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PROPERTY

EXPLAINED: How to access France’s €20k property renovation grants

The French government has extended the renovating initiative MaPrimeRenov’ to make it available to all home owners, including for second homes, for grants of up to €20,000. Here's how to go about applying for the scheme.

EXPLAINED: How to access France's €20k property renovation grants
Illustration photo: AFP

What is it?

Launched back in January 2020, the government scheme MaPrimeRenov’ lets homeowners apply for financial help to renovate their homes.

Each household can get up to €20,000 to renovate, although the amount will depend on several factors, including the type of project, the household income and the number of people living there.

Previously reserved for modest-income households, the scheme has been expanded and is now available to everyone, including high-income owners, landlords renting out their property and second home owners. 

Applicants do however need a French numéro fiscal (tax number) and a copy of their latest tax declaration, which means those who do not file the annual tax declaration in France are effectively excluded

What kind of work is covered by the scheme?

The grant scheme covers four main categories of renovating work:

  • Heating (so changing the heater, for example, or installing a new system)
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Energy audits

However the company hired to renovate must be on the government-approved list of companies that qualify for the grant, which means they need the label RGE (Reconnue Garant de l’Environnement).

Who can access the grant scheme?

Only property owners can access the scheme, so not those renting.

The building needs to be more than 2 years old.

For several months only lower-income owners could benefit from the scheme, but from July has been open to everyone.

At first the scheme was closed to second home owners, but a government decree published on January 26th confirmed that it had been widened to include anyone “with a legal right to the property”.

That includes co-owners, second home owners and landlords who rent out their property.

Why is the government doing this?

France’s economy has been reeling since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country with full force in March 2020, prompting several months of lockdown and economic downturn.

Of the government’s enormous €100 billion rescue package, €2 billion was earmarked for households.

The goal, as stated in the French government’s relaunch plan, is to stimulate the economy while transforming households into more environmentally friendly, less energy-hungry entities.

READ ALSO From taxes to toilets: All you need to know about renovating a house in France

Income thresholds

To determine whether or not a project is eligible for the grant scheme and how much money the household gets, the government checks the total income of the household against the cost of the renovating project.

The income thresholds for households depend on the kind of services needed, outlined in four different MaPrimeRénov’ schemes: blue, yellow, violet or pink (full list HERE).

While MaPrimeRénovBleu (blue) is typically restricted to modest-income households, the maximum income thresholds also depend on the number of people living in the property and whether or not it is located in greater Paris Île-de-France region. 

Below you can see the income thresholds for households outside the Paris region:

Photo: French government

And here is a photo showing the income thresholds for those inside the Paris region:

Photo: French government

If you want to check if your project is eligible for the grant scheme, the government website Faire has a Simul’Aid simulator available here.

How do I apply?

To apply for a grant, you must create an account on maprimerenov.gouv.fr and connect to that account. In order to do this you will need a numéro fiscal, the number you use for filling out your tax returns, plus other documents you use when filing your taxes (bank details – both French and international banks work – copy of your ID, etc).

You will be asked to provide:

  • A copy of your latest tax return
  • An email address and a phone number
  • Names and dates of birth of all members of the household
  • A dévis (builders’ invoice) for the work done
  • The amount of any other help schemes or grants the household benefits from
  • Co-owner households must provide an attestation signed by all parties as well as information regarding the number of households in the home.

Only work done after October 1st, 2020 is accepted (so applicants need a dévis signed after that date). 

A detailed guide to each step of the process can be found at maprimerenov.gouv.fr under the section “Me renseigner”.

READ ALSO: How to convert a rustic barn into your dream home

Where can I get more information?

For more information and to access the grant, go to MaPrimeRénov’. You can also call +33 (0) 8 08 800 700 if you have specific questions on the scheme.

If you want to search for a government approved renovating company in your area, go to this website, tap in your postcode and type of work you want done and hit search.

 
 

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CRIME

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

Leaving your property empty puts it at risk of burglars or squatters and this is a particular worry for second-home owners, whose homes are often vacant for prolonged periods.

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

French police run a scheme called Opération Tranquillité Vacances which involves householders telling their local police that they will be away, so they can keep an eye on the property.

The scheme has run in various forms since 1974, but now an online platform has been set up allowing property owners to make their declaration in just a few clicks.

It’s largely targeted at French people who are going away over the summer and leaving their homes empty, but it’s not limited to French nationals and can be used all year around.

Under the scheme, householders and businesses can ask their local gendarmes to keep a watch over their properties while they are away for a period of up to three months.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

Police and gendarmes patrols visit houses on their list at various times during the day or night, checking shutters, gates, and back gardens to make sure all is as it should be – and to act as a deterrent to any criminal groups checking the area.

The new online service is not limited to French nationals or French residents, but it does require a FranceConnect account to operate, meaning that you need to be registered in at least one French database (eg the tax office, benefits office or in the health system).

The form can be used to cover both main residences and second homes (résidence secondaire) but there is a limit of three months at a time for the property to be vacant.

You can find the form HERE and it can be completed between three and 45 days before your departure.

You can also register in person at your nearest police station or gendarmerie unit. Take ID and proof of address, such as a recent utility bill, if you do it this way.

Summertime is high-season for criminals in France, who target homes that have been left vacant while their owners are away on holiday.

Opération Tranquillité Vacances was introduced in 1974 as a means to keep crime rates down during the summer holiday period. It was extended to include other school holidays in 2009, and is now available all year round.

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