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What do energy ratings mean for French property owners?

The Local France
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What do energy ratings mean for French property owners?
When buying, selling or renting property in France, its energy rating is important. Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP

If you're buying, selling or renting a property in France you will need to get an energy rating, and the score given to the property will affect how or even if you can sell or rent it.

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Since 2006, all properties in France have been rated on a scale of A to G on their energy efficiency - this is a rating based on things like how well-insulated the property is and what method is used for heating the property and the water.

The energy performance rating must be included in the paperwork of any property that is for sale or for rent and it looks like this.

Image Ministère de la Transition Écologique et de la Cohésion des Territoires

As well as providing useful information for a future owner or tenant on how much they are likely to be spending on gas/electricity bills, the energy ratings can also affect future plans for a property.

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What the ratings mean

Any property that is rated A-C will generally be in good repair with an efficient heating system and an adequate level of insulation.

Properties rated D will likely be more difficult to keep warm in winter and cool in summer, and are likely to bring in a steeper bill for heating during the winter months.

However, properties rated E, F and G bring with them serious legal restrictions.

Heat sieves

Properties rated F or G are dubbed passoires thermiques (heat sieves) or sometimes passoires enérgetiques (energy sieves).

If you want to sell a property with an F or G rating you are required to pay for an extra 'energy audit' (at a cost of around €1,000) to give the buyer a detailed breaking of where the building is wasting energy and how it can be put right.

There are already restrictions in place on rents charged for F and G rated properties and from January 1st 2025 it will become illegal for landlords to renew a contract or offer a new contract on a G rated property. This will be followed by F and then E rated properties.

Because of these restrictions, properties with a F and G rating have a lower market value, and may be difficult to sell at all. 

E rating 

At present there are no legal restrictions on E-rated properties, but rental restrictions are scheduled to come into effect in 2034.

There are currently no plan to impose an energy audit in order to sell E-rated properties, but it doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility that this may become a requirement in the future.

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Grants

On the bright side, owning property with a poor energy rating does mean that you are eligible for various grants to do the work necessary to improve its rating (which will have the happy side effect of cutting your energy bills).

The French government has a €5 million fund to help homeowners do energy-related renovations, mostly available via grants from the MaPrimeRenov scheme.

GUIDE: French property guides you might be eligible for

 

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