We have recently acted for an English couple whom we helped to retract the contract, with the effect that they were later able to renegotiate the purchase at a lower price because of matters of which they had not been made aware at the time when they actually signed the first contract.

We also acted for an English couple buying a French property which had undergone substantial structural work by the sellers. Luckily, the buyers had consulted us before signing the first contract and we were able to make certain amendments to the contract which would later become vital when a dispute arose between us and the local Notaire (whom the estate agent insisted should handle the final transfer deed) about the compulsory “no fault” insurance which the seller should have taken out before starting the work but had failed to do so. That insurance, (called “assurance dommage-ouvrage”) if it is taken out, would pay out to the owner for the time being of the property in the event of any structural defects arising from the works. That would mean that the owner whose property had suffered damage as a result of bad workmanship or materials would not have to prove negligence or breach of contract on the part of the builder. In this particular instance the sellers of the property had failed to take out this insurance, no doubt because it can be very expensive to do so.

The Notaires had tried to persuade us that the builder’s own insurance was equivalent to that no fault insurance. Finally the Notaires after a long argument between us and them, had to accept that we were right and in consequence agreed to the necessary clauses being inserted in the transfer deed which would enable our clients to make a claim against the sellers if structural defects manifested themselves in the future.

This shows the importance of buyers consulting a firm of experienced French property lawyers such as ourselves, with the requisite knowledge and expertise to advise them before signing the first contract put before them by the French Estate Agent.

In the course of acting for people buying a property in France we as French property lawyers have come across instances where, for example, there was a legal right of way through the building which the estate agent had not told our client about and most importantly was not mentioned in the first contract (compromis de vente) which the estate agents had tried to get our clients to sign. Luckily for them, we as experienced French property lawyers recognised this problem and our clients avoided making the costly mistake of buying this particular property.

We have come across a case where a Notaire has created a life interest of the elderly owners of a French property on them giving the remainder of the property to their children which would mean that on the parents’ deaths each of their interests in their share of the property would be subject to the full amount of UK Inheritance Tax because the donors had retained life interests. Had UK Solicitors who were also Anglo French lawyers such as Barney & Company, been asked to advise on the transaction, they would have strongly advised against the creation of such interests, and structured the transaction differently.

Mr BD said the following about our services in March 218:

“Thank you for your valued information – it was extremely helpful to talk with you and your advice has enabled us to have a very clear picture of the situation regarding our french property and will be acted upon. Thank you very much for your effort.”

Mrs TG of Halifax said the following about our services in March 2017:

“I used David Barney to assist with a Tenancy Agreement for my daughter who was moving to live in Paris, the apartments go so quickly and we needed a quick response. I would highly recommend his services.”

Mr MS said the following about our services in October 2016:

“Selling or purchasing a house in France can be a difficult, exasperating and time-consuming exercise. Mr Barney removes all that pressure. He is always available, understands the minutiae of French law with regard to housing and provides a level of support and assistance I have not experienced elsewhere in our legal services. If you are considering purchasing or selling a property in France I cannot recommend him more highly. He is your man.”

H and M of Scotland said the following about our services in September 2016:

“We found David via an internet search and were so pleased that we found him. He made the buying of our property in France much easier as we do not speak French as yet. He was always at the end of the phone when we needed an answer and always responded quickly to any queries we had. We always felt he was on our side the whole way through – would happily recommend or use again if we purchase again in France.”

Mr RC of Sussex said the following about our services in August 2016:

“I required a solicitor to handle the purchase of a Chalet in France. The internet guided me to Barney& Co Solicitors, so I called David Barney and spoke to some extent over my options and the best way to proceed over a conversation lasting a good 30 minutes.

David called me back with answers to several questions that I raised and this is what gave me the confidence in his expertise and client attention.
Subsequently I instructed David to handle my affairs and deal with the other parties demanding client and solicitor which he did.
The outcome is the purchase was undertaken with ease and only the speed of French property process slowed the process.

I would strongly recommend David and his associates.”

Mr AM said the following about our services in June 2016:

“We have just returned from France having purchased a house in very good condition compared with others of the same type. i.e. old stone built Bastide houses.

Thanks to your comments and advice I was able to get many necessary improvements carried out by the Vendors before we signed the final ‘acte’, and this has allowed us to get the work for our changes underway promptly after the purchase.”

Mr JM of Swindon said the following about our services in May 2016:

“My brother and I, who have little knowledge of the French legal system, were faced with signing complicated French legal documents to allow the sale of a French property in which we had a share.

We realised we were vulnerable and asked David Barney to act on our behalf. On examining the case, he realised that we were in danger of being seriously disadvantaged financially due to mistakes made in a previous property transaction. Mr Barney eventually managed to convince the Notaire managing the property sale that our claim for a larger share of the proceeds was correct. This led to a positive result for us which significantly exceeded Mr Barney’s fees.”

Ms ST of London said the following about our services in May 2016:

“David acted for me with respect to my late Father’s estate in France, including the sale of his home. David was extremely knowledgeable, very skilful in guiding me to the best possible outcome and very thorough in the way that he handled all aspects of the legal process – his help was invaluable. I also found David to be compassionate and thoughtful which made all the difference at such a difficult time. I have no hesitation in recommending him to you.”

Mr & Mrs E of Sawford, Hants said the following about our services in February 2016:

“David was very thorough throughout the process, and knew to look and ask for elements that we wouldn’t have thought of. He is determined to get the full picture for his clients before they commit to a transaction so they know exactly what they are buying into.”

