Do I Need a DPE to Sell My French House?

Originally posted on & updated on 11th January, 2024

If you are planning to sell your French house, there are certain legal obligations that you must fulfil before listing the property for potential buyers. One of these obligations is to organise and conduct various Diagnostic Tests and surveys.

These tests provide important information about the property or the building’s overall condition and performance. So, if you are thinking about selling your property in France, it is crucial to obtain a “diagnostic de performance énergétique, commonly called DPE. This document will provide agents and potential buyers with valuable insights into the energy efficiency of the property.

What’s a DPE Report in France?

The DPE report, an essential Energy Efficiency document, is mandatory for any property or building put up for sale or rent in France, a requirement introduced by the French government in 2007. It details the property’s energy consumption, greenhouse gas emission rates, and insulation quality.

Included in the technical diagnostic file (DDT), the DPE must be presented to the prospective purchaser or tenant of the property. The Diagnostic Tests related to the DPE vary based on whether the property is rented or sold, learn more on the Service Public website. And read below everything you need to know about energy performance diagnosis when you’re involved in selling a house or buying a property in France.

Guidance on Energy Performance Diagnosis

Since January 2023, any accommodation (excluding furnished tourist accommodation) located in mainland France can only be rented out if its energy consumption is below the threshold of 449 kilowatt-hours of final energy per square meter of habitable Surface Area, which excludes walls, partitions, steps, stairwells, shafts, and door and window embrasures.

Certain spaces are excluded: unfinished attics, cellars, basements, sheds, garages, terraces, loggias, balconies, outdoor drying rooms, unheated verandas, common premises, outbuildings, and spaces with a height of less than 1.80m. The area of heated verandas should be calculated annually.

Since April 2023, when selling property in France, specifically in the case of an individual house or a building consisting of several dwellings classified F or G by the DPE and owned by the same individual, it is mandatory to provide the future buyer with an energy audit.

What is the DPE Diagnostic Report used for?

The homeowner must initiate the DPE to evaluate the property’s energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. While there is no standard fee for a DPE report, and costs can fluctuate, homeowners typically invest approximately 120-150 euros. Homeowners should consider Professional Indemnity Insurance to safeguard against potential liabilities arising from energy assessments.

When selling a French property, the current owner is required to have the diagnostic de performance énergétique, or DPE, conducted by a certified professional and to incorporate it into the technical diagnostic file (DDT) for the prospective buyer. Failure to voluntarily provide the DPE to the buyer could result in the seller’s liability.

Similarly, during Legal Proceedings, a notary could face Civil Procedure liabilities if they authorise a property sale without a valid DPE or with knowledge of deceptive information that misleads the buyer. The aggrieved buyer has the right to seek damages through the courts.

Who Carries out the DPE Report?

A Qualified Surveyor, who is a certified energy technician, is mandated to perform the DPE. To locate a certified diagnostician, one can refer to an online or local directory of professionals and service providers in France.

Sellers employing an uncertified technician risk a fine of €1,500, which doubles to €3,000 for subsequent violations. Similarly, a technician practising without proper certification faces the same fines, highlighting the importance of adhering to Legal Proceedings.

To carry out the DPE, the technician must submit the DPE results to the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe). Failure to do so may result in a €1,500 fine for the service provider, underscoring the necessity of Professional Indemnity Insurance for such professionals.

Ademe will issue an identification number to the technician after receiving the DPE results. This number is essential for the validity of the DPE and must be passed on to the seller by the technician.

What Should the DPE Report Contain?

The DPE must contain at least the following information:

  • relevant characteristics of the dwelling and description of its heating equipment, domestic hot water production, cooling, ventilation and, in certain types of buildings, integrated lighting of the premises. Each category of equipment must indicate the conditions of use and management having an impact on energy consumption.
  • indication of the annual quantity of energy consumed or estimated for each category of equipment according to a conventional calculation method and evaluation of these annual consumption expenditures
  • assessment of the quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to the annual quantity of energy consumed or estimated
  • information on renewable energy produced by equipment installed permanently and used in the home
  • classification of housing using a reference scale (Energy label) taking into account the climatic zone and altitude, carried out according to the annual quantity of energy consumed or estimated related to the surface of the dwelling (or part of it) for heating, cooling, domestic hot water production, lighting and auxiliaries for heating, cooling, domestic hot water and ventilation
  • classification of housing using a reference scale (Climate label) taking into account the climatic zone and altitude, carried out according to the quantity of gas emissions greenhouse attached to the surface of the dwelling for heating, cooling, domestic hot water production, lighting and heating, cooling and hot water auxiliaries sanitary and ventilation
  • recommendations aimed at improving the energy performance (for example, window insulation) of the home accompanied by an evaluation of their cost and effectiveness. These recommendations must not have the effect of increasing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions linked to the annual quantity of energy consumed or estimated by the home.
  • latest periodic boiler inspection report or annual maintenance certificate
  • elements of assessment on the capacity of the accommodation to ensure thermal comfort during the summer period

Good to Know

The recommendations provided in the report are for indication purposes only and provided as advice on how to best use the property and its equipment. It is possible to consult the details of the information which must appear on the DPE.

In the context of Legal Proceedings, the technician is liable for an incorrect DPE unless the error stems from the seller deliberately providing false information about the accommodation or its equipment. Should this occur, the buyer has the right to initiate legal action to seek damages.

How Long is a DPE Report Valid for?

The DPE, an essential document when selling property in France, is valid for a period of ten years. Notably, DPEs issued between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2017, were valid until December 31, 2022. While DPEs completed from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2021, will remain valid until December 31, 2024.

Do I Need a DPE for a Private Sale?

When selling a home in France, it is crucial to understand the legal requirements and documents needed to complete the transaction. While a DPE report is not explicitly required for a private property sale in France, it is highly recommended. A seller must provide a buyer with technical reports (dossier de diagnostic technique – DDT) covering various aspects of the property, as per legal obligation.

A DDT report, or “diagnostic immobilier,” is a comprehensive inspection report that provides detailed information about the property’s condition and potential hazards. It covers aspects such as energy efficiency, electrical installations, gas installations, the presence of lead or asbestos, and more.

Therefore, it is advisable to research and learn more about these reports when selling your French property to ensure a smooth and legally compliant transaction.

Planning to Sell your French House?

If you are contemplating the idea of selling your French house or if you are actively searching for a holiday home to purchase in this beautiful country, you can rely on our extensive network of bilingual estate agents located throughout France. Our team of experts is well-equipped to provide you with the necessary guidance and support throughout the entire process.

We encourage you to share the details about your property regardless of whether it is a modest holiday cottage or a spacious family residence. Additionally, we are pleased to offer assistance with currency arrangements once the sale has been completed, ensuring a seamless transition.

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