SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

PROPERTY

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient

Insulation, ventilation, heating - given the cost-of-living crisis that’s affecting France as much as many other countries, it’s understandable that there is a lot of talk right now about improving energy efficiency in homes.

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient
Photo: Erik Mclean / Unsplash

In France many people rent and although you would hope that your landlord would do improvements like this, if they are unable or unwilling than you have the right to do these works yourself.

It means the work is at your own expense, but if you’re a long-term tenant you may make the money back in savings on your energy bills.

Here’s how to go about it:

Inform your landlord

The first thing to do is inform your landlord you intend to carry out the work, at your expense. Do this by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. 

The letter must describe the transformations envisaged, the conditions under which these works will be carried out, and the name of the company undertaking the work.

If you have not received a written response in two months, you can assume you have the tacit agreement of your landlord to carry out the work.

Work you can carry out

A decree published in France’s Journal Officiel on July 21st defines the list of works a tenant can carry out at their own expense on the property they rent.

  • insulation of lower floors;
  • Attic and upper floor insulation;
  • replacement of exterior joinery;
  • solar protection of glazed or opaque walls;
  • installation or replacement of ventilation systems;
  • installation or replacement of heating and domestic hot water production systems and associated interfaces.

The work cannot affect communal areas of a shared property, and must “respect the expected energy performance”. 

Work cannot affect the building structure, its external appearance, require a permit, or change the purpose of the building.

What happens afterwards

Within two months after the completion of the work, the tenant must inform the landlord that the work has been carried out by the chosen company and that it corresponds to what was announced in the pre-work letter.

Other work tenants can undertake on a property they rent

In 1989, a law was passed that allowed tenants to undertake certain work on a property – painting and decorating, adding or changing floor covering – without the permission of the landlord and at their own expense.

Any other works require the written agreement of the landlord – otherwise the tenant may be obliged to return the property to its original condition. 

The landlord can also keep the benefit of the work done without the tenant being able to claim compensation for the costs incurred.

Landlord’s responsibilities

Landlords must provide decent housing, which implies, in particular, heating in good working order, and compliance with a minimum energy performance criterion. Under current rules, doors, windows and walls must be airtight. 

A tenant can only require work from his landlord on these elements, if they are deficient.

From January 1st, 2023, properties advertised for rent in France must have a Diagnostic de performance énergétique rating of G or better.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

PROPERTY

What second-home owners need to know about 2023 French property taxes

Autumn in France is property tax season - and for second-home owners there are some important changes to know about this year.

What second-home owners need to know about 2023 French property taxes

Every year in September and October, households in France receive their property tax bills – which have historically included three things; taxe foncière, taxe d’habitation and the redevance audiovisuelle (TV licence).

For main properties, two of these taxes have all-but disappeared, but for second home-owners the situation is a little different.

Taxe d’habitation

This is the tax paid by the householder and it is being gradually phased out in France and most households no longer need to pay it – the exception to this, however, is maisons sécondaire (second homes).

Local councils set the rate for this tax, and in some areas this can include an additional surcharge on taxe d’habitation on second homes.

This usually applies in areas that have a housing shortage, and although the surcharge has existed for several years it has recently been expanded to include new areas.

Taxe foncière

This is the tax paid by the property owner and this remains in place, and in some areas has increased. Some local authorities, faced with the shortfall in overall taxe d’hab funds, have increased surcharges on the tax for second homes, while most local authorities are also increasing taxe foncière charges to offset the drop in revenues.

This tax is calculated based partly on the size and value of the property you own (which is why if you do any major renovations or add a swimming pool you need to tell the tax office) and partly on the tax level decided by your local authority. 

This means that the actual rate varies quite widely between different parts of France, but in some areas it has gone up by 20 percent.

Redevance audiovisuelle

This is the TV licence and this has been scrapped this year – including for second homes – so your bill will no longer have the €138 per household TV charge. 

Waste collection taxes

Some communes, especially in rural areas, also charge a taxe d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (TEOM) or la redevance d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (REOM) to cover rubbish collection. These are also payable in the autumn, although dates and amounts vary from commune to commune.

Renovation projects

If your property is what real estate agents refer to as an ‘opportunity for renovation’ you may be exempt from taxe d’habitation if your property is uninhabitable.

This is this is strictly defined in France as meaning a property is unfurnished, is not connected to utility services, and/or needs work costing at least 25 percent of the value of the property to make it habitable.

Other information

The amount of both taxe foncière and taxe d’habitation varies across France, but you should be informed in the sale details of the amount of the taxe foncière, and you can also request to know the amount of the taxe d’habitation when you buy a property. 

READ ALSO Why French homeowners face higher property taxes in 2023

Second homeowners are not eligible for most reductions or exemptions available on taxe foncière, with the exception of over 75s who are on low incomes. Be aware this is not automatic for second homeowners and must be specifically requested by those who are eligible.

Be aware, too, that authorities can charge an additional 10 percent for late payment without good reason – though you may get this removed if you write a polite formal letter asking for a remise gracieuse de la majoration. You can search for model letters on the internet.

SHOW COMMENTS