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How to activate and exercise the ten-year guarantee?

The ten-year guarantee covers the successive owners of a property for ten years following the acceptance of the work. It allows the owner to turn against the builder, the construction tradesman or the contracting authority who intervened on his site, and who is at the origin of poor workmanship likely to compromise the structure of the building.

But concretely, what should you do when you notice damage inside or outside your home, covered by the ten-year insurance? We give you the steps to take to activate and use the ten-year guarantee, follow the guide!

Do you play the ten-year guarantee or the damage to the work?

If you have taken out property damage insurance, it is in your best interest to use it instead of the ten-year guarantee. Indeed, your structural damage insurer intervenes quickly, without first researching the respective responsibilities of the various stakeholders.

Indeed, the work damage guarantee repairs the damage, then turns against the responsible craftsman, via his ten-year insurer. You can still notify your builder before any action. He may react quickly to avoid a claim.

If you have not taken out property damage insurance, then you must act thanks to the ten-year insurance…

Implement the ten-year guarantee

By respecting certain rules of propriety and insurance, you do not put yourself in the wrong and do your best to maintain good relations with the craftsmen working on the site. We therefore advise you, step by step, on the procedure to follow.

Be aware, however, that in the absence of property damage insurance, the procedure to follow for ten-year insurance is restrictive, and can be particularly long between the time you declare the claim and the time you are compensated.

Contact the building contractor involved in the construction of the work

Try to work things out amicably as much as possible. When a builder, a craftsman or a prime contractor is in good faith, he is often inclined to react quickly to satisfy his client, preserve his reputation and avoid a claim declaration to the ten-year insurer.

For this, you can of course call him or send him an email. If he does not react quickly, send a formal notice. This letter, to be valid, must preferably be sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt, and contain at least the following elements:

  • Reminder of articles 1792 and following of the Civil Code concerning ten-year liability
  • Your full contact details (address, telephone, email)
  • Full contact details of the building contractor
  • The subject of the letter, specifying that it is a formal notice, in order to give it the necessary legal value
  • The references of any document proving the intervention of the craftsman (quote, invoice, contract, certificate of receipt of work, etc.)
  • The date of acceptance of the site (it must be less than 10 years, unless extended due to a previous legal procedure)
  • The address and description of the building affected by the damage
  • The precise and complete description of the damage (you can attach photos, an expert report or any other useful document)
  • The claim for damages
  • The response time granted to the entrepreneur before entering the ten-year contract (two weeks correspond to the time usually recommended)
  • The list of attachments to your mail if there are any
  • Today’s date and your signature

It is only in the absence of a response from the craftsman and of intervention within a reasonable time that you can contact the ten-year insurance in order to assert your rights. In the absence of a ten-year guarantee, you can go to the tribunal d’instance or de grande instance to settle your dispute.

Contact the ten-year insurer concerned by the damage observed

If the building contractor does not respond to your formal notice, if he refuses to do the work or if he does not agree to exercise his ten-year guarantee, it is then up to you to declare a claim for obtain compensation for the damage suffered.

As an injured person, you have every right to act and ask the insurer within ten years to open a file. Be aware that this kind of procedure can be particularly long, especially if the offending craftsman has not declared the correct activities to his insurer, or prefers to go to trial in order to save time.

Your letter to the ten-year guarantee insurer must also be sent by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. It will contain the same complaints as the formal notice, but will be addressed to the insurer, specifying:

  • The ten-year insurance policy number
  • Proof that you are the owner of the work that suffered the damage
  • The expert report produced by an independent expert (the latter is not mandatory but highly recommended to support your case)

It is only after receipt of these documents that the claim will be declared as open by the insurer. The insurer then has a legal period of sixty days to respond to your request. He must tell you if the repair of the damage you are facing falls within the ten-year period on the one hand, and offer you compensation on the other hand.

In the absence of a response from the insurer, you can take it to court for non-compliance with its obligations. In case of refusal of compensation, if the justification is unfounded or if there is abuse of power, you can bring an amicable and / or legal action. The same applies in the event of a proposal that is manifestly too low in relation to the cost of repairs.

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