Navigating the changing property scene in France: A quick guide for renters and property owners

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Have you heard about the recent changes in the French real estate market? It’s causing quite a stir among both renters and property owners. Let’s catch up on important updates that are likely to shape how houses are sold, energy audits are conducted, and property rules are implemented. Get ready to dive into the perspectives of both renters and property owners to see how these changes could affect you. But first, let’s set some context.

France’s plan to go green and fix up homes

France has taken strong commitments to reduce its carbon emissions and achieve net-zero targets. In 2019, France passed a law setting a 2050 carbon-neutral target. One of the key measures to attain carbon neutrality in 2050 is the thermal renovation of buildings. To align with the carbon neutrality trajectory, 1 million homes must be renovated by 2050 (to reduce the energy consumption of homes by one-third – 35% of the social housing stock – by 2030 and by half by 2050 compared with 2004). This shows a strong will from the French government to renovate the actual housing stock so everyone can enjoy a decent living and make their home be less harmful to the environment.

The inside scoop on energy performance certificates in France

The implementation of DPEs (Diagnostic de Performance Énergétique) is one of the measures taken by the French government to achieve its carbon neutrality targets. By providing a rating from A to G, DPEs play a key role in promoting the thermal renovation of buildings and reducing the energy consumption of homes. This, in turn, helps to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a more sustainable future.

Energy performance

So, what is it and how does it affect you?

A Diagnostic de Performance Énergétique (DPE) or Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document required for properties in France being sold or rented. It assesses the property’s energy performance and environmental impact, rating it from A (Green) to G (Red) based on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The certificate includes information on heating, hot water, insulation, and ventilation systems, estimating energy consumption in kWh per m2 per year.

DPE/EPCs help everyone involved in the property market understand potential running costs/renovation needs for better energy efficiency. The DPE/EPC is payable by the landlord and typically costs between €100-250 depending upon the size and age of the property. Tariffs are not regulated, so it’s up to you to secure the best price. The certificate is valid for ten years.

The new law called “loi climat et resilience” (“resilience and climate law”) will require all DPE/EPCs to include details of refurbishment costs needed, to bring the least energy-efficient properties up to legally defined energy-efficiency standards when they are to be rented or on sale, to improve transparency and disclosure of energy consumption.

Up until now, this certificate was mainly for information. But since a few months, the certificate your property holds could entail remedial action by you. Say you are a property owner, and you want to increase the rent, due to the current inflation. If the apartment or house you are renting out is rated F or G, you’d then have to improve its efficiency before you can increase the rent. Now, if you want to sell this F or G-rated property, it is already mandatory to conduct a regulatory energy audit, that will give the future buyer more details on how the DPE/EPC can be improved.

What’s more? By 1 January 2025, properties meeting ‘acceptable housing’ standards must have at least a class F EPC, a class E EPC by 2028, and class D by 2034. Rental properties in EPC classes E to G will eventually need to meet the new energy efficiency standards or they will no longer be allowed to be rented out.

The scenario today

As a home buyer/renter, all these changes mean that you can make more informed decisions when considering a property purchase/rental. Plus, energy-efficient homes often mean lower utility bills. And with lower energy consumption, also mean a lower production of C02 emissions from your house. Who doesn’t want to contribute to saving the planet, right? It’s a win-win situation for your wallet and the environment. No more guessing games or unpleasant surprises!

Navigating the Changing Property Scene in France: A Quick Guide for Renters and Property Owners

From a property owner’s point of view, it might seem like a hassle with all the extra paperwork and documentation as well as the extra investment needed to be able to rent out your property. But think about it this way – these new rules can actually work in your favour. By being upfront about your property’s condition and sharing all the required information, you can build trust with potential buyers/renters. People are increasingly drawn to sustainable living, and they’re willing to pay a premium for it. So, by going green, you not only attract environmentally conscious buyers/renters but also potentially increase your returns. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone and saying, “Hey, I’ve got nothing to hide, and my house is the real deal.” So, embrace these regulations and position yourself as a dependable seller/landlord.

Improving a property’s energy performance

If you’re a homeowner looking to rent out or sell your property, and its energy performance isn’t up to scratch, there are steps you can take to improve it.

Let’s start with the most significant investments you could make. Improving wall insulation and replacing single-glazed windows with double glazing should be the first considerations.

You should also prioritize changing the heating system. Swapping out old electrical radiators for modern, energy-efficient ones can immediately reduce energy bills and greatly enhance renter comfort. However, it’s important to note that this can be a costly investment that might not have been anticipated.

For those of you who prefer smaller investments that still have a positive impact on energy efficiency, switching to LED lighting is an obvious choice. However, for a more effective option, landlords should consider a Home Energy Management System (HEMS). What can this system do for your property?

Firstly, it provides real-time and detailed insights into your energy consumption, helping you make better decisions to improve efficiency. An app like Wiser by Schneider Electric allows you to identify major the energy consumers in your property so that you can prioritize addressing them. Upgrading the home energy management system also allows for monitoring and control of significant energy consumers like heating, water boilers, and even electric vehicles. By activating each appliance only when necessary, significant efficiencies can be achieved in the apartment or house. For example, Wiser’s room-by-room heating control technology enables you to easily pause heating in unoccupied rooms and adjust heating schedules based on occupancy and insulation. This helps save energy and reduce heating bills.

Navigating the Changing Property Scene in France: A Quick Guide for Renters and Property Owners

Additionally, if you own an electric vehicle, Wiser creates the most efficient charging schedule based on the cheapest electricity tariff, allowing you to stay in control of your energy consumption.

Let’s wrap things up

These modifications and developments in France’s property scenario aim to strike a balance between protecting tenants’ rights and offering property owners more flexibility.

As a renter, you’ll be happy to hear that these new rules bring more stability and protection. Finally, some peace of mind, right? No more worrying about sudden rent hikes or unfair treatment from landlords. It’s about time!

Now, as a property owner, you might have some concerns about these new regulations. But let’s look at the bigger picture. These changes are all about creating a fair and balanced rental market, where the rights of both renters and property owners are respected. What’s more, it increases the value of the property you own. Did you know that one third of French people are willing to pay more for a home or rental property equipped with smart home technology? It’s a win-win situation when everyone feels heard and valued.

In short, the changing property landscape in France is a mixed bag of challenges and opportunities. But with the right mindset, we can navigate these changes successfully. Whether you’re a renter or a property owner, staying informed and embracing these new rules can work in your favour. May your real estate endeavours be filled with positivity and success!

Know more about what we can do together to achieve net zero homes.

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