Buying a property with an ongoing legal procedure

When considering purchasing a condominium, you may find that the condominium in question is subject to an ongoing legal procedure. It is important to understand the nature of such procedures, as they can range from minor to significant. Take the time to assess their implications before committing to your real estate purchase.

What does "procédure en cours" mean?

The term "procédure en cours" typically applies to condominium properties. By purchasing such a property, you commit to contributing to the maintenance and upkeep of common areas within the building, such as shared spaces, green areas, facade, roof, etc.

These responsibilities include contributing to the condominium's common budget to cover management expenses. Each owner's share is calculated based on their "tantièmes," which determines the condominium fees. Sometimes, owners may fail to pay their dues, resulting in a "procédure en cours" notice. There are various types of procedures with different implications.

It's important to note that according to the law, any real estate listing must disclose potential alerts, judicial recovery procedures, or situations of neglect. However, there's no requirement to disclose procedures related to unpaid dues. Therefore, if an advertisement states "no ongoing procedures," it does not necessarily mean that there are no issues within the condominium.

Sometimes, the mention of a procedure can actually be a positive sign. It indicates that the condominium management is actively addressing outstanding issues with delinquent owners and not allowing such situations to persist. At the conclusion of the procedure, these owners are required to settle their outstanding debts in full.

What are the different types of procedures?

There are several types of procedures, varying in severity:

- The "procédure d’alerte" (alert procedure) is initiated when the overdue payment rate within a condominium reaches 25% for buildings with fewer than 200 units, or 15% for buildings with more than 200 units. The condominium syndicate or a group of owners representing at least 15% of shares can trigger this procedure. In such cases, the court may appoint a special administrator to diagnose the condominium's issues and recommend actions to rectify them, such as repairs or legal actions against delinquencies.

- "Redressement judiciaire" (judicial recovery) aims to quickly restore normal operations within the condominium. A temporary administrator is appointed by the court to identify and implement measures to rectify the situation.

- The procedure for "copropriété en état de carence" (condominium in neglect) is the most severe stage. In this situation, the syndicate is unable to maintain the property adequately due to prolonged neglect. This procedure can lead to the potential expropriation of residents, as decided by the court.

What documents should you collect when purchasing real estate?

When purchasing a condominium, it is essential to obtain a "pré-état daté" issued by the condominium syndicate. This document lists any ongoing legal procedures. If the seller has outstanding dues, they are solely responsible for settling them. If unable to do so at the time of sale, the corresponding amount will be deducted from the selling price.

Additionally, other documents that must be provided to the buyer include:

- Financial documents of the selling owner and those of the condominium.

- Condominium rules and the minutes of the last three general meetings.

- The condominium's establishment diagnostics, required for buildings over 15 years old.

- The building's maintenance log, detailing past work done within the condominium.

In the event of ongoing procedures within the condominium, it is crucial to assess the risks and seek advice, especially from a notary. Not all procedures pose significant risks, and some may have minimal impact.

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