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Ask TKenney, Ph.D. Your Own Question
TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 831
Experience:  Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
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I am buying a house in France. The area under the house was

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I am buying a house in France. The area under the house was finished by the owner as a wine celler and an open room. The plan submitted for the building permit showed only a open area. The Seller has lived in the house for 11 years. Should I be worried about this.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

The French trial court, the trial failed to recognize that the acquisition of properrty constructed without a permit more than three years after its construction could be a prejudice (judgment of the Court of Appeal of Paris, 29 March 2001) making the seller liable the .

Customer:

The house was built with a permit and a certificate of conformity issued after construction. The plans for house submitted, however, did not show the basement. The basement was finished later without a permit. I do not understand your answer at all. Was the sale declared void or something else?

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Sorry the begining of my answer did not show up. I wrote that in French law there is a statute of limitation (law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought) of 3 years criminally for properrty constructed without a permit and 5 years for the civil matter. The seller lived in the house for more than 11 years, however, you need to know when the cave (basement) was finished. The statute of mimitationbegins after the construction without a permit was finished. The local town hall can oblige the owner of the property to destroy the construction that was built without a construction permit, unless the owner aquired the above mentioned satute of limitation.. You should be worried about this only if the contruction was finished (and you have the poper proof) less than 3 years (criminal) and 5 years (civil). You are now aware of the situation before you buy the property. If you buy the property and are later ordered to destroy the basement, you can not sue the seller for damages. A French trial court failed to recognize that the acquisition of properrty constructed without a permit more than three years after its construction could be a prejudice (injury) to the buyer making the seller liable to pay damages (judgment of the Court of Appeal of Paris, 29 March 2001).

TKenney, Ph.D. :

You will need proper proof of the date when the construction without a permit was finished. If the basement was finished 11 years ago (and you have the proof), then you have nothing to worry about because of the statute of limitation. If the basement was finished a year ago then, you will be taking a risk because the staute of limitation will nt have been acqired.

Customer:

One last question, How many years is the Statute of Limitations to which you make reference.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

3 years (for a criminal cas) and 5 years (for a civil civil case).

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