Covid-19: Buying French property under the new lockdown
Here’s what you need to know about making a property purchase during the second confinement
As expected, France is in a second lockdown, which is scheduled to last until at least 1 December. Like the new UK lockdown, however, things are slightly different from the first time round. We’ve provided answers to some of the key questions you might have if you are in currently in the process of buying a house in France.
Can I still move to a property in France?
Yes. It has been confirmed twice, by Prime Minister Jean Castex and then by the Minister for Housing that house moves can still take place, regardless of travel restrictions. In order to move into a French property, however, you will need to be able to provide documents including a deed of sale (or rental agreement if you are moving into a rented property), and proof of your current and next addresses. Only moving companies and members of your household are permitted to help you with the move.
Are estate agencies still running?
Yes, but only remotely. Estate agents’ offices have had to close, however the majority are still operating as usual on an email, telephone or video basis. They are also permitted to carry out home visits, for example to take property photos, so long as the property is temporarily vacant and strict safety measures are in place.
Can I view properties?
No. According to the current restrictions it’s not currently possible to visit a property you might wish to purchase, however over the year many estate agents have begun offering virtual property tours and will also be able to answer any detailed questions you may have about a property.
Can I see a notaire?
Yes, but only if it’s impossible for procedures to be carried out remotely. The Superior Council of Notaires (CSN) has welcomed a decree which states that it’s acceptable to travel to a public service or legal professional for an act or service that cannot be carried out remotely. In cases where a remote signature is not possible, strict health protocols will be followed.
This decree means that other services such as banks, insurance companies and land registration services are all open too, but still only operating face-to-face if absolutely necessary.
Can property diagnostics be carried out?
Yes. Since diagnostics professionals fall into the category of those who are allowed to continue operating, and since they are unable to carry out their work remotely, they are still allowed to visit properties to carry out assessments. Diagnostics including the DPE (energy performance), asbestos checks, gas and electricity inspections, and checks to investigate the presence of termites, are all required prior to the sale of a house, and can all still be carried out.
Can renovation and buiding works continue?
Yes. The French Minister for Housing has said that craftsmen can still go to properties to carry out building or renovation works, as long as safety measures are in place.
If you are part-way through a property purchase and have any other questions, your estate agent should be able to advise you. In the meantime, be reassured that this time, lockdown does not have to put a pause on French property transactions. Find more information at SeLoger,
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