The 6,200 notary offices installed on the national territory closed their doors to the public, but they did not stop their activities.
Of the 72,000 employees and notaries of these offices, more than 30,000 were telecommuted last Monday, after the announcement of the President of the Republic establishing containment, said the Higher Council of Notaries (CSN), the organization professional notaries.
“We can be reached by email or videoconference because we can no longer receive clients,” said David Ambrosiano, notary and senior vice-president of CSN.
Last week, acts could be carried out, the notaries having anticipated the situation. The coming weeks look more complicated …
“We expect an inevitable decline in activity. Real estate, impacted by the health crisis, represents a significant part of the turnover of notaries, “he observed.
During this period of confinement, can we sign the deed of sale of real estate with a notary? Our responses.
How does the signing of deeds of sale by electronic proxy work?
– If the notary has all the necessary documents, he can send you a request for a proxy by electronic means, with secure signatures, to carry out the authentic act of sale of an apartment or a house or to sign a compromise of sale.
– The proxy is given to a collaborator of the study, because legally you cannot give this power to the notary. “Thus, the presence of the buyer and the seller under study is not compulsory,” notes Maître David Ambrosiano. For this, the notary office must be equipped with secure internet systems, or even tools to carry out videoconferences.
When moving is a problem…
In this period of confinement, it is very difficult to move. “Practical questions arise. The customers we call do not want to sign the distance selling contract because they cannot leave their accommodation. Removals are almost impossible, observes the notary.
This would require them to pay rent in addition to their mortgage term, which is complicated.
They are also unable to make the pre-visit, before signing the deed of sale, to check the condition of the property, as should be done. The meter reading cannot be done, like the delivery of the keys. “
Notaries faced with the closure of public services and town halls
Even if the notaries have received powers of attorney from their clients, other problems remain in this period of health crisis, in particular the files which were to be signed a little later, but for which all the documents were not obtained. .
“The public services are closing one after the other. However, it is from the town halls that we must collect a certain number of documents to ensure the legal security of deeds of sale: civil status, town planning certificates, etc.
For example, we have to purge the pre-emption rights, that is to say whether or not the town hall wishes to buy the property in question by exercising its pre-emption right.
This compulsory formality must be carried out under penalty of nullity of the sale for five years. The two-month response time from town halls will be suspended for the time of confinement. This will necessarily delay things, “says Maître David Ambrosiano.
Another problem is that the land registry services have closed in more than 30 departments. “We need to get information from them about mortgages that may affect the property,” he notes. This indicates whether the accommodation is subject to foreclosure. ”
Banks must also be able to release funds …
A significant increase in withdrawals from sales agreements
If you sign a compromise or a promise to sell, you have 10 days to cancel the sale.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of retractions on the sales agreements signed just before the containment measures,” notes the notary. Usually, we record 1% of withdrawal within the legal period of 10 days. We're around 20% today. People are unable to reach their bank advisor, they are worried about the future, their business is closed … They prefer to wait for the health crisis to end. “
The possibility of extending the terms of the conditions precedent of the compromises
The situation being complicated in terms of deadlines, it is possible to add to the compromise or the promise to sell which would be signed during the confinement period a suspensive condition indicating that the contract is valid until a period of 30 days after the end of containment measures.
For previous files, the notaries contact the clients to conventionally obtain an extension of the deadlines.