Roche & Cie

France property system: reliable and safe

30 Jul 2015

French property system : safe and reliable !

French gastronomy, climate and monuments are often mentioned when talking to foreign investors about French attractiveness. But these people should be brought in a solicitor office or in one of the 254 services of the land publicity in France…

These services are constantly updating real estate data which contains the legal information relative to all built and not built properties. In this way, they guarantee legal security to the real estate transactions, as well as the title deeds preservation.

Notaries ensure legal security of the deeds they receive duly certified.

Both these combined actors allow France having one of the surest property systems in the world.

Secure real estate transactions reassure companies and private individuals who want to make long-term industrial, touristic or patrimonial investments.

Functioning of the French property system – Comparison with other countries

A reliable security system of the real estate transactions is based on three pillars:

  • precise and concrete identification of the property on plans or files. In France, this function is accomplished by the land registry service
  • a deed offering a nearly perfect legal security (sale, division, gift…). In France, it is the notarial act.
  • An immovable property registry, held by the services of land publicity in France, which lists all legal deeds relative to all the properties of all kind of owners.

In other countries, this legal certainty is not ensured. For example, in Morocco, some houses dispose of a “Muslim” title deed and not a land one. In this case, the buyer is running the risk of having to compensate one or more of his/her joint tenant heirs after the sale of the property.

According to Notaires de France, in the United States, one deed in three is the subject of litigation against one deed in 1.100 in France. The “subprimes” crisis is emblematic of the legal uncertainty in the US.

Advantages of the French land system

In France, the solicitor ensures support to people wishing to organize the transfer of an immovable property. Through this system, a double check is carried out:

  • The one done by the solicitor, by preparing, authenticating and preserving the deeds for 75 years.
  • The one done by the state employees of the land publicity by registering the deed in the real estate file.

This system secures the sale of real estate without complementary costs against the system of the “common law” countries where the contracting parties are incited to subscribe a paying insurance policy qualified as “title insurance”, supposed to guarantee the titles of a property.

This system prevents conflicts by avoiding having to go before the courts for litigation relative to the rights on a property.

The French property system is reliable and sure. It clearly allows anticipating the fees to be supported (lawyer, solicitor, taxes…) and avoiding to go before the courts.

It is one of the stones of the French legal system allowing reducing financial and geopolitical risks which could affect your assets.

You can find out more about real estate investments in France here. 

Cabinet Roche & Cie, English speaking accountant in Lyon, France.
Specialist in Real estate and non-résidents taxation.