What if my house is a “thermal sieve”?

The government has recently made numerous announcements to tackle poorly insulated housing. But in reality, the rules are complex and contain many exceptions. We help you see things more clearly.

In recent years, the issue of building insulation has been a regular part of the energy transition debate. Indeed, our homes account for a fifth of the total energy consumption in France each year*. According to a government inventory, about 7 million homes are poorly insulated, which represents a significant energy waste.

From January 1, 2023, new measures regarding the so-called “thermal sieves”, that is, the best-insulated and therefore the most energy-consuming dwellings, came into force. But in detail, the rules are complex and there are exceptions.

How do I know if my accommodation has a thermal filter?

The first step is to find out if your home has a heat filter. Are your energy costs high, are you often cold at home? These tips can get you on your ear. You should check your home’s energy performance diagnosis (EPD) to be sure. This document should have been sent to you at the time of signing the lease agreement.

This has been a legal obligation since 2007: in order to be able to rent out a property, you must have an expert assess its energy consumption and its impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This DPE allows for A to G grading. The rating of the residence during the past year must be indicated in the real estate advertisement. Products rated F or G are the least energy-saving products, they are called “thermal filters”.

What should I do if I do not have this document?

Contact your landlord who is required to set up a DPE before you rent. The DPE is valid for 10 years unless it was made between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, in which case it expired on December 31, 2022. If made between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021, it is valid until December 31, 2024.

It is up to the owner to order and pay. If he refuses, don’t hesitate to seek advice from an association such as the National Agency for Housing Information (Anil) or UFC-Que Choisir, which has local branches throughout France. You have the right to appeal to a defense judge.

What can this energy rating change for me as a tenant?

This note is important because it defines obligations and prohibitions for the owners of houses that consume the most energy. From 24 August 2022, if your accommodation is rated F or G, landlords will not have the right to increase your rent. The ban applies to new leases or lease renewals from August 24 and also excludes indexation of rents. Specifically, your rent won’t go up by a penny, unless the landlord has taken steps to improve the energy rating of the accommodation.

In addition, from January 1, 2023, apartments consuming more than 450 kWh of energy per square meter in the French capital can no longer be rented or sublet. They are now considered indecent as unsanitary or places without a kitchen. It is by looking at the DPE that you will be able to find out if your residence is disturbed. This ban will gradually apply to apartments rated G, F, then E in 2034.

How can I enforce my rights?

If you have contacted your host to report a dispute but have not received a response, do not hesitate to contact your nearest Anil branch for advice. In general, you will be advised to send your landlord a formal notice by registered mail, in which you will explain in a reasonable manner the dispute as to either the amount of rent to be frozen or the need to take action.

But the law does not allow you to stop paying rent, even if the landlord imposes an unreasonable increase. Gwenaëlle Le Jeune, a lawyer at the consumer association, suggests to France Info that you “continue to pay the initial rent and inform the landlord that the amount corresponding to the increase will be provided while the dispute is resolved.” UFC – What to choose.

If your landlord does not respond to this registered letter, you can apply to the department’s conciliation committee after two months, but this is optional. In any case, you can appeal to a defense judge.

Can the entrepreneur be forced to do the work?

Currently, there is really no way to force the homeowner to work on better insulating the home. It will have to wait until 2025, when more restrictive legislation comes into force. If your home uses more than 450kW of energy per year, but you signed the lease before 1 January 2023, your landlord is under no obligation to repair it. On the other hand, once you’re gone, he won’t be able to rent it out again.

Keep in mind that if he agrees to carry out energy repairs on your home, he may in some cases be forced to reduce your rent for the duration of the work. But he doesn’t have to relocate you.

* It was the total consumption of the residential sector adjusted for climate change 494 TWh in 2020on top of a total of 2650 TWh, According to the statistics of the Ministry of Housing.

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