Hello, chaps. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on the complexities of the French system, another mystery crops up. I’m buying the house I’ve been renting for a couple of years and have an RDV next week with a notaire and the owners “pour passer l’acte de sous-seing privë”. It seems to be similar to a compromis de vente. Never heard of this document before and the internet doesn’t help much. The house is owned legally by a company, if that makes any difference. Any insights would be appreciated.
Seems to be a catch all term for a private agreement
A “sous-seing privé” or private agreement (one can also say “sous signature privée”) is a written agreement drawn up by the parties themselves or by a third party, which has been signed by them or by a person they have appointed as their agent with a view to settling a contractual situation (sale, rental, company, employment contract, etc.). A handwritten will and an insurance contract are private deeds.
Read carefully before signing would be my advice
Think of it just as a private contractual agreement between two or more parties or their representatives with a signature (electronic as evidenced by a recognized electronic signature platform or manual signatures).
It stands in opposition to an “Acte Authentique” which is a contractual document drawn up and signed before a public officer and administered by them with the required accompanying formalism.
If you don’t know anything about French contract law, an “acte authentique” should always be checked for “gotchas” before signing by a legal advisor conversant with French contract law and the specifics of the object under contract.
Thanks, RicePudding. I’ll have it checked out. I know the owners and doubt there’s any funny business but it’s important to know what you’re signing.
Thank you, Billy. One point that came up when I was looking into this is that this contract can be used if no notaire is involved. In my case, a notaire is involved so I don’t understand why the owners are taking this route. As you say, I’ll have to read it as carefully as I can and probably take legal advice.
It is also sometimes used when there is no deposit paid at compromis de vente stage. And as others have said when the acte is not drawn up by a notaire.
Interesting, Jane. I’ll have plenty of questions for the notaire.