In France, notarial deeds have previously only been valid if all the parties are physically present or represented at the meeting with the notaire and all the parties (or their representatives) sign the physical deed together. Since freedom of movement was restricted by the French Government following the coronavirus crisis, the traditional notarial procedure was paralyzed. According to one well-known estate agent, 100,000 real estate transactions and about 400 million euros in fees were blocked in the first two weeks of lockdown.
In response, a decree was adopted on 3 April 2020 allowing notaires to deal with deeds remotely, in other words, without the physical presence of the parties. This means that notaires can receive their clients’ consent by video conference. You could therefore sell or give away your French property, or even register a mortgage in France, without leaving the comfort of your living room.
This is an exceptional measure, dictated by the current travel restrictions, and it is only applicable until 25 June. It is quite possible that this date might be extended, depending evolution of the crisis.
This is a small revolution in the somewhat conservative notarial world, and it will be interesting to see if this option remains in place in the new world, after the crisis.
For further information, please speak to your usual Druces contact or:
Please note this article is for general information. You should not rely on it without advice on the specific facts of your case.