Province of Ontario's Bill 150: the Green Energy Act

Power Generating WindmillsYears ago both the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Ontario Real Estate Association started lobbying the Government of Ontario to institute Green policies throughout the Province. However, what the Provincial Government has proposed in its’ Green Energy Act has some very fundamental flaws which should be looked at:

  1. At present, in Bill 150, the Province is moving ahead with mandating energy audits on Residential Real Estate, making it part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Condominiums, Commercial and Industrial properties however will be excluded….should they not be included as well?
  2. The Bill stipulates that an Energy Audit must be done but does not stipulate whether it is the responsibility of the Buyer or the Seller to bring the house up to sufficient levels and does not say what those levels are.
  3. The Bill totally forgets the houses on the street that do not change hands for 30 or 40 years and have old windows, low efficiency furnaces etc. and what of residential properties that don’t come on the market because they pass from one person to another in an estate?

Would it not make more sense to mandate a date in time that all homes in Ontario would have have to have Energy Audits and achieve certain goals, much like we do with our cars and emission standards. If the Government is serious about this Bill, and they say they are, then move forward with a plan that can really do something and not a plan that will affect only a small portion of the properties and further stigmatize people for Buying or Selling property in a very difficult economy.

It seems that Governments, with the City of Toronto Land Transfer Tax, the Provincial Harmonized Sales Tax, and The Green Energy Act, as well as the Feds with FINTRAC/Money Laundering, Privacy Legislation and Do Not Call Registry, have decided that the residential property owners through the Real Estate transaction and with the assistance of their REALTOR and Lawyer are the new police force to deal with the Government’s responsibilities.  Government is forcing too much on the Real Estate Transaction that has no place being there.

Energy audits are a great idea and if the Province is really serious about change then treat everyone the same and not just the politically expedient!! What they are proposing sounds good but is less than half by any measure.

RELATED POSTS: Here is a recent article by Lawyer Rober Aaron in the Toronto Star.

5 Responses

  1. Tom Lebour

    CALL FOR ACTION FROM OREA:

    Send a letter to your MPP opposing Mandatory Home Energy Audits

    OREA needs your help.

    The Ontario Real Estate Association is urging the provincial government to amend Bill 150, the Green Energy Act, to make home energy audits voluntary.

    Mandatory home energy audit reports can cost home sellers thousands of dollars in lost home equity. Those with less than ideal energy audit ratings will face pressure from homebuyers to either spend thousands of dollars to improve the energy rating of their home or lower their sale price.

    Your email will reinforce the message OREA will be sending to the Government of Ontario when we appear before the Standing Committee on General Government on April 22nd.

    Please tell your MPP that the government should be helping Ontarians achieve their dream of homeownership by amending Bill 150 to make home energy audits voluntary.

    Send an e-mail to your MPP on this issue now by clicking here: link to facebook.com

    Please consider sending this link, link to facebook.com to your client list. This version of the Call-for-Action is designed to give consumers in the housing market an opportunity to express their concerns on mandatory home energy audits to their MPP.

    Should you receive a response from your MPP, please forward a copy to governmentrelations@orea.com or via fax: (416) 445-2644 to the attention of the Government Relations Department.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. Donald

    I think you are a little unclear about what Bill 150 is intended to do.

    1. Condos are not included because there is very little that an owner is legally allowed to change in his home. There is currently a government sponsored energy audit program for residences (ecoEnergy), but not commercial property. It is easier to use the current program and the existing certified auditors than to start a new industry.

    2. There is no passing or failing an energy audit, the purpose of the audit is to provide information to a buyer about the energy efficiency of a home that they are interested in. A home is one of the biggest purchases any one will ever make, why not be fully informed about the purchase?

    3. The federal and provincial governments are offering up to $10,000 per household for energy efficiency upgrades. It is just a matter of scheduling an initial audit, installing the required upgrades, scheduling a second audit, then waiting for the money to roll in.

    – The most recent version of this bill clearly states that a buyer can waive the mandatory energy audit. It is not being forced on any buyer, it is just giving the right to information to the buyer.

  3. Richard Silver Post author

    Thanks for your input but the article was written when the Minister swore that the Bill would be mandatory and there were “no options” but mandatory. He later changed his mind.
    Also, I am not against the audit but why only at the time of sale? What about the 95% of homes that don’t sell that year. What about Commercial and Industrial property? Why not pick a date whereby all property in Ontario has to be audited?
    In your third point you make the upgrade process sound so easy and uncomplicated but even at present, the process would take over 6 months, if not more.
    If you saw a house that you wanted to buy today under the new Bill it would take us a further few weeks to have the audit report completed and get you ready for sale. Very few Buyers today will buy without a Building Inspection which can be done within a few hours or days, an energy audit takes much longer to get the full results.

  4. Sean Corcoran

    As a Energy Auditor and Home Inspector, I thought perhaps I could add to this thread. The point that it takes up to six months for an energy audit isn’t exactly accurate. There is a high demand for energy audits given the extensive grants available. However the wait time is not six months and following an initial audit the turn around time to have a rating is 14 days. What I suggest is this… The energy audit be scheduled (and paid for) by the seller. This can be done at the time they list the property. I know we’d all like to believe that homes are sold the day it is listed but in my experience I’d say you’ve got the 14 days it takes to get the audit report back! Get in the habit of having your customers book their audit right when they decide to list not when they accept an offer and then have to have a 14 day condition (which I don’t think anyone wants to see).

    By the way, I couldn’t help but notice this thread deals only with the negative aspect of it. Lets consider this senario: A home seller has a 30 year old furnace, 30 year old windows and poor attic insulation. Any reasonable home inspector will make note of the age and probably recommend upgrades. Now, since the home has had an energy audit, the home inspector (such as myself who is also qualified as an energy auditor) can also advise their client that the government will provide them with grants that will make it substantially more affordable to make this upgrades. I’m sure you can see how this will benefit both the buyer and the seller right?

  5. Richard Silver Post author

    Thanks for your comments…they are appreciated. I am a big believer in doing what is necessary and in my own home have done a lot of work to increase the efficiency. What worries me most about this program is the houses that do not turn over within the next years and are therefore not subject to an energy audit.

    I say, let’s make it mandatory for all property in the Province to comply by a certain date….that means Commercial, Residential, Condominium and Factories…not just residential homes and only when they sell….

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