Years 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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.