Anah, the agency behind the MaPrimeRénov’ scheme that offers financial aid to projects that improve the energy-efficiency of homes, say they have mooted the idea of extending grants to DIY projects.
Its head, Valérie Mancret-Taylor, told Le Monde: “It is not yet on the formal agenda and no decision has been taken but it is something we have talked about.
“The idea is pertinent and interesting but we need a system in place where there are guarantees the work will be high quality.”
In-person administrative help
At the same time, Anah is working towards opening MaPrimeRénov’ counters in all 2,600 France Services centres (information points offering free administrative help) by early next year.
You can find where these are here.
Anah has said it will provide funding and train staff there on MaPrimeRénov’ rules and procedures.
The grant scheme has dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months.
It has been dogged, particularly, by complaints from users that promised grants have not been paid.
The government watchdog has also criticised the scheme for excluding people due to its online-only application system, and leaving others frustrated by the lack of contact when problems arise.
Stolen identities and fraudulent builders
Ms Mancret-Taylor said fraud – behind 10% of claims for renovation funding – posed an additional challenge.
In particular, an organised criminal network, uncovered last summer, stole the identities of property owners and tradespeople to put in claims for work that was never carried out.
Other scams involve builders using cheaper, lower quality materials in their work than they specify in the quotes used to apply for grants, and pocketing the difference.
“We have had to tighten our procedures to verify the identities of people making claims, which has slowed the process down,” Ms Mancret-Taylor said.
Lack of tradespeople creating a huge backlog
She made no mention of the growing reluctance among building professionals to become accredited to the scheme.
It has created a huge backlog as those seeking to apply for a MaPrimeRénov’ grant scramble to book a dwindling pool of tradespeople in the short time windows allowed.
Anah says it is receiving 25,000 requests for MaPrimeRénov’ grants a week.
As of 2022, 669,890 homes had benefited from it, with €3.1billion paid out.