Some care needs to be taken when purchasing an
old property in France, or for that matter selling it with a "vice
caché" which is undeclared.
The French cour de cassation has just confirmed an award of
demolition costs of €130,000 on a property with severe cracks and
foundation issues purchased for €98,000. see Cass. 3e civ.
30-1-2020 n° 19-10.176 FS-PBI. This is the second case taken to
cassation on the sale of the property.
The first cassation reversed a Court of Appeal assesment on
the notary and the agent immbilier for 10% of the
The vendor was aware of the "vice", and the argument that
it was an old property sold "en état" with the usual caveat emptor
terminology in the acte de vente did not wash.
The choice of remedy and therefore heads of damage
available to the purchaser in good faith is wide, and not limited
to the whole or part of the purchase price. If the purchaser
choooses to keep the property, they can therefore have it
demolished and obtain restitution of the demolition
The purchasers ended up acquiring a freed building plot for
a cost of €83,000 ready to build a new property.
There are a wide range of remedies available
to the purchaser against a seller in bad faith. The
remedies available are an indemnity, when the buyer choses to keep
the property as here, or independently an "action
rédhibitoire" or "action estimative".
The French purchase procedure does not normally include a
right to a survey.