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Q&A Living France

“If I hire someone to fix a leak in my roof in my French home and after a couple of weeks the leak has returned, can I ask them to come back and take another look or would I have to spend more money?”

The question is: “If I hire someone to fix a leak in my roof in my French home and after a couple of weeks the leak has returned, can I ask them to come back and take another look or would I have to spend more money?”

There are a few very relevant things to consider before addressing the question at hand, the most important one being that when hiring an artisan in France you should always make sure that they are correctly registered and insured. The best way to do this is to request to see a copy of their INSEE or KBIS documents which should tell you all the services they are registered to provide. When checking insurance documents, make sure
that the attestation is up to date and that the services listed on there include the type of work you have engaged the artisan to do – remember, gross ouevre or large building works such as structural masonry, roofing, electrics and plumbing should be covered by a decennale or ten year guarantee.

Once you are confident your tradesperson is above board and you have received a devis for works from them, the next step is to make sure that you sign and date the bottom and send the original copy back to the artisan, keeping a copy for yourself as a reference. This provides you and the artisan with an initial contract or agreement as to the work that’s been agreed and serves to protect both sides should there be any disagreements later on. It’s also important to note here that reading the quote throughly
is highly recommended, as once the deviş is signed and work has started on your property then anything that was not originally outlined will not be included. It is therefore essential to make certain that all the work you expect to happen have been covered in the price given.

All of the above are integral initial steps to follow in order to make sure that you are protected to your best ability for the duration of works being carried out on your French home. However, ultimately when the job is complete and the artisan produces you with a facture there are other steps that need to be adhered to in order to be certain that the decennale assurance the artisan holds will be valid. An RDT or reception de
travaux form should be completed together with your tradesperson at the end of works, they should provide this to sign off the job and it also gives you the opportunity to voice and document any reservations that need to be addressed. If the RDT form is not completed and signed off then in theory the insurance will not be valid. Another important fact to bear in mind is that witholding money from an artisan also null and voids the decennale assurance as a job has to be signed off and paid for first. Any reservations you have about the work carried out should be immediately conveyed to
your artisan so he or she can deal with the issues quickly. The ultimate goal for them will be to get paid, so it is in their best interest to make sure you are happy with the finished job!

Providing the above checks and formalities have been followed, then should a situation occur, such as a leak in a newly slated roof, as mentioned above, then the artisan is legally required to return and fix the issue within a reasonable time scale. Should he or she not respond to your request, or appear hesitant to return, then you are within your rights to contact their insurance company (whose details should appear on the devis or facture provided). They will then request you send them the aforementioned paperwork, copies of the devis and factures and perhaps photos of the work to be able to proceed with a claim. However, this should really be considered as a last resort as it is much better that a resolution is sought in the interest of both parties before the situation escalates.

For further information or advice on this subject contact Artisan Central.