Paperwork from the Notaire - Should I employ a solictor?

We have had the paperwork from the Notaire regarding our purchase. Reviewing some of the sections has flagged some areas of concern, regarding conversion permits (which I am baffled why its in the compromis at all). I seem to have a condition to get a building permit within 2 months of signing et al. I don’t know if 2 months is enough time.

Anyway, my question is should I get my own english speaking Notaire (we are using the sellers because we were promised they speak English, but they don’t) to advise me…

or hire a english speaking solicitor to check the paperwork et al.

What was your experience?

A notarie is not a solicitor and does not represent either the buyer or the seller, they represent the government. It is normal for both parties to use the same notaire but if you use a different one it costs no more. The two notaries split the fee. No notaire is permitted to allow you to sign documents if they believe that you don’t understand what you are signing and might demand that you provide a translator. You can ask the notaire to explain the content of the compris. Only you know if the details are beyond you and you need the advice of a solicitor. It is rare for solicitors to be involved in house sales in France but perhaps your purchase is more complicated than normal.

Are you sure you didn’t ask for a clause suspensive to be inserted so you could pull out of sale if you didn’t get your planning permission? As that’s what your description sounds like.

We didn’t use anyone other than shared notaire, but then no need as our french is good.

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It’s a tricky one, we used Heslop & Platt ( ) but didn’t feel they added much to our very straightforward transaction.

However as Martin says if you want someone “on your side” then that is definitely not the Notaire and if you are unsure it might be worth engaging a bilingual solicitor to advise, for peace of mind if nothing else.

Actually I think the planning clause is our fault.

We asked for the offer to be “subject to planning permission” as you would in the UK. So they have granted this but with a 2 month counter-clause.

The property is a shed basically or grange, that was once used for wine production. It probably has termites, but as we are removing most of the roof its not really a problem.

The concrete "cuve"s are huge, and I hope they are free standing (ie not cemented to the wall) and not subterranean.

Apart from that its pretty low risk as we are only buying the four stones walls.

Darren, have you checked with the Mairie about Planning guides/restrictions etc… just to check that you will be able to do what you are planning?

This can be verbal, no need for paperwork, just for guidance, but folk in my area always do have a chat. Also, 2 months is not long if you have to provide a Plan etc to the Mairie, once you have bought. There can be all sorts of delays within the Planning system/bureaucracy.

Yes I agree, two months isn’t long enough to do this.

Can you make my day and allow me to say “I thought so!” ?

Oh, and two months is the normal timescale for a permis de construire for a new house, which is probably why it is there. Unless the Marie writes to request a longer time, if you haven’t had a response in the specified timescale then your request is automatically granted. The sellers of course will not want to be kept on a string for longer than necessary. However I seem to remember that renovation applications have a longer timetable.

For our first purchase we here we used an English solicitor who translated the French contract. If you are unsure do it.

We are using a solicitor. Peace of mind more than anything. First purchase fell through because they gave us some pointers that stopped us in our tracks and saved us a lot of money and heartache.

You win…happy ? :grin:

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Would you mind me asking who you are using? Perhaps you could PM me.

If of any interest we used Susan Busby

France Legal
The Stables
Mill Lane, Rattlesden
Bury St Edmunds
IP30 0SQ

Tel/Fax: 00 44 [(0) 1449 736644](tel:(0) 1449 736644)

I think she charged approx £450 for reviewing and translating our documents.

We are using Barbara Heslop in Leeds. They recommended an architect who did the planning application. We are currently waiting the 2 month
approval from the mairie.
Good luck…

We used Barbara’s, then boss Graham, many years ago, and glad we did. Yes, it cost us a bit more but well worth the peace of mind knowing everything was done in accordance with French law & we understood everything fully. If in doubt, get it checked out! and good luck for the future.

As an aside we had a pool built before getting permission- even the pool builders didn’t ask if we had it and so we had to apply for it retrospectively - very funny - we did get it but we panicked for a while !

A “blitz” of paperwork descended on our commune in recent months. Folk were asked to “own-up” to whatever they had had done without permission. Those who had erred in error were treated gently while those who had erred quite deliberately had their Taxe-Fonxière increase backdated to when the work was actually done. Oooops :frowning::anguished::disappointed_relieved: