Due to the French historical tradition of strong centralization, all the policy goals are defined at the State level (Ministry of Housing) then facilitated by a specific State administrations (A.N.I.L.) with a decentralization at the level of the Province (Département) (A.D.I.L.) to provide the relevant information to local public authorities, legal persons and natural persons. Depending on their financing resources, Municipalities and Metropolis may support this policy, but due to austerity, the financial support of local authorities is steadily decreasing and mainly focusses on owner-occupiers with very low incomes or on social housing.
The following table summarizes the policy goals and the corresponding regulation and instruments.
Bylaw of the 30th March 2009
Article 68 of the law n° 2012-150
Decree n° 2009-1438 of the law voted on the 23rd of November 2009
0% eco-loan for the building works.
Reduced V.A.T. rate on building works of renovation focusing on the improvement of the energy efficiency
Sharing 50/50 of the energy savings between the tenant and the landlord
French national State +
Caisse des dépôts
Loan with 0% of interest rate
V.A.T. rate of 5,5%
50 % of the yearly energy savings must be invoiced to the tenants with a special line mentioned on the rent receipt
Rental property owners (natural persons and condominiums boards)
Rental property owners
Rental property owners
Legal conditions and/or technical standards
For a previous energy consumption >180kwh/m²/year to reach a global performance x<150kwh/m²/year
For a previous energy consumption <180kwh/m²/year to reach a global performance x<80kwh/m²/year
All the building companies must be accredited
Method to assess the results = Th-C-x
A minimum energy performance of each material, equipment or system is defined.
The renovation must concern less than 50% of the structure and less than 2/3 of the finishing
The nature of the energy efficiency works must be precisely defined with the targeted energy performance.
A concertation/information with the tenant(s) is mandatory but the landlord may enforce the law.
30.000 euros max /dwelling
50% max of energy savings may be invoiced to the tenant on a yearly basis.
Period of the loan 10-15 years
Valid up to the 1st of January 2017
The tenant’s payment may last up to 15 years max.
2 National housing stocks
2.1 Housing stock and typology overview
In France, the construction phases division varies depending on the study, nevertheless the most commonly used is the following one:
1948 – 1974;
1974 – 2000;
For the period preceding 1974, the categories reflect the important changings in construction methods. After 1974 the setting of thermal regulations allowed to separate the buildings in 3 different classes. Two other thermal regulation followed, 2005 and 2012, but the data related to them are still difficult to find.
The number of dwellings in France is around 31,5 million: 17 000 000 single family houses and 14 500 000 multi families houses and apartment blocks.
The following tables show the number of dwellings, the final energy consumption (all uses) and the heating energy consumption per type of construction and phase.
The construction rate per year, since 1980, is shown in the following figure:
2.2 Ownership structure
In 1978, one out of four housing belonged to the private rented market. Over the next decade, up to the mid-eighties, the private rented stock declined sharply: it loses about 900,000 housings. Some institutional investors were not anymore forced by law to invest parts of their assets in housing and they prefer to invest in financial markets.
The decline was reversed in the late 1980s and since then the private rented sector increases continuously. This positive development is generally attributed to the effect of tax incentives to favour the investments of natural persons in new housing. This trend has also been supported by the stabilization since 1989 of the legislation on tenancy relationships which provides a secure frame for the investors. The withdrawal of institutional investors has however continued, but it was more than offset by private individual investments.
French housing stock
(in thousands of housing units)
Private rental stock
Social rental stock
In addition, a significant part of the Social housing sector has “de facto” market prices and is regulated by the offer and the demand: 9.2% of the Social housing companies’ stock is market-based. In 2013, that represents around 500 000 housing units mainly located outside the metropolis (400.000 inhabitants and above).
There is a French specificity in the ownership structure of the private rented housing stock.·
Ownership of the “pure”
private rental housing sector
Natural persons directly or indirectly using S.C.I.
Social housing companies
According to a 2010 survey, the average landlord is 55 years old and owns 2.1 rental housing units. If landlord are hardly older than owner-occupier (52 years on average), they are distinguished by a significantly higher income. Their average income (€ 72,000) is almost double and their standard of living is 80% higher.
While more than six out of ten owners have only one rental unit, a significant portion of the stock is concentrated in the hands of a small number of owners: 20% indeed hold more than half of the rental stock and 2% with ten or more dwellings hold 16.5% of the stock.
As the main part of the private rental housing stock is owned by natural persons, there is a French specificity of the type of housing and occupancy in the concerned building (Data 2013)
In the same block of flats, we can find both tenants and owner-occupiers. Nothing prohibits in fact the owner of a unit in a building to dispose of as they wish (by occupying, renting it or even using it as a second residence). France stands out in this respect many European countries where the mix is rare among homeowners and tenants within the same building. This aspect is the main actual barrier for the technical renovation of this part of the private rental housing stock furthermore for energy efficiency investments.
3 Energy retrofitting
Except in case of emergency due to problems of safety for the persons living in the estates, the initiative and the decision to modernize or rehabilitate a residence is depending on the landlord furthermore for energy retrofitting.
If the landlord is willing to get a financial contribution from its tenants as law allows it, there is a need to implement a cooperation process and to get the tenants’ formal agreement as already above mentioned in the point 1.2. This process is very rare in the private rental housing stock due mainly to the lack of competences in social engineering.
Most of the time the local public authorities are supporting the process by providing information about the legal and financial framework not by financing.
3.2 Private rented housing markets
How to define the profile of the average French tenant/household living in this stock?
He is rather young, living alone or a couple without kids for less than four years in a one or a two rooms housing unit. Its landlord is a natural person owning a total of two dwellings to overcome the fall of its incomes when he will be retired. This tenant has no capacity to buy its own dwelling. As he spent more than 36% of its incomes to pay its rent and the operating charges. He has no will to co-invest in energy efficiency with its landlord.
Regarding the landlord itself, due to a significant increase of the construction costs during the last decade, the prices of the estates are two high to buy estates in the Parisian suburb, so he prefers to invest in Province in little and medium cities. As this tenant has to compete with other types of investors (mainly with social housing companies) in many cities, there is a risk of vacant flat. So, the green value is seen as a way to preserve the value of its assets.
The average price paid for one kwh is 13 cents which is a very low price compared with the prices of the other European countries..
Average rent price according to the size of the cities
From 10k to 50k
From 50k à 200k
From 200k to 2 millions
Parisian urban area
Social rental housing sector
Private rental housing sector (empty)
8,6 - 11
14,1 – 20,00
Private rental housing sector (furnished)
Selling prices and average rent prices
Euro / m² living surface
(Classes C &D)
Euros / m² living surface
(Classes A & B)
Euros / m² living surface
Average rent price
(location: Parisian suburb Chatillon)
Type of dwellings and average.
Type III and +
Average living surface
Geographical distributionfor rental housing sector (the historical one is not available-Data 2012
Cities < 100k inhab
Cities > 100k inhab
Parisian urban area
Social housing sector
Private rented housing sector
3.3 Financing and regulatory environment
See the point 1.2.
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