Once the potential buyer has found the property he/she wants to buy, he/she will have to complete a number of steps, sign various documents, in order to become the owner. One of the documents that the potential buyer will be submitted is commonly called “compromis de vente”.

As this is a real contract, a sales agreement signed by both parties is final.

It commits the signatories to conclude the sale at a determined price. The sales agreement may be registered and the sale will then be the subject of an authentic notarial deed.

Since this private deed is a real commitment, it is very common to insert suspension clauses (example: the compromise only comes into force if the potential buyer is granted a bank loan to finance the acquisition of the building).

“Compromise de vente is worth sale”: this well-known expression means that the sales contract is perfect as soon as the compromise is signed. Therefore, you should be extra careful before putting your signature on such a document.

The establishment and signing of a sales agreement are subject to 2 conditions:

– the seller must have the legal capacity to sell the property, and the buyer to buy it

– the thing and the price must be determined.

The notarial deed drawn up makes the private agreement signed between the parties enforceable against third parties. The non-fulfillment of this formality does not in any way detract from the definitive and binding nature of the sales agreement, from which one cannot in principle withdraw.

The signing of a sales agreement is however not compulsory: the seller and the buyer could go to the notary without having first concluded a sales agreement, at the risk nevertheless for the buyer of losing the option he could have had on the good.

To be valid, the compromise must at least contain the names and addresses of the parties, the designation (cadastral references, etc.) of the building to be sold, the sale price and the terms of payment. Other mentions are possible: the existence of any easements, the name of the notary and the date of signature of the deed or the date scheduled for the entry into possession (which takes place by the handing over of the keys). The sales agreement may also contain an occupancy indemnity clause in the event that the keys are not handed over on the scheduled date.

Beyond these mentions, almost all sales agreements still contain a certain number of special clauses subjecting the sale covered by the agreement to conditions. source: My Guichet

It is mandatory by law to do a written and contradictory condition inventory of the PROPERTY before the new tenants entries and takes possession of the property, each time the lease contract provides the obligation for the tenant to provide a rental guarantee.

An inventory of fixtures is to be established together by the landlord and the tenant (or their agents) at the latest at the moment of entry into use of the rented premises. The more precise it is, the more it can serve as a reference for future problems. It is dated and signed by both parties at the time it is established.

All matters regarding maintenance and repair works of a rented property is determined in the legal document: Code civil & Loi du 22 septembre 2006

Small reparations, and SPECIALLY THOSE DUE TO USAGE, like changing bulbs, and small maintenance works, like inspecting the heating, cleaning joints and sanitary installation, eliminating bumps and stripes on doors and chassis, fill in holes in walls and ceilings, changing some broken ceramic tiles, broken windowsill, broken splitting walls, locks, blinds traps, handlebars, and all door closing systems are responsibility of the TENANT.

Also, all repairs consequence of carelessness or misuse of the tenant are also responsibility of the tenant. (ex: broken window glass)

Most RENOVATION works are responsibility of the landlord for example: old kitchen appliances, water heater, heating, blinds and water taps, building works, roofing, gutter, water evacuation systems, old windows, heating, sanitary installations (toilet seat, bath etc) , window painting, exterior door painting, exterior walls painting, floor coating, etc

THE FAMOUS PAINTING CLAUSE: The landlord can explicitly say in the contract that the property has to be repainted by the tenant once he leaves the property and the end of the tenancy period.

Consumption of energy (gas, electricity, water, fuel)

Common maintenance of the property and common parts (cleaning services, garden maintenance services, equipment maintenance (boiler, elevator, etc)

Technical management fees, Minor repairs, Municipal taxes on garbage and water.

An annual statement of expenses must be sent to the tenant. On the basis of documentary evidence, the landlord can effect an annual adjustment. According to the bill, the tenant is asked to pay a supplement if the actual costs exceed the advances, and vice versa, the lessor must make a refund if he overestimates them.

Under this clause, the buyer is only obliged to acquire the building after having received a loan from a banking establishment.

In order to avoid the seller being obliged to wait indefinitely before the buyer informs him of the agreement or refusal of a bank loan, the parties then provide for a period in writing within which the buyer undertake to send the bank’s response to the seller.

The parties are free to set the duration of this period. However, the deadline must be long enough for the purchaser to have reasonable time to submit a loan request to his bank and receive a response, before the deadline has expired. The delays observed in practice are at least 4 to 6 weeks. It is possible to extend this period via an official letter from the bank certifying that a request for the granting of a bank loan has been submitted and that it is being processed.

The clause is called “suspensive”, because it suspends the effects of the compromise until the buyer has obtained the bank loan. In the event of a dispute, the courts verify that the purchaser has performed the clause in good faith and with the necessary diligence. Thus, in the event of a lawsuit, it is up to the purchaser to prove that he has actually requested a loan from at least one banking establishment, that this request has been made in time in order to enable the bank to verify if it grants the requested loan, and that the purchaser has informed the seller of the bank’s agreement or refusal within the period stipulated in the compromise. Source: My Guichet

This is a clause by which the contracting parties provide in advance for the payment of lump sum compensation by the party who terminates the compromise without being entitled to it. In other words, the penalty clause consists in the attribution to the creditor of an obligation, in the event of non-performance, of a sum of money determined by the contract, without this sum in principle being able to be adjusted by a tribunal. The penalty clause provides for a fixed price which avoids having to quantify the damage suffered.

In practice, the amount of this compensation is set at 10% of the sale price.

Example: the sale price is set at 350,000 euros. The buyer obtains a bank loan, but nevertheless refuses to pass the notarial deed of sale. In the event of the presence in the compromise of a penalty clause of 10% of the sale price, the purchaser then exposes himself to having to pay the seller 35,000 euros as conventional damages. Source: My Guichet

Often, the parties stipulate in the compromise who will bear the costs of the notary, and if necessary, the real estate agent’s fees

Although the parties are free to leave the notary fees to the seller or the buyer, the practice is established in the sense that the notary fees are borne by the buyer.

The parties are free to perform the notarial deed with the notary of their choice (the address of the building does not matter). If the name of the acting notary has not been provided by mutual agreement, it is generally up to the party paying the notarial fees to bring in the notary of his choice.

When the sale has been concluded following the intervention of a real estate agent, the latter’s commission (generally amounting to 3% of the sale price of the building + VAT) is payable by the party who mandated the real estate agent, therefore generally at the expense of the seller.

Source: My Guichet

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