Explanation of diagnostics


For each and every sale, in accordance with the law; the levels of lead present in all painted surfaces must be recorded and an evaluation is carried out in all buildings built before 1948. All buildings are subject to this law including commercial properties. The experts report is valid for a period of one year and must be reviewed without question for any sale taking place above and beyond this time delay.

The Battle against lead poisoning.

The above measures are taken in order to prevent the ingestion of flakes of paint containing lead by both adults and children (children are especially vulnerable as paint containing lead has a very sweet flavor). In rare cases the ingestion of paint containing lead has proven to be fatal. The assessment is carried out using a fluorescent X machine, the results must not exceed 1mg/cm² of lead contained in the area of analysis.

Precautions taken:

If the recorded levels of lead exceed the legal requirement yet the painted surfaces are in good condition and show no damage making the ingestion of paint flakes very difficult, the findings will simply be recorded on the experts report.

If the surfaces are in poor condition and there is a real risk of ingestion, the vendor is obliged by the law to inform the prefect and also transfer a copy of the experts report detailing the levels of risk.


Asbestos diagnosis is obligatory when any building having a building permit granted before 1st July 1997 is put up for sale. Asbestos testing must be carried out by a registered and competent professional who is obliged to submit copies of both his/hers professional details and insurance certificates alongside the technical report.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral material used previously by the building industry for its solid and flame resistant qualities. On the 1st July 1997 asbestos and its use became illegal throughout the French Territory.

In order to submit the required report the registered professional will locate areas which he believes to contain asbestos and samples are taken and submitted to laboratory testing. The expert can also measure the levels of asbestos dust in the air which legally must not exceed 5 asbestos fibers per litre of air.

If the laboratory results show higher than acceptable levels of asbestos or asbestos dust all areas concerned must be confined and the asbestos must be removed by a professional. If the asbestos is detected yet acceptable levels are recorded providing no risk to public health the expert’s diagnosis report is valid for a period of three years, beyond which a new diagnosis must be carried out and a new certificate provided.


A technical report carried out by a professional in search of termite activity is valid for a period of 3 months only. Termites are a rapidly developing insect feeding on products containing cellulose, (wood, paper etc) Any inspection carried out and revealing a negative conclusion cannot rule out the possibility of termite infestation.

After many years of campaigning, on the 8th June 1999 the Assemblé Nationale voted unanimously to create the law no.99-471 with the intention of protecting both vendors and purchasers from both termite and other insect damage.

Several amendments were made to the law no.99-471 throughout the years and in 2001 the code was modified to include obligatory preventative measures to be taken concerning all future construction programs.


The “carrez” law obliges the vendor to indicate the exact surface in square meters of the property he wishes to sell whether it be new or older construction with the exception of detached houses and buildings.

If the measured surface area is inferior by more than 5% to that of the measured surface stated on the Contract of Sale the purchaser has one year from the date of the signature of the sale to obtain a reimbursement in the price of the acquisition.

These legal obligations concern only properties forming a co-ownership program making single habitation properties exempt from this rule (eg detached houses, villas etc)

  • During the signature of the sale, the vendor is obliged to provide a certificate stating the measured surface of any property found in a co-ownership program ( apartment buildings).
  • Only living space measuring 1m80 or more in height is recorded during the expertise carried out on the property. Staircases, window recesses, steps etc do not conform to this definition.
  • If an error is brought to the purchasers attention and a new expertise reveals a difference of 5% or more between the two registered values the purchaser can obtain financial compensation. The purchaser has one year from the date of purchase to bring to light any discrepancy.


Since the 1st June 2006 both the vendor and the leasor are responsible for informing the purchaser or lease holder as to the level of natural, seismic or technological estimated risk in the area where the purchased or rented property is located. More information concerning this ruling.

Any purchaser of modest revenues wishing to obtain a 0% mortgage must provide and submit a habitability certificate to their lending organization. Please find more information here.


Obligatory since the 1st November 2006 for each and every property transaction an energy performance diagnosis must be carried out.

What is an EPD?

The energy performance diagnosis (EPD) is carried out on any building or section of a building in order to measure the levels of energy consumed or to estimate the consumption giving a clear classification to purchasers allowing an energy performance comparison to be made. The diagnosis also provides advice and recommendations concerning the more efficient use of energy. (art.1.134-1)

Why carry out an EPD?

  • To inform the future purchaser or tenant
  • Possibility of comparing several buildings
  • To raise awareness and encourage occupants to carry out the necessary works to reduce energy consumption and reduce emissions contributing to the Green House effect.


Who is concerned?

As of the 1st November 2007 both individuals and registered companies wishing to sell the apartments and houses that they own and which feature natural gas installations which are more than 15 years old must conduct an obligatory gas survey in order to limit the security risks taken by the purchaser.


Without having to dismount the existing gas installations the following points established by the decree of 6th April 2007 are controlled by a professionally appointed expert. The diagnosis focuses on the four key areas of gas installation:

  • The pipe work ( checking for leaks)
  • The connections used to link the gas to the machines (presence and accessibility of a gas tap)
  • Good ventilation (in-put and out-put of air)
  • Combustion (Carbon dioxide controls, gas chimney etc)

A Gas Testo 327 machine is used for testing the gas chimney and the levels of Charbon Dioxide.