What can the buyer do when he discovers a defect affecting his ownership or the quality of the property ? | ScriptaLegal
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Frequently asked questions > Real estate > At the signing of the deed of sale > What can the buyer do when he discovers a defect affecting his ownership or the quality of the property?

What can the buyer do when he discovers a defect affecting his ownership or the quality of the property?

The buyer who discovers a latent/hidden defect must first notify it to the seller by means of a formal notice informing him of the problem and requesting him to address such a problem within a certain period of time. It is advisable to send the formal notice by registered mail to eventually prove its receipt by the seller.

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The formal notice must be sent within a reasonable time from the moment the buyer discovered the defect. There are no legal provisions setting out what is exactly a reasonable time, but it seems that this period should not exceed a few months. It is important to send the notice as soon as possible, as the seller could invoke a delayed notice from the buyer in order to have the legal action of the buyer dismissed by the court.

In the event where the seller would challenge the defect alleged in the formal notice or refuse to act upon it within the stated time limit, the buyer may apply to the court for reparation. The deadline for filing an action for breach of warranty in court is prescribed by three years, starting from the day that the buyer discovered the defect. It is for the buyer to prove the existence of the defect using, where necessary, experts testimonies.

In the case of an immovable property sold by a seller in bad faith who concealed the defect from the buyer, or a property sold by a professional seller, such as a developer, the buyer may also claim damages.

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