Would you like to obtain certain information about a real estate property, an area of land or a house? To do this, you can contact the “service de la publicité foncière” (land registration service). These are the steps to follow:
  • Land registration service: definition
  • Missions of the land registration service
  • Why make a publication relating to property?
  • Which land registration service should you contact?

Land registration service: definition

The land registration service is an administrative and fiscal service responsible for registering deeds relating to the cadastral property register. It thereby identifies in time and space the land holdings and the rights that may encumber them.

Until a few years ago, this service was called the “conservation des hypothèques” (mortgage registry). It was discontinued in 2012, although this did not entail any change in the service provided, this new service being similar.

Missions of the land registration service


The land registration service is responsible for the official publication relating to property.


In France, any acquisition, sale or transfer of property is published through this service. This is carried out by the notary public in charge of the operation, who sends a copy of the deed to this service for safekeeping. The notary must do this in the event of a transfer, donation, inheritance or division of property. Transactions encumbering the property, such as taking out a mortgage or establishing an easement, must also be published with the land registration service. The land registration service centralises all of this data.

Through this system, the land registration services register all French land holdings, the rights attached to them, and their successive owners.

Useful to know: since Decree no. 2017-770 of 4 May 2017, notaries are required to file their documents electronically with the services in charge of land registration. This requirement concerns deeds of sale, those constituting an easement, property certificate following a death, etc. The list of these deeds can be found in the two Decrees of 2 June 2017 and 30 April 2018. This requirement has been in effect since 1 January 2018.


Why make a publication relating to property?

A property sale or transfer operation must be published in the land registration service for the purpose of legal certainty. Purchasers can thereby verify the legal existence of the property offered for sale, within the limits of the land presented to them. In the same way, they can verify that no mortgage has been placed on the property for sale. Otherwise, they would have to pay the amount of the sale to the property owner’s mortgagee in order to take legitimate possession of the building. Last but not least, publishing a property transaction with the land registration service makes it enforceable against third parties.

The land registration service therefore informs users who so request about the nature of the property (land only, building, house, etc.). It also provides information about the presence or absence of rights and mortgages encumbering the property. This information can be accessed by completing a CERFA form (available online). This must be completed precisely (information cannot be requested without any cadastral reference or name). This service is not provided free but at a very moderate cost, according to the nature of the information requested. It is also possible to obtain a copy of the deeds of sale or donation relating to a property.


Which land registration service should you contact?

To find out which one to contact, there is a directory of land registration services by department that can easily be consulted online. The competent land registration service will be the one where the property is located. It is best to contact the service concerned by email or phone before making a visit.

How can we help?

Contact Maître Benjamin A. Kergueno, Attorney at Law today if you are dealing with issues related to real estate law in France and on the French Riviera.

Maître Benjamin A. Kergueno, LL.M will provide you with a full set of informations and with the adequate counsels for sorting it out.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer regarding real estate law in France, please contact us.



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    London UK
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