House sale 5 years ago

We bought a property 18 years ago and engaged a local registered artisan to oversee all the renovation work. This took 2 years to complete as 2 houses were renovated.

We used them as holiday lets until we moved permanently 10 years ago we had no problems.

We sold the properties 5 years ago and moved to another French property where we still live.Now the purchaser is claiming a return of 5 to 10 % of the purchase price because of a multitude of problems he says have arisen because of bad workmanship. If we do not agree he has threatened annulment of the sale.

Is it possible he can have any grounds for either proposition after all this time.

Thank you regards


Dear Reg,

Having re-read your post (and realised the dates relating to the building, apologies for not reading this properly) and I agree with Nick and Alexander: there is no recourse for the buyer on the grounds of the 10-year guarantee of the builder.

However, the buyer may have a claim for 2 years starting from the date the defects were discovered on the grounds of garantie des vices cachés (latent defects guarantee).

Of course, in practice, after 5 years, it is far more difficult to prove that the defects already existed on completion. In addition, most of the time, the contract makes provision for a clause to waive any liability for the vendor in that respect (although as it is a standardised clause, it is not full proof).

The buyer has very little chance to succeed in a claim against you.

Thanks once again Nick for taking the time to comment, you are all very helpful.

Regards Reg

Reg, I’ll let Guillaume reply to the point about the purchaser reverting on a 5 year old transaction, although I don’t think this is possible.
However in terms of the building work, then as Alexander reiterates, you can ignore the demands.

Thanks Alexander

Kind Regards


Thanks Guillaume

I am not quite clear about your references to a new build and then your references to waivers in the contract.

In this case the original buildings are 1 to 2 hundred years old and they were renovated between 16 and 18 years ago lived in by us until 5 years ago when we sold them.

Is it possible that there could be clauses in the contract about any defects. If so I will have to read them carefully. Is it possible for a sale to be annulled 5 years after.

Thanks once again


Dear Reg,

In theory, the buyer may have a claim against you however it is impossible to determine this before seeing the sale contracts.

The builder of a new-built property is subject by law to a 10-year guarantee which protects the owner against defects that would affect the solidity of the building or the solidity of its inclusive pieces of equipment or that would prevent its normal use.

The contracts may include a waiver of this guarantee which could protect you. Nevertheless, depending on how such waiver is worded, it may sometimes be ignored by a judge depending on the circumstances.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks for that Nick

Generally no. Normal purchase procedure in France is “Bought as seen”.

Unless you were a property professional at the time of the transaction and deliberately hid the faults, then he should have no claim against you.

Hope this helps.

The purchaser has no come back to you for a purchase concluded five years ago so don’t give in to their empty threats.

Oh yes, and don’t pay anything to them.

If there is a building fault stemming from any works, then your purchaser should claim against the builder’s decennial insurance and only if the works are less than ten years old) - NOT against you.

Nick Ord Chartered Surveyor France