So, you’re all clued up on what MaPrimeRénov is (No? Go and read our previous blog, pronto!), and it sounds like you stand to gain a significant amount of financial help towards your plans for reducing your energy consumption. Now, you just have to get your hands on it – and like so much French bureaucracy, it all starts with a ‘dossier’. Here in her second blog on the subject, Artisan Central member, Lindsey Elliot from EcoPower, tells us how to do it…
Things to know before creating your MaPrimeRénov dossier
You can only create your dossier online, but there are several documents that you’ll need to scan and upload, so before firing up your computer, it’s worth setting aside some time to gather the following information (don’t worry if you discover that you need even more once you’ve started the application process, as you can save your dossier and add the required documents when you’re ready):
- Your latest Avis d’impôts
- Your ‘reference fiscal’
- Proof of address such as an energy bill
- Evidence of any tax credit you’ve received or any benefit or grant towards works that you’ve received during the last five years
- At least one Devis from an RGE-registered installer of the equipment you are choosing – there are a few exceptions, but in general, they must be RGE artisans
- You may need an energy certificate for your property if you have a large project
- The name and DOB of every member of the household and an e-mail address and phone number
- A pdf showing your eligibility for the Prime Énergie (this is another type of financial aid, funded by commercial companies, which can be combined with the MaPrimeRénov grant. You need to know how much you’re eligible to get because this could affect the MaPrimeRénov grant you’re awarded. You can find out this info and download a pdf on the Prime Énergie website)
NB. You won’t get your grant until the work has been finished, so you might also need to stump up a bit of money at this stage if the company installing the equipment requires a deposit (most ask for 30-40% of the total cost). The good news is that if you fall into the ‘blue’ income category (your income is classified by a colour – blue, yellow, purple or pink – going from the most modest to the most comfortable), then you may be able to get an advance payment for the deposit – more on this later.
Need some help?
French bureaucracy can be daunting at the best of times, so if you feel a overwhelmed by the prospect of applying for the MaPrimeRénov grant, don’t be afraid to get some help. Even the most confident of people are finding the process difficult to navigate, despite (or maybe because of) the 65-page step-by-step guide!
At Eco-Power, we work with a ‘hand holder’, to help our clients create their own dossier – this is working really well and we definitely recommend doing the same!
Another option is to assign someone else to complete the dossier for you and even take payments for you, but they must be signed up as a ‘mandataire administratif’, a ‘mandataire financier’, or both. (For an individual or company to be awarded this status, they have to complete a dossier of their own, which involves police checks, etc). Being a mandataire financier is what makes it possible for companies to offer to carry out the work for 1 euro (something you might have seen advertised) – they are collecting the grant money on your behalf, but they must issue an invoice, or ‘facture’, for a minimum of 1 euro.
Creating your dossier
Creating your MaPrimeRénov dossier is pretty straightforward:
- Visit the government’s MaPrimeRénov website
- Scroll down the page to ‘Démmarez votre projet’
- Click on the box relating to your status – for most it will be ‘propriétaire occupant’
- On the following page, you’ll have the option to click through to more information about the application, the process, the documents you’ll need, and the details to look for on your paperwork. When you are ready to proceed, look for the ‘Je suis prêt’ button.
- This is where you’ll need to submit answers and documentation relating to your specific circumstances – but don’t worry, you can chat with an advisor at any point. And remember that you can usually translate a page into English by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Translate to English’.
Once your dossier is complete, you’ll receive an e-mail with a signed letter attached. This letter will contain your dossier reference number, note the completion of the dossier, and give you the green light to go ahead and start the work. You should receive it within a couple of days of the completion of the dossier, so if you think your dossier is complete but you’re still waiting for a reply more than 2 or 3 days later, contact your advisor on the MaPrimeRénov website.
Finding an RGE qualified artisan or business
RGE artisans have undergone formal training and have made a formal promise to: Offer quality installations designed for the property; comply with all relevant regulations; and fulfil the applicable energy performance requirements (RT2020 from July 2021, and RT2012 until then). They also have to undergo quality audits every two years, so an auditor may contact you at some point after your RGE artisan has completed the work.
You can find an RGE qualified company on the Qualit’ENR – just click on ‘Trouvez une entreprise RGE’ and enter your postcode to be directed to a list of local companies. (And if you want to see how they measure up overall, see if you can find them on the Artisan Central directory and you might find some customer reviews).
If you don’t find a local company, you can always cast your net a bit wider – it’s not obligatory to choose a local company. Likewise, if you have a particular company in mind, you can either ask them for their RGE attestation or look them up on the Qualit’ENR site to check if they are RGE registered.
Alternatively, look for recommendations. Reputable companies will be amenable to you chatting to previous clients regarding installations, so ask for some contact details and arrange a visit if you are able.
What should the quote, or ‘devis’, look like?
There are a number of things to look for on the Devis, including:
- The company’s SIRET number
- The company’s RGE number
- The company’s ‘décennale insurance’ details (if relevant)
- Your full address and name should be listed
- The equipment should show that it complies with the required energy efficiency standards required (e.g., ‘Flamme Verte 7’ or equivalent for pôele à bois)
- It should state what’s being replaced – e.g. an old boiler – and a specification of the replacement equipment (if possible), including details about the make, model number and year of manufacture
- The payment details and schedule should also be clear – i.e. 40% deposit, etc.
When do I receive the grant funds?
When the work is complete and you’re artisan has issued you with a ‘facture’, you add this to your dossier and press the ‘demande de paiement’ (request payment) button. It is currently taking approximately 4 weeks for grants to be processed and issued.
How to fund the deposit or the balance that the grant does not cover
You will need to fund the deposit to commence the works as the grant is generally only paid on receipt of the final facture. However, if you are in the blue category for total household income – i.e. ‘revenues très modestes’ – you can request an advance in grant payment through your dossier, but only if the Devis shows that a deposit is required before work can begin.
Alternatively, you can look into getting a loan to fund the shortfall in grant – L’éco-prêt à taux zero. This is a no-interest loan for eco renovation work, for up to 30,000 euros, and you have up to 15 years to pay it back. It can be used in conjunction with your grant. You apply at your bank, or another bank if yours doesn’t offer the loan. To do this, you will need the company doing the work to complete some forms (they will know which ones), and these will need to be submitted along with your grant letter and your devis. The bank loan takes from 3-6 weeks to be approved and the money issued.
When’s the deadline for applications?
The MaPrimeRénov scheme has been allocated 2 billion euros and is now open to everyone. But these funds are unlikely to last forever, so if you have a project in mind, right now might be the time to check if you could be eligible and to start making some plans.
You may feel that your home is just fine as it is and that’s fair enough, but if you sell your home in the future, you will need to have an energy audit and DPE certificate issued. When compared like for like, a lower energy rating may impact the sale of your property. People are more switched on to energy efficiency and why it matters – not least the fact that it means lower bills and a smaller carbon footprint.