Lost legal documents to prove ownership of property

I wonder if anyone can help? I need to prove ownership of a property but the French Land Registry search has proved inconclusive and the original notaire who was selling the property by Auction, also say they have no documents on file. Is there any way I can prove who legally bought and subsequently owns the property? Is there another website I could look at/search? I have sent PMs to Guillaime Barlet and Hélène Mercier, but not yet had any reply. Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions.

A notaire should be able to advise you. Documents can be lost through flood, fire or theft, as well as simple carelessness. There must be procedures for dealing with this.
Your bank will have a record of the payment you made for the property. This will show that a payment was made and to whom. Probably you paid the original notaire and he is required to keep records of what became of your money.


Thank you Mike - very helpful. We have physically been to the Land Registry who have printed off everything they have for the property concerned, and it is not there. But I will explore the website you sent to see if there are other alternatives.

You could also ask at the Mairie. If you are lucky, you might find someone who will be able and willing to advise you.

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The tax office must have an owner on record to send the taxe foncière bills to, but may not be able to disclose the name to a third party.

Thanks Anna. The tax office will have names on their records, but just because you pay tax and are registered at an address for tax purposes, I dont think it can prove that you own the property or not if that makes sense.

It’s always the owner who is liable for taxe foncière. TF is a tax on property ownership.
As distinct from the occupier who pays the taxe d’habitation and as you say may be registered at that address for income tax.

I understand, thank you for the clarification.

If it helps I know our purchase in 1999 was registered at the sous-prefecture as well as the notaire, although not the nearest one, it could be worth writing to your prefecture and all the sous-prefecture in your department.

Thank you for your suggestion Martin. We have physically been to the local “Centre Des Finances Publiques, Impôts, trésoreries” which has the “Land Registry” in the same building and they have printed off everything relating to the property - unfortunately no luck.


Thanks Catharine - I’ve messaged him and Helene. Fingers crossed…

He has changed jobs so may have not updated his email address - I will get hold of him tomorrow- if you DM me your email I can put you in touch directly? X

Thank you Catharine - appreciate any advice and help.

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The notaire is professionally and legally bound to have copies of promesse de vente and the final sale. I’m in the same boat and have been dragging my heels about it because I thought maybe naively it wouldn’t be complicated. How stupid of me, I live in France!

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I agree. The notaire is bound by law to act in a professional manner ( unlike estate agents who can be unregulated bandits)
It is their job to notify the land registry on the transfer of ownership with payment.
If you have records of payment from your bank, and records of the auction purchase and you have been paying tax foncière there must be enough there To prove your case. In which case I would either hire another notaire to follow up this incompetence or perhaps fraud.
I am not sure about auctions,…and whether the auctioneer would be responsible for the land transfer. But in a normal transaction the land registry has to be done by the notaire and they take a 3% fee… plus your purchase tax.