How to check what help is available to renovate property in France
Advice and financial aid for residents and second-home owners is on offer at a national and a local level. Here's how to find out more
Buying a ramshackle property in rural France and renovating it as a new or second home is a common dream among English-speakers who make the move here.
But it can be an expensive and time-consuming dream, and one that perhaps involves lengthy tussles with French bureaucracy.
However practical, administrative, and financial help to renovate a property in France is available online.
Financial help with home improvement work
Two acronyms are a useful starting point - ANIL and ADIL - though you will get to know more.
They stand, respectively, for Agence Nationale pour l'Information sur le Logement, and Agence départementale pour l'information sur le logement. As the names suggest, they offer advice and assistance at national (ANIL) and departmental (ADIL) level.
For homeowners planning to a complete renovation, or simply some form of home improvement, guidance is available on the ANIL site - www.anil.org
The website includes easily understandable step-by-step information (in French) on how to request planning permission and financing improvements, as well as how to get tax credits and other grants and subsidies available for anyone planning renovation work.
One well-known grant is MaPrimeRénov', which offers financial packages for those looking to improve the energy efficiency of their home. Initially intended just for lower-income households, this means-tested financial aid is now available to home owners planning such improvements. It will be available to landlords as well from July 1, 2021.
Local help with home renovation
The ANIL website also links to dozens of the departmental ADIL sites. If you select the one for the department in which you live, or are planning to live, you will be able to access information and even financial help at a departmental and local level.
Often, departmental centres have offices at a number of locations, where you can book appointments for face-to-face advice, if necessary.
Be aware, however, some 15 departments - Manche, Calvados, Aisne, Marne, Haute-Marne, Vosges, Territoire de Belfort, Sarthe, Indre-et-Loire, Cher, Nièvre, Creuse, Cantal, Ardèche, and Ariège - do not have ADIL offices.
The good news is that does not mean local help is not available. Advice and aid in those areas of France not served by their own ADIL is generally offered by offices in neighbouring departments.