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

From January 1, 2022, property renovation benefits will be grouped under the France Rénov’ programme. We explain how it will work

Households carrying out renovations such as improving or installing insulation may be eligible for financial aid

France Rénov’ is the new name for a government programme including personalised help with planning a home renovation programme and certain forms of financial aid.

Although similar help and aids have been available before under various names (Points Info Energie etc), the government says the revamp, from January 1, 2022, will now group everything under a single public service to be called France Rénov’, and will offer more and better help than before.

It comes as the similarly named MaPrimeRénov’ (‘my renovation grant’) scheme, which offers money towards renovation work for all income groups (but with aid proportionally lower for the better-off) is reported by the government to be increasingly successful, and is now the most popular form of renovation aid.

France Rénov’ will partly replace an existing renovation advice network which goes by the less obviously-named Faire, from the verb ‘to do’.

This will mean a change of website though the same national helpline number will be retained (0808 800 700). Homeowners will be able to apply for financial aid, including MaPrimeRénov’, on this site from January 1, 2022, and landlords from July 2022.

Improvements are promised such as the chance for everyone to have a designated helper throughout their renovation project, called Mon Accompagnateur Rénov.

There will be some 450 local in-person advice centres, under the new title Espaces Conseil France Rénov, a rebrand of current information points run under the Faire network or by the Anah association which helps those on low-incomes and living in badly-insulated homes to improve their homes’ energy efficiency.

Local authorities are being asked to help set up more of these.

Renovation aid currently offered by Anah to help lower-income people with badly-insulated homes, called Habiter Mieux Sérénité, is being brought under the new banner and called MaPrimeRénov’ Sérénité.

There will also be a new loan for low-income households, which only has to be reimbursed if and when they come into more money later on, called Prêt avance rénovation.

Housing Minister Emmanuelle Wargon said grouping assistance under France Rénov’ will create “complete and coherent renovation processes”, as well as making the system clearer and more efficient than before.

The system is intended to help households complete renovation work to bring their properties up to new energy standards, specified by the diagnostic de performance énergétique, DPE, and to counter widespread scams in the renovation sector.

Mon Accompagnateur Rénov

This new personal accompaniment offer will be available to the public from January 2022 and for businesses from 2023.

A helper called an opérateur-conseil was already offered to low-income households applying via Ahah under Habiter Mieux Sérénité “to make sure your project is adapted to the characteristics of your home and your situation”. However the revamped accompagnateur will be available to more households and can advise from start to finish of your renovation plans, the government says.

Among other help, this person will be able to direct you to approved professionals who can advise on the types of renovation works needed on a property and to registered professionals with Reconnu garant de l’environnement (RGE) status to complete the work.

Ms Wargon said the overall objective was to reduce scams by “better guiding households to good tradespeople.”

She added: “This support will help to reassure homeowners and improve the quality of work done.”

Using approved professionals for renovations will also help households make sure any work done fulfils the eligibility criteria for relevant financial aid.

Prêt avance rénovation

The government states that this new loan will be aimed at helping “low and very low-income” households to fund that part of renovation works they cannot fund by other aids, especially if they cannot access traditional bank loans.

It will be offered by France Rénov’ partner banks including Crédit Mutuel and La Banque postale.

Using this targeted loan, the Housing Ministry said: “households will be able to completely fund the work paying back only the interest on the loan and repaying the capital when they sell or bequeath their renovated home.”

‘Low and very low income’ usually refers to those graded blue or yellow in the government’s MaPrimeRénov’ scheme, one of the aids that will come under the banner of the new service.

This indicates a net annual income (revenu fiscal de référence) of, for example, up to €19,074 for a single person or €27,896 for a couple (the ceilings are higher in Ile-de-France: €25,068 and €36,792). These ceilings are raised further for larger families.

MaPrimeRénov’ Sérenité

This is aimed at large renovations for properties more than 15-years-old for up to 5.5 million low-income homeowners (as defined in the section above) who live in their properties.

It is a replacement for the Habiter Mieux program and is aimed especially at ‘ambitious’ renovation schemes, aimed at significantly improving the overall energy efficiency of poorly-insulated homes.

MaPrimeRénov’ Sérenité can cover 50% of renovation work up to a maximum of €30,000.

Using the new service

The starting point will be to visit the new website or call the information line (see above).

If you wish you can visit one of the Espaces Conseil France Rénov for face-to-face advice.

They will get you started, including the offer of a designated accompagnateur.

Their help can include arranging a visit of your property and obtaining advice tailored to your situation. You will be helped to select a firm, and assisted in understanding the devis (estimates).

You then apply online for your financial help. Once approval is given, the work can be done.

You then submit your factures (bills) and obtain your aid money directly into your bank account.

Combining forms of aid

It will not be possible to both have a normal MaPrimeRénov loan as well as the ‘Sérénité’ version; the advice centres will direct people to the aid that is best for them.

At present MaPrimeRénov’ and Anah’s Habiter Mieux can be combined with an éco-PTZ interest-free eco loan from a bank but at present these are set to be phased out by the end of this year. However the new prêt avance rénovation loan is set to start from next year.

The France Rénov aids will be able to be combined with the CEE (certificats d’économies d’énergie) help that is available via certain energy firms, which have to meet obligations to help boost energy-efficiency. The government states this will notably be possible from July 2022. The Espaces France Rénov will be able to advise if this may be relevant to you.

Other possible avenues include local authority grants. A low rate of VAT is also available on renovation works.

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