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How does the droit de préemption urbain work in a French real estate transaction?

When you make an offer to buy a property in France you may find out that after you have signed the compromis de vente that the local government has pre empted your right to purchase the property.

In fact, instead of you being able to buy your dream French property the local government will exercise their pre emptive right to purchase the property (called in French droit de préemption urbain)  This may happen when they may see the property as ideal for development purpose like the creation of an administrative building for the local French government.

To see if the local government wishes to replace you as buyer of the property your notary typically will draft a document called Declaration d’intention d’aliéner (DIA) which is sent to the local government or city hall called Mairie in French. The Mairie has one or two months to reply to this notice and tell the your notary if they wish to exercise their droit de préemption urbain and assume the purchase of the property.

People other than the French government may have a pre emptive right to the property you wish to buy. You need to check with your French notary directly to see if you will be impacted by pre emptive rights.

Learn more about the process of buying a property in France by getting us to put you in contact with an English speaking French real estate agent or English speaking French notary. Simple click here.

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