or part thereof) must indicate the private surface area in all documents relating to the sale. The private surface area, known as the Carrez surface area, is the floor area of all closed spaces less the surface area taken up by walls, interior partitions, stairs and stair wells, conduits, window and door sills. Floor area where the ceiling height is less than 1.8m is not included.
Furthermore, separate areas of less than 8m2 in total are not included in the calculation of the private surface area.
Finally, cellars, garages, allocated parking spaces, lockable storage areas, or shared parking spaces sold separately, are not included.
If the surface area is not shown in the final sales contract, the purchaser may, within a period of one month of signing the documents, take legal action to nullify the contract. If the true surface area is less by a margin of more than 5% to that indicated on the final sales contract, the purchaser may, within a period of one month following the completion of the final sales contract, request a reduction in the sale price proportionate to the excess surface area declared. If the surface area is greater than that given in the final sales contract, the excess area does not entitle the vendor to request any increase in the price.
Asbestos surveyThe presence or lack of asbestos or materials containing asbestos must be established. This survey is required by law if the building permit was obtained before 1st July 2007. This survey is valid for an unlimited period.
Termite surveyThis must be carried out in infected areas as declared by the Prefecture. The certificate is valid for six months.
Gas installation surveyThis survey must be carried out on any installation more than 15 years old. The certificate is valid for 3 years.
Electrical installation survey
This has been a legal requirement since 1st January 2009, for the sale of any dwelling with an electrical installation more than 15 years old.
Since 1st November 2007, all real-estate surveyors must be certified by an independent organisation and accredited ISO 17024 by the COFRAC (French Accreditation Committee) in order to practice their profession. The certification obtained by the surveyor guarantees private and institutional clients that he/she has the skills necessary to carry out the required surveys and will help bring to an end the more subjective value judgements from individuals in the professional world of surveying.
The certification process includes two stages: a theoretical exam to assess the theoretical knowledge required for each of the surveys and a practical exam, which consists of a real life situation for the candidate in order to evaluate their aptitude for carrying out a survey.