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Step 3 : Keys handover and starting point of building guarantees

Keys handover or delivery

It is important first because you are at last taking delivery of your new home, so it will be a pleasant moment. It is also important because it is the starting point of the guarantees covering your new home.

Properly speaking it is the developer which takes delivery of the new build development (called ‘réception’ in the developers’ jargon) from the companies which have accomplished the works. A ‘procès verbal’ is set up between the developer and the companies.

Then comes your turn to take delivery of your French new home with the developer. You will also have to sign a ‘procès verbal’ where the potential defects will be written down in a snagging list. Do not be afraid of missing something on the D-day. The buyer of a French new home still has one month to warn the developer of any obvious defect not detected during the keys handover. This has to be done by recorded mail. The developer is by law obliged to have this defect fixed.

Then the guarantee of perfect or faultless completion (‘garantie de parfait achèvement’) starts to cover you new home. It covers the defects that you couldn’t detect during the delivery because they have been revealed later. Once again, these defects have to be reported by recorded delivery mail. This is important to know because for that specific purpose you might want to spend some time in your newly released home before going back home.

Starting point of longer term guarantees

The keys handover is also the starting landmark of 2 major guarantees of a new build property:

  • The biennal guarantee or guarantee of proper functioning (“garantie biennale ou garantie de bon fonctionnement”) is a 2-year fixtures and fittings warranty that ensures the proper working of equipments inside your home (eg: heating, window frames…) after the delivery.
  • The second guarantee is the decennial guarantee (“la garantie décennale”) which is a 10-year structural warranty covering all construction faults undermining the solidity of the building or that would turn it improper for habitation.

These 2 guarantees have a counterpart called ‘assurance dommages ouvrage’ which the developer is obliged to subscribe on your behalf. It enables works to be undertaken and paid by the insurance company without waiting to know which professional is responsible for the defect.

This insurance starts at the mere report of damages. This insurance is transmitted from one owner to the following, so if you are buying a resale new home you should receive from the notary the appropriate certificate.