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Explained: The new rules for selling houses in France

The Local France
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Explained: The new rules for selling houses in France
Snow covers a house in eastern France. The government is set to make it harder for people to sell energy inefficient housing from September 2022. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

From September 2022, anyone who wants to sell an older house in France may have to pay for a €700-800 energy audit of their property.

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The regulations form part of the Climate and Resilience law and will come into force in September 2022. 

Currently, if you plan to sell or rent a property in France, you need to provide a diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE), which is a document that serves as an estimate for the property's energy consumption.

Depending on the result of the DPE, your property will be ranked from A (the most energy efficient) to G (the least energy efficient). 

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Source: ecologie.gouv.fr

In France, properties that fall into the F and G categories are known as passoires thermales - or heat sinks. According to Le Parisien, some 4.8 million properties in France fall into this category, generally older properties or those in poor repair. 

The cost of obtaining a DPE generally ranges between €100-250 depending on the size of the property and when it was built. You can find a certified list of DPE providers here and here

So what changes? 

From September, anyone who want to sell a property that is ranked in the F or G categories (ie those that are projected to need a minimum 330 KWh/m2 of energy per year) will also need to pay for an audit énergétique

This is like a far more precise version of the DPE and aims to inform future buyers not only of the likely energy bills but also of the cost of renovations needed to make the property fall into the B class. 

Real estate experts are worried that there will not be enough trained professionals to carry out the audits énergétiques. The implementation of this new requirement was supposed to go ahead in January 2022 and has already been pushed back by eight months. 

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The cost of an audit énergétique falls on those who are trying to sell and is estimated at around €700-800. 

If you are considering renovating a property in France to make it more energy efficient, this is a good time to do so. The government is backing zero percent interest loans and other measure to make it economical to do so. You can read more about these measures HERE

There is also another incentive: if your property is seriously energy inefficient (requires more than 450 KWh/m2 per year), you will not be allowed to rent it out from 2023. 

Eventually, the audit will also apply to homes in the E class, as of January 1, 2025, and then later to homes in the D class from January 1, 2034.

Who can carry out the audit?

As of early May, the French government released its requirements for who is certified to perform these services, which differs based on whether you live in a 'multi-dwelling residential building' or an 'individual house.' 

For the former, you can either use an engineering firm with a specific qualifications (this is called a "OPQIBI 1905") or registered architects. For individual houses, you can also use qualified engineering firms (in this case, called a "OPQIBI 1911"), as well as  companies certified with "RGE offre globale" and certified home inspectors. For more information, read HERE.

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Comments (3)

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Anonymous 2021/12/27 10:21
Regarding this specific issue Boggy - incentivizing renovation works/raising awareness of the climate impact of “heat sinks” via mandatory energy analyses - it seems a tad far fetched to invoke North Korea as a comparison. France is one of the few countries actively mobilizing its citizens (from the proactive to the sluggish) in waking up and taking action in every regard to combat the climate emergency. Yes, an energy audit is annoying and expensive and there will be people who find the extra cost an unfair burden. Yet it is a minuscule and temporary inconvenience in the grand scheme of what is necessary to implement to have a chance at limiting runaway emissions and a rapidly heating planet. If we had all taken personal responsibility and done what we could privately to help make our homes efficient/recycle etc etc the government wouldn’t have needed to nanny us through it in the first place. I would love to live in a world that didn’t need onerous and patronizing regulations/carrot and stick incentives and red tape but unfortunately people have proven themselves too stupid and selfish.
Anonymous 2021/12/22 08:00
Welcome to North Korea. France is one of the most controlling countries in the world. Over the last five years it's gone worse, and it's all down to the inexperienced people Macron has appointed.
Anonymous 2021/12/21 17:53
There is also another incentive: if your property is seriously energy inefficient (requires more than 450 KWh/m2 per year), you will not be allowed to rent it out from 2023 Does this count for gites also? or only for main residences?

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