Mr PK aid this about our services in January 2016:

“I can confirm that David acted for me in respect of the purchase of a property in France providing procedural advice, contract terms modification, supply of an independent Notaire and general comfort in the translation of technical French into English.
I have no hesitation in recommending the employment of David in these respects, who not only shows but operates by the ‘old fashioned’ levels of client care which were once the norm in the legal profession, rather than the ‘red tape’ which is so commonly met with today.”

Mr and Mrs SG of Devon said this about our services in December 2015:

“Both my wife and I would like to put on record how impressed with the service and care you have taken with the buying of our  first  property in France , all the information you gave us was simple to understand ,I was very grateful to find someone like yourself to guide us through the whole complicated process, as all the documents are in French, I was also impressed at how quickly you returned our phone call with numerous questions, nothing seemed to much trouble and your attention to detail was great, the whole process was smooth and easy to follow ,we would both recommend you to anyone buying a property in France as the service was second to none and will be using your services again on our next venture aboard.
Once again thank you for all your help and legal guidance with the law in France as it seems to differ from how we approach things in England.”

Ms  JK of N. Wales said the following about our services in July 2015

My ex and I purchased a house in France as an SCI (originally as a holiday home), but when we separated I decided to stay in the UK, while my ex moved to France.  Being an SCI meant that we owned the house 50/50, and I needed expert legal help to sort it out for me.
It proved to be a very complicated process, but David Barney managed every step with calm, thoughtful and sensible professionalism.  His advice to me was second to none at all times.
I couldn’t recommend David more highly.

Mr LL said the following about our services in April 2015

“In August 2014 my brother and I unexpectedly inherited two properties and large debts in France. We were shocked by the death of our sibling and the enormity of the task facing us. We do not speak French and didn’t have any knowledge of the complex and prohibitive French Inheritance Laws. I searched the Internet and found David. He has been reassuring and supportive. Always available by email or telephone. His experience of dealing with French  Notaires has guided us through a very difficult situation. We would highly recommend David for his knowledge, language skills, calmness and support. His mantra was “Don’t worry.”  Thank you, David”

Mr RG of Derbyshire said the following about our services
“David Barney acted for us in the sale of our French ski apartment, and was very efficient, helpful and cost effective. We highly recommend Barney & Co’s services.”

Mr & Mrs D J G who live in Wiltshire said about our services:
“We would like to thank David for his valuable advice and assistance with our property purchase in France.  It was very reassuring to have an expert in the process and the language, ensuring that we didn’t sign anything that we were unsure of.  David’s advice about the best way for us to purchase in our situation also made great sense and we are certainly much more aware of inheritance laws etc for the future. I would happily recommend David’s services for anyone needing help in buying a house in France in the future.”’

Mr MB of London said about our services:

David was extremely helpful in guiding us through a very difficult transaction. He was always available to spend time and give advice when needed and crucially able to advise us against incorporating several clauses in the agreement that would could have had most undesirable consequences and were not even flagged up by the French Notaire we had appointed to deal with the sale.

Mrs L Y of British Columbia, Canada writes about our services as follows:

“On behalf of my sister and I, I would like to express a huge appreciation and thanks for your expertise and diligence in the matter of our late sister’s estate in France.

Our initial reason for engaging your service was to assist in the translation and understanding of the plethoric volume of legal documents requiring our signatures and immediate payment of succession tax quoted therein. Your familiarity with the language, and your expert knowledge and evaluation of the complexities involved in the calculation of the French succession tax quickly uncovered a significant error, which undoubtedly, we would have paid had we not engaged your services. Furthermore, you identified exemption of these taxes for my sister due to her recognized disability in Britain.

Without a doubt, you have saved us tens of thousands of euros. Once again, many thanks.”

Mrs C M of Chorley Lancs. says:-

“Congratulations to Barney & Co for securing the sale of my property in France before the new capital gains tax regulations came in at the end of January 2012.

I could not have negotiated the minefield of problems that arose during the sale without your help and expertise.

Being an English owner, selling a French property to an Australian buyer brought further complications as we were dealing with three different currencies, but thanks to you it was completed amicably and efficiently.”

Mr B R of Cornwall says:-

“Mr Barney acted for me when I sold my house in the Charente Maritime. He is professional, easy to contact, quick to respond and has an excellent knowledge of French property law. I would recommend him to anyone buying or selling property in France.”

Barney & Co offer a FREE INITIAL DISCUSSION for not more than 20 minutes of your requirements relating to the purchase or sale of French property or issues relating to that property such as Wills succession rights.

Just to let you know...
We offer a 20 minute free consultation

Call David Barney now on 01458 270296 or 07766095865 for a free discussion of your legal requirements. David is a UK based solicitor that specialises in French property and inheritance law.

What our clients say…

"My wife and I contacted David Barney in October 2017 as we wanted to sell a property in France, which had serious legal issues with regards to beneficiaries after a colleague’s death. We can confirm that David has been a great asset in fighting our corner and I would go as far as to say that David’s knowledge of French Property Law is probably more extensive than Notaires based in France. In our case, I am positive that if it had not been for David’s knowledge and know how, we probably would not have been able to proceed to a successful completion and sold the property.

I would have no hesitation in strongly recommending that you contact David Barney in the event that you have a property in France that you may wish to sell or that you may be considering purchasing a property in France.

He will provide you with all the information required and will give you every assistance in ensuring that you have the right advice in any proposed transaction."
Mr and Mrs AP of Somerset, July 2018

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