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Extra energy audit to protect property buyers in France is delayed

The new pre-sale survey is only for the least energy efficient homes so buyers can predict improvement costs, but there not enough trained auditors

French adminitrative building flying flags

The property energy audit is in addition to, and more detailed than, the existing diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE) energy rating Pic: Sibuet Benjamin / Shutterstock

A requirement for a detailed energy audit to be supplied with the diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE) energy rating before homes classed as F and G can be sold has been delayed due to a lack of auditors.

The idea is that potential buyers will have a clear idea of the price of putting in decent insulation and other energy-saving measures from the start of the buying process.

Read more: Rules get tougher on badly insulated homes in France

Due to come in earlier this year, the measure has been put back to September 1. 

Professionals wanted a full year’s delay but were told this was too long by the government.

Auditors must be specially trained 

Auditors will be drawn from qualified surveyors, architects and thermal experts, who will have to learn how to draw up standardised, costed audits.

They will be paid for by the seller, with each audit costing between €600 and €800, on top of the DPE certificate, obligatory for all house sales, which costs €200.

Read more: What is the impact of energy ratings on French house prices?

Thierry Marchand, president of the Fnaim trade body’s diagnostic council, said: “For diagnostic professionals, this extra delay is an opportunity to ensure training programmes are put in place.”

His organisation estimates there will be 10,000 audits a month across the country when the new law is up and running.

Last year, there was another DPE fiasco when 185,000 certificates completed since July 1, 2021, wrongly awarded very low scores – in the case of 80,000 homes built before 1975, these equated to the lowest ratings of F and G. 

Read more: 185,000 homes in France with wrong energy ratings to get new ones free

The errors were blamed on a new calculation system, which is no longer based on previous energy bills, but on characteristics of the property, such as insulation condition and heating type, as well as lighting and ventilation.

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