The Carrez Law usable surface area

Surface area is described in various different ways when it comes to the array of real estate projects (building permits, real estate sales, floor area ratio, planning tax, etc…) and also in terms of taxes. Here’s how to calculate the Carrez Law usable surface area, which must be mentioned in the deeds of sale for commonhold apartments.

What does the “Loi Carrez” mean?

The Carrez Law of 18 December 1996 and the related Decree of 23 May 1997 require that the surface area of commonhold property lots be mentioned in all preliminary contracts (promise to sell, sales agreement, etc.) and sales contracts (deeds “authenticated” by a notary).

As of 19 June 1997, the seller of commonhold property lots (or a fraction of a lot) with surface areas greater than 8 square metres, must indicate the habitable surface area in the promise to sell/sales agreement. The specific rules established to determine this surface area describe it as “the enclosed and covered floor area of the building discounting the surfaces occupied by the walls, partitions, staircases and stairwells, ducts, window and door frames”. Parts of the enclosed area which are less than 1.80 metres in height are also excluded.

Some examples of items included or excluded from the Carrez law

  • Balconies and terraces: not included in the usable surface area.
  • Verandas and sunrooms: closed verandas and sunrooms must be included in the calculation of the usable surface area, even if their surface area is less than 8 square metres. Provided that it is a private area and not a common area for private use.
  • Cellars and car parks: surface area is excluded from the Carrez Law, unlike other basements, whether constructed or not.
  • Attics and lofts: whether or not they are converted, attics and lofts are included in the calculation of the usable surface area if their height is greater than 1.80 m.

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