Accredited Tax Representative

An accredited tax representative is a professional expert in non-resident tax obligations related mainly to capital gains on real estate and social contributions.


Building permit

A building permit is a mandatory document that certifies that a construction project (new construction or renovation/extension on an existing building) complies with the town zoning regulations in force. In Saint Barthelemy, building permits take four months to process. Following the completion of the work, a declaration attesting to the conformity of the work is sent. The Collectivity of Saint Barthelemy can proceed to a control of the works and, when these are not in conformity with the delivered permit, give notice to the project owner to deposit a modifying file or to put the works in conformity.

Building Floor area

The building floor area corresponds to the sum of the floor areas of each closed and covered level, calculated from the bare interior of the facades after deduction :

  1. Of the surfaces corresponding to the thickness of the walls surrounding the doorways and windows leading to the exterior
  2. Of the hollow space related to stairs and elevators
  3. Of the floor areas under a ceiling height less than or equal to 1.80 meters

The surfaces located in an underground part of the building are not taken into account for the calculation of these densities, since they are assigned to parking or technical premises and are not habitable.



The Cadastre is the French office for the registration of land parcels. It is locally based and contains plans of every land parcel in the territory concerned, registration numbers and information on all land parcels. The land registry information is publicly accessible.

Condominium charges

The condominium feesare the current expenses that must be paid collectively by the co-owners; theyare due to the existence of common areas, equipment and collective services.The amount of these charges for a co-owner depends on his share of the commonareas.


Deed of sale

This deed is drafted by the notaire. It is mandatory in the case of a real estate transaction because it acts as protection for both parties. Indeed, the notaire being a public officer, this act is deemed certain (date, amount, obligations of the parties...) and will be contestable only by legal proceedings.



An easement is a constraint imposed on the owner of a property (servient land), for the benefit of the owner of another property (dominant land). This is the case, for example, with a right of way for the benefit of a landlocked property.


Law Carrez

The Carrez law gives a definition of the private living area of a property in a condo complex. Mandatory since 1996, the objective of the Carrez law measurement is to protect the interests of buyers. This surface measurement must be included in the preliminary sales agreement and in the deed of sale. Elements such as walls, partitions, steps, balconies, terraces, doorways and windows, sheaths, cellar and parking are not taken into account.

Life annuity

The life annuity consists in selling a house to a person who pays in exchange a life annuity to the seller until his unforeseeable death. The distribution between the seller and the buyer of the payment of the expenses of the sold good differs according to the type of life annuity or the clauses of the sale contract.

Land Surveyor

It is the professional responsible for all land surveys including topographical and boundary surveys. The boundary survey measures the limits of the land and for setting up the boundary markers in case of a neighborhood conflict. The Minutes of the demarcation in France is not systematic in case of sale of a property.

Listing agreement

A listing agreement is a bilateral contract that unites the seller, owner of a property, and a real estate professional to whom the seller entrusts his property for sale.



All real estate transactions are conducted by a notaire, which is a completely different concept from the American notary public.

The notaire's duties are to verify the origin of ownership of the property, to register the transaction and the mortgage or lien registrations, to ensure the payment of taxes related to the purchase and sale of the property and to obtain the release of a registration taken on the property. The notaire plays a neutral role in the transaction. He is appointed by a ministerial order and his fees are regulated and are a percentage of the value of the property sold.

In his role of neutrality, he is responsible for conducting all the due diligence necessary for the successful completion of the sale. He also assumes the important responsibility of the payment of the capital gain by the seller, if the latter's tax residence is Saint-Barthelemy or France, to the French tax authorities and ensures that the deed of sale is registered with The Service de la Publicité Foncière et de l'Enregistrement (SPFE). The notaire is as responsible for the proper transfer of ownership as he is for any errors that may be made in the deed of sale, which is why he has professional insurance.

  • If the seller's tax residence is not Saint Barthelemy or France, the accredited representative is responsible for the payment of the capital gain by the seller to the French tax authorities
  • The Service de la Publicité Foncière et de l'Enregistrement (SPFE) gathers the registration of each change of owner as well as the information on the property itself. This service is accessible to the public

The Service de la Publicité Foncière et de l'Enregistrement (SPFE) gathers the registration of each change of owner as well as the information on the property itself. This service is accessible to the public.

The deed of sale is kept in perpetuity in the notaire’s archives, after it has been registered with the land registry, and only one original copy is given to the purchaser as proof of his acquisition. It is an authentic title deed.

As a general rule, each party may be represented by its own notaire. The notaires share their fees, commonly called "notaire's fees", according to specific rules inherent to their profession. The notaire's fees are paid by the purchaser.


Overseas Collectivity

An overseas collectivity is a French overseas territory with a specific status and institutions. It is governed by Article 74 of the Constitution, namely the application of the principle of legislative exception devolved to a competent local institution.


Preliminary sales agreement

The preliminary sales agreement is a contract made before the sale of a property. It establishes the conditions of the sale. By signing it, the seller commits to sell the property, the buyer commits to buy it, according to specific conditions. Once the buyer and seller have signed the preliminary sales agreement, they are definitively committed to each other with respect to the sale, unless the buyer withdraws within the legal deadline.


Right of first refusal

In the case of a real estate purchase, this right allows the local authorities or the State to acquire the property in priority to the buyer. In Saint Barthelemy, the deadline for obtaining the deliberation of the Executive Council of the Collectivity on the exercise of its right of refusal is 2 months.

Real estate capital gains

The positive difference between the purchase value and the resale value of a property is called a "capital gain". The seller of a property will therefore make a capital gain if he sells it for more than he purchased it for. This capital gain is subject to taxation.


Security deposit

The security deposit is a down payment made by the future buyer following a preliminary sales agreement. The security deposit generally represents 10% of the total price of the sale, which will then be deducted from the sale price when the final deed is signed. This amount is transferred to the notaire’s escrow account.

Social contributions

Social contributions are taxes levied on the income of French taxpayers and intended for solidarity contributions.

Suspensive conditions

In the context of a preliminary sales agreement, suspensive conditions are clauses that suspend the effect of a contract until one or more events occur. For example, the buyer of a property can ask for a suspensive condition of obtaining a loan in the preliminary sales agreement. He will only buy the property if he obtains the loan, and the preliminary sales agreement will be final; if not, it will be without effect. There are also suspensive conditions for building permits, or for obtaining an urbanism certificate.

Service de la Publicité Foncière et de l’Enregistrement (SPFE)

The SPFE is a set of administrative formalities whose objective is to provide information on the real estate acts carried out (sale, donation, leases, dismemberment of property...). Any person requesting it can have access to these documents; it is the SPFE which is in charge of this.


Urbanism certificate

The urbanism certificate is an administrative act whose value remains mainly informative. It indicates the urbanism provisions, the administrative limitations to the right of ownership, the list of taxes and town planning participations that apply to a land unit and allows to know if the projected real estate operation is feasible. It is a document that can be requested prior to a building permit application.

In Saint Barthelemy, the instruction period for this certificate is two months from the receipt of the request by the Direction de l’Aménagement du Territoire.


Withdrawal period

Pursuant to Article L. 271-1 of the French construction and housing Code, when purchasing a property for residential use, a non-professional buyer has a ten-day right of withdrawal. This measure preserves the legal security of the transaction, as the cooling-off period applies at the stage of the preliminary sales agreement before the final contract. The period comes into effect the day after the first presentation by registered letter of the preliminary sales agreement to the buyer.

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