Friday, January 29, 2016

Vices cachés - hidden defects - when selling a French property

A French court has recently ruled that a vendor of a French property who did not disclose the presence of noisy neighbours to a buyers was guilty of concealing 'a hidden defect' and has been ordered to pay 9000 euros in compensation.

The court cames to its decision after finding that there was sufficient evidence in the form of written complaints by other residents and it was clear that the vendor was fully aware of this nuisance.

A 'vice caché' is a defect - most commonly physical - in a property, such as a cracked wall, hidden damp, evidence of subsidence - that is known to the vendor at the time of selling but deliberately not disclosed to a buyer, who can claim damages as a result.

French courts take the view that property buyers are expected to 'act prudently' and take the usual precautions, such as employing a surveyor,  And that vendors cannot be held responsible for defects of which they were genuinely unaware and accordingly could not disclose to a vendor.