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Homeowner v Tradesperson: read how to deal with disputes

No homeowner wants the hassle of dealing with a dispute. As with many things in France, there is a process for everything, and dealing with disputes with tradespeople is no exception. Understanding the process baffles many English-speaking homeowners in France, with many not knowing what to do should they find themselves in a dispute situation. In Homeowner v Tradesperson: read how to deal with disputes, we share important information. From why there may be a dispute to the initial process and who can help you.

It is important to understand that tradespeople are legally required to have assurance to carry out their trade.

  • By law, all trades are required to have RC Pro.
  • Certain trades are required by law to have décennale assurance, which guarantees the homeowner [you] coverage for repair work in case of defects or damage affecting the construction work.

Read our blog Which Trades Need Décennale Assurance

What are the possible disputes between homeowner and tradesperson?

  • The tradesperson is dragging their heels to complete the work
  • The tradesperson is refusing to come back
  • The quality of workmanship is not satisfactory
  • You have noticed defects
  • Something happens during those 10 years that compromises work/construction

As a homeowner, it is prudent to have jurisdique assurance– insurance which allows you to benefit from legal advice or the assistance of a lawyer in legal proceedings []. Jurisdique assurance is often included as part of your car insurance but would only pertain to your car insurance. If you have a French mortgage jurisdique assurance will be part of that contract. When taking out home insurance, consider adding jurisdique assurance to the contract, as for a small fee, this alone can be beneficial.

You have a dispute; what do you do?

Should you encounter an issue, one of the first things to do will be to discuss it directly with the tradesperson to reach an amicable resolution to the problems at an agreed time. Sometimes, discussion is often enough.  Should discussions break down or the trade fails to deliver on those discussions, you must follow up by sending a letter by recorded mail summarising the problems and discussions and setting a date for a response time.  Should the letter be ignored and there is no response, speak directly to your insurance company, particularly if you have jurisdique assurance, as they will ‘mediate’ on your behalf with the trade and their insurers.

What are the alternatives if you do not have jurisdique assurance with your insurer?

  • Ask the trade for details of their consumer mediator and make contact
  • Speak with your insurer to seek advice
  • Contact a consumer association, such as DGCCRF or UFC Que Choisir
  • Contact the judicial court

There are 3 points of protection:

La garantie de parfait achèvement: 1 year – during the year following receipt of the work, the trade is obliged to correct any identified defect.

La garantie biennale: 2 year – covers defects affecting equipment separate from construction, ie, taps or pipes which need to be either replaced or repaired.

La garantie décennale: 10 years – applies to damage that compromises the solidity of the structure.

Read more about guarantees after receipt of work:

Useful links when you need help:

DGCCRF Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes: 

France Services:

UFC Que Choisir :

The legal system is complicated and drawn out here in France. To avoid disputes, use qualified, competent and appropriately insured tradespeople who provide you with a devis that includes all the lawful and relevant details to form the legally binding contract once signed and have good track records.  Our Review Checklist is an excellent starting point.

Homeowners across France are searching for trustworthy tradespeople they can rely on. And guess what? They’re looking for them right here. Join our pre-checked directory and let your reputation speak for itself!

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