Changes in regulation for the EPC in France – new obligations for sellers and landlords

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Under French law, it is mandatory to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) when a property is being sold or tenanted. With energy usage and ratings calculations previously based on actual usage, the EPC was not always the most informative document. This was especially the case in relation to properties used as holiday homes where the EPC had to be left blank due to a lack of appropriate data.

New regulations which came into force over the summer of 2021 are designed to make the EPC a more useful document as the rating will be calculated based on the characteristics of the property itself (insulation, type of heating, etc.) rather than the actual energy consumption data. It will also provide new information, such as aeration and “summer comfort” of the property, as well as recommendations on how to make the property more efficient, including an estimate of the costs for any building work that the surveyor will deem essential to ensure the property is energy efficient.

Crucially, whereas the EPC was previously “for information only”, it will now create a legally binding expectation. This means that if the property is less energy efficient than stated on the EPC, the buyer/tenant will have a right of action against the seller/landlord, as well as against the surveyor, where they would be liable for damages equivalent to the costs of any building work which may prove necessary to make the property as energy efficient as the EPC stated.

For properties which are less energy efficient (F and G categories), a full energy audit must be carried out at the seller’s cost as part of the sale process. As regards rental properties, from 2023 homes with an energy consumption of over 450kw/sqm will no longer be allowed to be tenanted. Properties rated G cannot be tenanted from 1 January 2025, and the same will apply to properties rated F from 2028 onwards.

Any EPC carried out between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2017 will remain valid until 31 December 2022, whilst any EPC carried out between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2021 will remain valid until 31 December 2024.