Deed of sale: Pay attention to the diagnosis

Real Estate Law
Source: Supreme Court - ch. mixte, 8 July 2015, n° 13-26.686


In this law case, a couple had acquired a property for residential purpose.
They were told, before the sale, about the parasitic state established by a society specialised in real estate diagnosis. However, while they were doing works in the building, they discovered an advanced state of termite infestation.
Following the legal expertise, they have issued a writ for the compensation of their damage to the sellers, the society of diagnosis and the real estate agency through which they had acquired the property, as well as the insurance company of the society that established the diagnosis, which had, in the meantime, gone bankrupt.
The judges have condemned the insurance company to pay various sums to the couple, for the compensation of their material damage.
The insurance company appealed against this decision to the Supreme Court, which dismissed it, in accordance with the article L.271-4 of the Construction and Housing Code, which provides that the diagnosis file, in annex of the sale agreement or the authentic deed of sale of a real estate, ensures the buyer against the risk mentioned in the third paragraph, section I.2, of this text.
According to the Supreme Court: "the responsibility of the diagnostician is involved when the diagnosis has not been undertaken in accordance with the norms and rules, and that it happens to be inaccurate; having noted that the deficient investigations of the society had not permitted for the buyers to be informed of the actual state of parasitic infestation of the building and noted as well that the latter were forced to do some work in order to fix it, the court of appeal deducted exactly, from these only motives, that the material damage suffered by the couple, because of this inaccurate diagnosis, had a certain character and the insurance company owed them its guarantee."