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French property sales: Why do some listings not have energy ratings?

We look at the meaning of the terms ‘non soumis à DPE’, ‘DPE non fourni’ and ‘DPE vierge’

A reader asks why some properties put up for sale or rent do not have a diagnostic de performance énergétique when this is a legal requirement Pic: esoxx / Shutterstock

Reader Question: If DPE energy information is obligatory on property sale adverts, why do some say ‘DPE not available’ or ‘DPE not provided’?

When a property is put up for sale or rent in France, its owner must hire a professional to carry out a diagnostic de performance énergétique or DPE (energy performance certificate).

This uses a graded rating scheme – from A to G – to indicate how energy-efficient the property is and to encourage efforts to reduce its consumption. 

Homes with the lowest energy efficiency ratings will soon be banned from the rental market unless they undergo renovations to make them more eco-friendly, as a result of the Loi Climat et résilience.  

From January 1, 2023, people who own properties with an energy efficiency rating of G – the lowest score possible – and which consume over 450kWH per square metre per year, will no longer be able to rent them out. 

This rule will extend to all G-rated properties from 2025, all F-rated properties from 2028 and all E-rated properties from 2034.

Read more: Home energy efficiency: Key dates for property owners in France

However, some property sale adverts in France come with the label ‘DPE non fourni’ (DPE not provided) or ‘non soumis à DPE’ (not subject to a DPE). 

‘Non soumis à DPE’

A property may not be subject to a DPE if it is including in one of the following categories: 

  • An historic monument or religious building 
  • Certain types of annex 
  • An industrial or commercial building 
  • A farm building
  • A building without a central heating system 
  • A construction like a mobile home or static caravan 
  • A temporary building
  • A holiday rental only supposed to be used for less than four months per year 

‘DPE non fourni’

If the property is a standard house or flat with central heating, it should undergo a DPE and, if the diagnostic is not provided, the previous owner risks a penalty. 

A ‘DPE non fourni’ notice should not be accepted for a purchase. 

If the DPE is not provided, the buyer can launch legal proceedings against the seller, demanding that the sale be cancelled or damages be paid. 

The seller could also face a fine of up to €300,000 and up to two years in prison.

The buyer can also report the seller to the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes. 

The new owner or renter of the property should also note that they risk sanctions if they lie with regards to the DPE rating. A notaire who validates a property sale when a DPE has not been supplied or who knew that false information had been given, could also face a fine of up to €300,000 and up to two years in prison. 

Read also: MAP: Latest house price rises in France - how has your area fared?

‘DPE vierge’

There also exists the term ‘DPE vierge’, which means that the document is blank and not completed.

This is an historic situation and relates to the way diagnostics were carried out prior to a reform in 2021. Previously they were based on actual energy bills provided so in some circumstances this proved hard, for example, if the owner was in a care home or if the property was subject to an inheritance.

The ratings are now based on a method using the actual characteristics of the property so, for example, if it has double glazing etc.

Blank DPEs dating to between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021 remain valid (in the sense that purchases can be made with them) until December 31, 2024.

Related articles 

€1,000 energy audit to be needed for sales of millions of French homes

Rent prices in France frozen for least energy efficient properties

Energy certificate rules could see house prices fall in France

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