After acquiring an apartment, a house or any other real estate, you are faced with significant problems which prevent you from fully enjoying your property.

These problems are called hidden defects and luckily the civil code protects buyers. A buyer can turn against the seller if he discovers hidden defects that were not communicated during the sale. To be considered a hidden defect, a problem must be so important that the buyer:

  • Would not have bought the good
  • Would have requested a lower price due to the hidden defect

Note that a hidden defect must be prior to the sale and it is up to the buyer to prove it.

Certain frequent hidden defects: Fragility of the foundations, presence of animals or insects such as cockroaches or thermites, significant risk of flooding.

As a buyer, make sure you all check the results of your property diagnosis very carefully.

How long does it take to turn around after discovering a hidden defect in a house?

Since 2005, buyers have 2 years to turn around after discovering a hidden defect. Both intervene after the discovery of the defect and not after the sale.

You can therefore very well turn around after the discovery of a hidden defect even if the sale was made several years ago.

For more information, we invite you to consult the Immobilier Danger website, an excerpt of which is below:

“For all sales signed since February 17, 2005, the purchaser has a period of two years from the date of discovery of the defect to take legal action (article 1648 of the Civil Code).

Concretely, you must send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to the seller within two years of the moment you found this problem.

It is the tribunal de grande instance on which the sector where the accommodation is located will settle the conflict between the buyer and the seller. If the defect was also hidden from your seller during his purchase, he can then turn against his seller as long as it is possible to prove that the defect already existed when the sales contracts were signed.

What compensation can you get?

You can first try to come to an amicable arrangement with the seller. Then, if this is not successful, you will have to go to the tribunal de grande instance. You will be able to obtain different things according to articles 1644 and 1646 of the Civil Code: Cancellation of the sale: the seller must return the sale price to you as well as the acquisition costs that you have incurred (notary fees, expenses of agency, etc.).

Financial compensation: the seller can pay you a certain amount of money which allows the repair of this defect or which reduces the purchase price taking into account the loss of value caused by this problem. It is also possible that the seller will be ordered to pay you damages. In the case of a particular seller, his bad faith must be proven.

In the case of a professional seller, this will always be the case since a professional must be aware of all the defects in the property he is selling. "

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