If you are buying, selling, or renting a property in France, you will notice that each property has an energy ‘rating’ from A to G. These Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) or ‘diagnostic de performance énergétique’ (DPE) are mandatory for landlords and sellers under EU law, and recent changes have made this document even more significant. Here’s what you need to know about Energy Performance Certificates in France.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in France?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document issued to every property for sale or rent in France, providing details of its energy efficiency. The certificate is part of the mandatory diagnostic surveys carried out on properties for sale and ranks properties on a scale from A (Green), the most energy-efficient, to G (Red), the least energy efficient. (You might also occasionally see ‘A+’ ratings for eco homes with exceptionally high energy efficiency, but this is not an official rating.)
These certificates are part of the EU’s energy policy and have been part of French law since 2006. New regulations introduced in 2021 and further changes set to come into law later this year have also tightened the rules and regulations regarding EPC rankings in a bid to encourage renovations on the lowest-ranked (F and G) properties.
Understanding Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Ratings
An EPC/DPE provides information on the energy performance of a house, apartment, or building in France, based on an assessment of its energy consumption and environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2021, the A to G rating is calculated by taking into account the property’s heating system, domestic hot water, insulation, and cooling and ventilation systems to calculate the property’s energy consumption in kWh per m2 per year (prior to this, calculations were based on actual energy consumption data, resulting in inaccuracies and a lack of data where second homes and holiday homes were concerned). You can read the official guidelines to the EPC/DPE here.
What else is included on the Energy Performance Certificate?
An EPC/DPE typically has two ratings: an energy label, which rates the primary energy consumption of the building, and a climate label, which rates the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. Both are given one of the seven classifications from A to G.
Along with the A to G ranking, the EPC/DPE reports detail the property’s energy expenditure and relative estimates of energy consumption for standard use of the property. Further reports now also provide recommendations for upgrading the property’s energy efficiency, including an estimate of associated costs provided by the surveyor. All of this provides useful information to buyers and renters about the estimated costs of running the property, as well as possible renovations required to bring the property up to a higher standard of energy efficiency.
Does my property need an Energy Performance Certificate?
Yes. All properties that are sold or rented in France must have an Energy Performance Certificate. Energy Performance Certificates must be carried out by an independent professional certified by the French Accreditation Committee (COFRAC) – you can find a list of accredited professionals here. The EPC must be presented at the signing of the Compromis de Vente when buying or selling a property.
The EPC/DPE is payable by the seller or 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.
How Does the Energy Performance Certificate Affect French Property Sales?
Since 2006, it has been mandatory to carry out an EPC on any property for sale in France as part of the diagnostic surveys or dossier de diagnostic technique (DDT). Since 2007, an EPC has also been required for any rental properties or new building permits. Crucially, since 2021, the EPC has become a legal binding document, assuring the energy efficiency of the property. This means that buyers or tenants have the legal right to damages from the buyer and/or surveyor if the property is found not to meet the energy rating stated at the time of sale or signing of the rental agreement.
Energy performance ratings may also affect the sale price of a French property. A study carried out by Notaires de France in 2020 showed a clear increase in the sale value of energy-efficient properties with A and B ratings over those in the least efficient F and G ratings. In some regions, the prices of energy-efficient apartments sold for an average of 17% more than a D-rated apartment.
Sales of properties classified F and G: New Changes from September 2022
Increasingly tough regulations are set to be introduced on the least energy-efficient properties (categories F and G) in an attempt to encourage renovations and bring all French properties in line with modern environmental standards. From September 2022, it will also be mandatory to carry out a regulatory energy audit (audit énergétique réglementaire) at the seller’s cost on any properties classified as F, or G. Expected costs of this audit are about €700-800; much higher than that of the EPC/DPE.
In addition to this, from January 2023, it will no longer be possible to rent any French home with an energy consumption of over 450kw/sqm. From January 2025, no G-rated properties will be allowed on the rental market, followed by F-rated properties from 2028 onwards.
There are currently no plans to restrict the sale of such properties; however, the transparency around renovation costs of energy inefficient properties is likely to drive prices down. Many landlords currently renting older properties may also opt to sell instead of carrying out the necessary renovations, leading to a potential increase in older properties flooding the market and driving prices down further.
This isn’t great news for sellers of low-energy efficiency properties in France; however, it could be good news for buyers looking to purchase older properties with the aim of renovating. France is still offering renovation grants for property owners looking to improve energy efficiency.
Are You Ready to Sell Your French Property?
Whether you choose to sell your French property privately or through an estate agent, need expert advice on the legal procedure or capital gains tax, or want to brush up on your knowledge of buying and selling in France — FrenchEntrée is hear to help! Our Essential Reading guides are the best place to start.
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