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PROPERTY

French property renovation grants closed to second-home owners

The French government initiative which provides financing for property renovations has closed to second-home owners - but for those living in France, there is still money available.

A Renaissance-era home in the French town of Langres undergoes renovation.
Old French properties might be beautiful, but are they energy efficient? Photo by FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP)

From January 1st 2022, people who own second homes in France can no longer benefit from the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme.

But if you live in a property in France as your primary residence, you can still access significant amounts of financing – up to €10,000 – to perform renovations on your home to make it more energy efficient. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

What is MaPrimeRenov?

Launched by the French government back in January 2020, the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme lets homeowners apply for financial help to renovate their homes.

These grants can be used for insulation, heating, ventilation and energy audits of homes. 

From September, some homeowners will need to pay for an energy audit if they want to sell their property. The average cost of one of these assessments is estimated at €700-800.

READ MORE The new rules for selling houses in France

The amount of money you will receive through MaPrimeRenov’ depends on where you live, your household income and the number of people living in your household – this will place you in the bleu, jaune, violet or rose category. 

Those in the bleu category are eligible to receive the highest level of financing – up to €10,000 in total.

In the greater Paris Île-de-France region, you will be allocated into a category according to the following income limits (which change in accordance with the number of people living in your household – composition au foyer). 

Credit: linternaute.fr

Outside of Île-de-France, the earning limits are as follows:

Credit: linternaute.fr

If you are in any doubt, there is also an online simulator which allows you to calculate how much money you could get through the MaPrimeRénov scheme. 

You can use MaPrimeRénov with other financial aid for renovation works such as the Certificats d’économie d’énergie and the Action Logement initiative. If you are eligible for support through MaPrimeRénov, you will often be eligible to receive money from these other schemes too. 

If you access a MaPrimeRénov grant, you can also benefit from a VAT reduction of 5.5 percent of any renovation works carried out. 

People renting property are not eligible to receive money under this scheme. 

What has changed in 2022? 

New legislation that came into effect on January 1st has changed a number of the criteria for accessing MaPrimeRénov grants. 

You can only apply for funding if the building is more than 15 years old and occupied for at least eight months per year. However, the exception to this is that you can apply for funding to a replace an oil-powered boiler if your property is more than two years old – which was previously the limit for all renovation works covered by the scheme. 

Within one year of asking for finance, the homeowner must be living in the property as their primary residence. This means that you cannot access MaPrimeRénov grants if you are planning to use the property as a second home. 

The works must be carried out within two years of applying for financing. If you receive an advance payment, the work must be carried out within one year. 

The earning limits detailed in the section above are slightly changed from previous years. 

How do I apply?

First you must create an account on maprimerenov.gouv.fr

In order to do so, you must have an electronic copy of your most recent tax return, an email address and the names and dates of birth for everyone living in your household.

Once you have created an account, you can submit a quote for the works that will be completed and disclose any other financial aid that you are receiving. You can find detailed instructions for what must be included in the quote under the Vérifier son devis et sa facture section of this page

The works must be carried out by a professional building company certified to carry out energy-efficient works – you can find a list here

READ ALSO: How to convert a rustic barn into your dream home

Do not begin building works until you have confirmation that your request for financing has been accepted. Once it has, renovations can begin. 

Collect the bill from the builders once the work is completed and send it to MaPrimeRénov via your account. You do not need to pay the builder up front – you can wait until you have received your money from the government. 

Where can I get more information?

For more information and to access the grant, go to MaPrimeRénov’. You can also call +33 (0) 8 08 800 700 if you have specific questions on the scheme.

It is possible to set up a free meeting with an advisor to get further information specific to your personal project – you can find your nearest advisor here. It is worth doing this before sending an application for financing. 

Other financial support for energy-saving renovations 

France has a number of other state-backed schemes to help you finance ecological renovations of your home. 

You could access a zero percent interest loan, known as an éco-PTZ, for example. These loans of up to €50,000 will be maintained at least until the end of 2023. They are issued by regular banks, but backed by the government. 

One of the benefits of taking out a loan rather than a grant is that there are no earnings limits. You must simply be the property owner – if you don’t live at the home yourself, you must be renting it or commit to renting it once the works are complete. 

The property must be at least two years old.

Works that can be paid for with an éco-PTZ include: roof, wall, window and door insulation; and installation of renewable-powered heating. 

You can use the same helpline listed for MaPrimeRénov’ if you have any questions. 

The government advice for all energy efficiency related renovations is to begin by isolating your property, before installing new heating systems. 

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BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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