Thermal colanders, legal tools now exist

In France, 7.2 million homes are considered thermal sieves, also called energy sieves. This summer, with the heat waves, their inhabitants suffered particularly from the heat next winter, their energy bills will soar when they will not be able to heat themselves properly. This estimate was published on July 22 by the National Observatory for Energy Renovation (Onre), attached to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. It is well above the government’s estimates, which had previously estimated them at “only” 4.8 million. According to Onre, as of January 1, 2022, 17% of main residences are considered to be thermal sieves, which represents 5.2 million dwellings (to which must be added 800,000 vacant dwellings and 1.2 million secondary residences). The law of August 22, 2021, known as the climate and resilience law, contains a number of measures to tackle this.

Rent freeze for thermal colanders

Since August 24, the tenants of these particularly energy-intensive accommodations will be able to breathe a little. Indeed, the rents of housing classified F and G in the energy performance diagnosis (DPE) are frozen. The climate and resilience law provides that landlords will no longer be able to increase their rents; this freeze concerns not only new contracts but also current contracts. It will thus be prohibited to apply indexation to them according to the rent reference index on the anniversary date of the lease. In areas considered tense and affected by rent controls, even if the rent is lower than the reduced reference rent, the landlord will not be able to increase it either. No question for the owners to be satisfied with small cosmetic works to hope to escape this measure, this rent freeze will not be lifted if the accommodation remains classified F or G at the DPE. This rent freeze for thermal sieves will only apply in the overseas territories from July 1, 2024. An exemption, however, to this measure, tourist seasonal rentals.

A more readable, more reliable and enforceable DPE

Even before the adoption of the climate and resilience law, the DPE had evolved to make it more reliable and more readable (1). This diagnosis, introduced in 2006, must be provided in the event of the sale or rental of the accommodation. Since July 1, 2021, it is no longer only informative but becomes enforceable, that is to say, it engages the responsibility of the owner vis-à-vis the buyer or the tenant. In an apartment building where the dwellings have the same characteristics, it is possible to have a single DPE produced for all the dwellings and this can be used to generate individual DPEs. The realization of the DPE also changes, it is now based on the physical characteristics of the housing (the quality of the insulation, the type of windows or the heating system …), it must also take into account the energy consumption for lighting or ventilation… Dwellings are classified from A to G on the energy class scale according not only to their primary energy consumption but also to their greenhouse gas emissions. It is the lowest of these two thresholds that determines the classification of the dwelling. The validity of the DPE is normally ten years, but beware, the DPE carried out between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 are no longer valid on January 1, 2023 and those carried out between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021 are no longer valid. valid on 1 January 2025.

Housing that will soon no longer be able to be rented

With the climate and resilience law, energy consumption has become one of the “decency” criteria for housing. There are five of them: a minimum surface, the absence of risk for the safety and health of the tenant, the absence of vermin and parasites, the provision of certain equipment and maintaining a minimum energy performance. The owners of housing considered as thermal sieves not only will no longer be able to increase rents, but, if they do not carry out the work to change category, they will no longer be able to rent them at all. As of January 1, 2023, accommodation classified G can no longer be the subject of a new rental contract. Among them, the most energy-intensive, those whose consumption is greater than 450 kWh per m2 per year, will be considered indecent. These 140,000 dwellings will then be prohibited from rental. On January 1, 2025, this rental ban will be extended to all category G housing, on January 1, 2028 to all F-class housing, and on January 1, 2034 to all E-class housing.


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