Expats: The Paris Insider: Problems with my French Realtor

Expats: The Paris Insider: Problems with my French Realtor

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Jean’s advice: Before answering this very
technical question, I must first explain the legalities of this
situation. Under French law, two people agreeing on just two things
creates a complete contract, which must be implemented. The mandate you
signed very probably gives the realtor the complete right to represent
you within the terms of the contract. Thus, as long as the neighbor’s
offer complies with the terms of the mandate, the realtor is within his
rights to accept the offer on your behalf, and you are legally bound to
accept it, almost as if you had done so yourself. So, legally speaking,
you must proceed with this sale. Now, if you can prove that you gave
firm instructions to the realtor not to sell to your neighbor, you can
walk out of the deal and leave the realtor alone to compensate the
neighbor. Keep in mind that you need to have written proof of this
instruction–an e-mail would do it. Be extremely careful if you choose
this route.

If you have nothing in writing, you might
have a way out that is tricky, but feasible. If this neighbor has done
things you can document, and any of them are illegal, you could have a
case against your neighbor and could claim a sizeable damage payment.
Then, depending on your ability to play this game, your neighbor might
back off, reasoning that you have enough of a claim that a judge would
award you a good portion of what you ask in damages.

If you
refuse to go through with the closing of the sale, your neighbor and
the realtor will take you to court to have the accepted offer confirmed
by the judge. With a ruling stating that the sale is final, they can
take the matter to any notaire to do the closing and transfer the
ownership. However, if you are entitled to a sizeable amount in
damages, taking you to court will mean the amount to purchase the house
will jump by the amount awarded to you. This can be a powerful
deterrent. In any case, you absolutely need your own lawyer and notaire
to have a chance of being successful with this. This is by no means a
sure thing.