Why sweeping your chimney matters in France
You can be fined up to €450 if you don't maintain in-use chimneys at your property correctly
HOME owners and tenants are reminded that an annual sweep of the chimney is obligatory for people with any sort of fireplace in use.
Standard multi-risk insurance includes cover for damage caused by chimney fires – as long as the client can prove the chimney was cleaned within the last 12 months, said the Fédération Française de l’Assurance.
If there is no proof, any excess before insurance cover kicks in is likely to be higher than the standard franchise. It is even possible for the government to take people to court if chimneys are not swept, with the maximum fine being €450.
As well as the annual cleaning requirements, some communes have bylaws which increase the frequency to two cleans a year, one of which must be during the winter months.
Owner-occupiers are responsible for the cleaning of their properties.
If houses are rented and the renters are allowed to have fires in the fireplace, the owner must show that the chimney is in a good condition before they moved in.
After that, renters are responsible for the annual cleaning.
Certificates are given by all registered sweeps, and the price for a clean is usually between €60 and €80.
The sweep keeps a copy of the certificate, which can be useful if a fire destroys records.
In most departments, lists of sweeps can be found online in the pages jaunes if you do not know one locally.