Paris, Aug 20 (EFE).- The French Government has launched a program to identify rental homes that are poorly insulated through its energy screening program and has set up measures to cushion the inflationary spiral affecting the real estate market.
According to the new bill, dwellings that consume more than 450-kilowatt hours per square meter per year (G energy rating) will not be able to be rented out in France from January 1, 2023.
“The housing market is in the process of changing and renewing itself,” legal director at the National Agency for Information on Housing (ANIL) Louis du Merle tells EFE.
According to du Merle, 12.9% of the houses advertised on seLoger in 2022, a well-known real estate website, waste energy due to poor insulation.
The figure represents 10% of properties in France, between 4.9 and 7 million of some 29 million homes, according to seLoger.
“In a context in which prices are rising, especially energy prices, limiting energy consumption to heat the home is a measure that can improve the purchasing power of the French,” du Merle adds.
20% OF POPULATION COLD AT HOME
According to government data, 20% of French people have felt cold in their homes over the winter due to a lack of economic resources and poor insulation.
Soaring electricity and gas bills have worsened the problem this year as the European Union tries to diversify its energy supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
To avoid thermal waste, landlords of houses with a poor energy rating (G) will be forced to carry out works to insulate dwellings adequately before renting them or renewing rental contracts.
Tenants will be able to legally force landlords to make alterations if their homes are G rated ahead of the law, which will come into force in January 2023.
Landlords will be able to tap into financial aids issued by the central government, some 3.2 billion euros, to help with the cost of expensive repairs and updates and to avoid a sudden drop in the volume of available housing and a consequent spike in rental prices due to a rise in demand once the law kicks in.
The shift could increase “tough competition” in large cities like Paris where there is a shortage of rental housing, the legal analyst warns.
“In this context of a tense market, some tenants who do not have enough resources to pay rent may encounter difficulties” du Merle adds.
RISK OF INFLATIONARY SPIRAL
Inflationary risks to the real estate market are also a cause for concern for legal experts like du Merle.
“Landlords can increase the rent due to inflation every year,” he says, although many landlords do not raise prices to maintain a good relationship with tenants and due to the complexity of the process.
The French government has also introduced a cap of 3.5% on the amount landlords of both homes and businesses can raise rentals by, to safeguard the purchasing power of citizens. EFE