Testing Times for French Houses

Anyone looking at French property for sale this month is probably wondering why, all of a sudden, house particulars are illustrated with these coloured graphs, identical to those found on washing machines, dishwashers and other electronic equipment. This is the latest ‘green’ measure from the French government to reduce energy consumption and emissions, particularly in the building sector. Hence since January 1st this year, all properties for sale have to be graded for DPE (Diagnostic de Performance Energetique) and the results of this energy-efficiency rating has to be displayed in all ‘for sale’ details.

Both agents and private sellers must obtain and provide this information to all prospective buyers; failure to do so could result in a 37,500 Euro fine or even imprisonment. This is all part of the ‘Grenelle Environnement’ legislation designed to reduce energy consumption in the French building sector (which is the biggest consumer of energy in the economic sector in France) by at least 38% in the next ten years.

What does this mean for the buyer? Well the building tests (expertises) in France which have to be undertaken before a property can be finally sold are already some of the most comprehensive in the world and this will just provide more information for the buyer; of course it is useful to know but it probably won’t make any difference to the buying decision. However, right now it means that the market is at a bit of a standstill. Properties cannot be advertised until the tests have been done which has resulted in lots of frustrated agents with a big stack of properties to sell but which they cannot advertise or show to potential buyers until the backlog of testing has been cleared.

Well-meaning also as these tests are, let’s hope that they won’t result in owners of old properties replacing their traditional wooden windows with the even more un-ecological PVC to improve their energy ratings. This would be a disaster and, personally, I would rather turn the heating down and put on another jumper than see the character of French houses and thus France being changed so irrevocably.

Comments are closed.