Is there a recourse over French home diagnostic error?
The energy diagnostic certificate used when we bought our house was wrong. Can we force the issuing professional to carry out work so it matches what is stated?
Diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE) certificates have been compulsory for home sales since 2006 (2007 for rented accommodation).
Over time, it has become clear that some certificates, which are paid for by the seller, overestimate the energy efficiency of homes they relate to.
However, the buyer is left with little comeback under existing laws.
France’s highest judicial court recently threw out a case in which buyers claimed recompense from the DPE certificate issuer.
It said the DPE was an informative certificate and not on the same level as those relating to termites, lead or asbestos, also obligatory when selling a property.
The court said that the DPE professional had made an error but they were not responsible for the deficiencies in insulation, or the work to fix them, and it was unreasonable to expect them to pay for this.
However, a new law to increase the legal responsibility of sellers and DPE professionals was passed in 2018 and will come into effect in 2021.
Another law, effective from 2022, will require a detailed energy audit to be supplied with the DPE for homes which are classed as F and G for energy consumption. This will apply to renting.
Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats