Homeowners applying for French renovation grants will need consultant

From next year many homeowners must get the help of a registered consultant to guard them against fraud or faulty work

Consultants will do an energy audit and choose trustworthy contractors to make your property more energy-efficient through the existing grant process

Many homeowners who benefit from grants to make their properties more energy-efficient will be required to seek the advice of an expert from 2023.

The Mon accompagnateur Rénov’ scheme is already in place for those who wish to have guidance during the renovation process, but this will soon become mandatory in certain cases.

What will consultants do?

The helpers provide guidance with undertaking an energy audit, defining the work that needs to be done, choosing trustworthy professionals and completing the necessary paperwork.

The experts will be approved by the Agence nationale de l’habitat (Anah) after proving they are acting independently and not in favour of certain businesses.

The MaPrimeRénov’ grants were launched in 2020, and can be used to finance insulation, heating, ventilation or energy auditing work.

Read more: What is France Rénov’ aid scheme – can I use it to renovate my house?

Read more: Property renovation: new 0% loan to top-up French ‘MaPrimeRénov’ grant

Since 2020, more than a million households have benefited from the scheme, financed by Anah, with 338,000 homes renovated in the first half of 2022 alone.

Who must get a consultant?

Those applying to MaPrimeRénov’ from January 1, 2023, will be required to use the services of an accompagnateur if they receive grants worth more than €5,000.

From September 1, 2023, so will those undertaking two or more projects qualifying for the grant costing more than €5,000 who requested more than €10,000 in aid.

Will it cost more?

You can find your local Espace Conseil France Rénov’ by visiting the France Rénov’ website and selecting L’accompagnement France Rénov’. They will be able to point you towards a registered accompagnateur.

The advice may be free “if your local authority has dedicated funding to the support, which is the case in most of the country”, according to the Anah website.

Otherwise, Anah can contribute between €150 and €875 towards the cost.

Avoid fraud or substandard work

The measure is intended to help homeowners overcome any difficulties they may face before and during renovations, and comes in a context of prevalent fraud in relation to energy renovations.

In a recent report, consumer and anti-fraud watchdog the DGCCRF revealed that of 678 businesses, tradespeople, lenders and associations inspected in 2021, 52% had broken the law.

Most of these infringements related to the duty to inform consumers, respecting their right of withdrawal, and loan terms and conditions.

“The industry continues to be marked by misleading, sometimes even aggressive, commercial practices,” the report stated.

According to Anah, identity theft, overcharging and faulty work are also common problems.

In 2020, a law banned businesses selling products such as heat pumps or solar panels from making cold calls, since many people had been harassed or persuaded to pay for poor quality renovations.

Companies must also have Reconnu Garant de l’Environnement (RGE) status to perform work funded by grants.

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