Property Diagnostics

Before finalizing a contract for a furnished apartment, a dossier de diagnostics techniques (DDT) must be completed
and provided to the tenant.

A set of certain inspections are required for all furnished rentals. Learn about each inspection below. 

Required for all residences.

  • Measures the floor surfaces after the deduction of space allotted to walls, partitions, stairs and elevator shafts, doorways and windows. Any areas with a height lower than 1.80m is deducted from the surface area.
  • These measurements remain valid indefinitely unless construction work has been done to modify the space.

 

When a property is located within an area of predictable natural and technological risks like seismic activity, the French Information (IAL) imposes two obligations to the lessor:

  • Inform the lessee about the property location in a seismic area, and/or a prevention plan of natural and technological risks (PPRn or PPRt) for the area
  • Inform the lessee about any compensation of the property due to an officially recognized act of God or technological disaster.

A comprehensive statement on risks includes maps of the administrative towns, the property localization map, and the list of the risks to which it is exposed. It is the responsibility of the landlord to establish the risks statement report.

The statement must be less than six months old at the moment of signing the rental lease. However, it is not necessary to have it up to date during the lease period or with a tacit renewal. If the lease is renewed with a new contract, the lessor has to produce a new risks statement of less than six months old.

The landlord must consult the Administrative Towns Information File (DCI: Dossier communal d'information), which is available at the town hall or the government website.

How is this document useful for future tenants?
Energy consumption doesn't only depend on the building - a flat of 100m2 can house a family with children as well as an executive living alone; everyone has their own habits.

One person will turn on every light in the house while another turns out the lights each time they leave a room. Someone might will do the laundry several times a week, while others are happy to use their washing machine once a week or less.

Understanding the technical aspect of a building's ability to hold heat is interesting. Often construction materials make a big difference. There are apartments that simply aren't good at holding heat in. Double glazing can improve comfort, but if the walls are thin, it might not do much good.

Take the energy performance diagnostic with a grain of salt - though the building contributes, part of it is based on the consumption of the predecessor.

 

What defines the DPE and how do you get it?
The Energy Performance Diagnostic (DPE)*, compulsory since the 1st July 2007, is above all, an informative document on thermal specifications (heating, production of hot water, etc.) for homes, with energy consumption and estimated expenses included.

This data is presented in two ways:

  • Energy consumption (for household appliances and now cars): the grades range from A ('energy-efficient housing') to G ('energy-guzzling housing')
  • The impact of this consumption on the greenhouse effect: the grades range from 'low greenhouse gas emitting housing'** to 'high greenhouse gas emitting housing'.

This energy balance must be produced by a specialist who will perform the estimations according to an official method (3CL)*** or based on certified consumption over three years.

It is estimated according to the type of housing:

  • For individual homes, it is based on actual consumption (meter records, bills,...). Notable exception: chimney heating is not deemed additional heating, so a well-fitted chimney is a means of heating not to be ignored allowing a substantial area to be heated at a modest price (heating with wood).
  • For shared properties, it is based on the energy used by the shared occupants.

Mandatory or not?
The DPE is mandatory and must be attached to the lease for all properties, old and new, that are intended to be rented. It is not required for a tacit renewal of a lease. Worth knowing: it is not necessary to produce a DPE when selling a cellar, a car park or a garage without heating.

This diagnostic is valid for 10 years.

 

* Article L. 134-1 of the Code de la construction et de l'habitation (French Building and Housing Legislation)
** Greenhouse gas
*** 'Conventional consumption in homes' calculation method

Lead exposure can be a problem, but the danger is not always immediately recognized. Contamination occurs from the presence of lead in old paint - either through inhalation of dust (usually from work such as sandpapering), ingestion of paint chips or absorption through the skin. With some recent cases of saturnism (causing anemia or irreversible damages to the nervous system), a new diagnostic was implemented on August 12, 2008.

The required lead diagnostic measures the risk of exposure to lead through paint in an apartment.

 

How is a lead detection performed?
X-rays detection is a common method used to conduct a lead analysis. The X-rays can analyze up to 15 layers of paint. All painted items inside the property have to be analysed, including outdoor items such as shutters and railings. Indeed, metal outdoor items were often coated with minium (lead-based anti-rust protection).

Useful information: in case of a rented property inside a condominium, the CREP report applies only to the rented private unit.

The report shall contain the following elements: lead concentration and analysis method used, state of coating, if necessary, reasons that led to building deterioriation.

 

How long is it valid for?
It must be less than six years old, if the presence of lead was detected. If there was no lead detected, it is valid indefinitely.

In case of lead detection, if the lease is renewed and a new lease agreement is finalized, the diagnostic is  mandatory. For a tacit renewal, it is not considered a new lease agreement. In that case, a new diagnostic is not required.

The gas diagnostic determines whether the natural gas set-up within the home is in accordance with safety rules. Only fixed installations (natural gas supply, bottled gas and gas tanks) are affected by this law, not mobile gas appliances used for heating or cooking (gas bottle).

Since November 1st, 2007, it is mandatory to provide a gas diagnosis if it is equipped with a gas installation more than fifteen years old.

Caution: This diagnosis is still necessary even if the gas is cut out and the meter is removed - as long as the gas pipe remains in the apartment!

What does this diagnostic look like?
The technician will remit the evaluation stating that the gas installation shows one of the following: no danger, minor risks, or serious immediate danger.

What to do with the diagnostic?
The document is to be attached to the lease or document of sale. The owner is now protected by the guarantee of "unknown defects". This means that if an accident due to gas occurs, he will not be held responsible.

Caution: At the selling date, the gas diagnosis must be less than a year old.

Valid for: 3 years

 

  • Applies to all private buildings with permits delivered before July 1st 1997.
  • This diagnostic evaluates building materials used for walls, insulation and false ceilings
  • No expiration

Pending...