“Be careful what you wish for…”
Over the past years, organized Real Estate in Ontario has been lobbying the Government to support energy audits and grant programs that would encourage Canadians to voluntarily increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
Now along comes Bill 150: the Green Energy Act, and instead of the REALTOR Community jumping up and down and supporting the ACT, The Ontario Real Estate Association is bringing up some serious concerns. The Bill, as written, requires MANDATORY Energy Audits at the time of sale of residential properties only and putting the audit in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. It excludes both Commercial and Industrial properties.
Here are some of my concerns:
- Whenever I hear MANDATORY as part of a program, I get concerned that it acts as a challenge to circumvention and “creativity”.
- If the Government is serious why would it focus on less than the 10% of Ontario Housing that is bought or sold every year. Why not pick a date in time, say 2015, that all homes in Ontario have to be audited? What of the home next door to you that they has been in the ame family 30 years and is not subject to an audit?
- If the audit becomes part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, then there is a whole other level to the negotiations. What if the Buyer’s audit shows something different than the Seller’s audit? If there is work to be done, does it have to be done before closing? Does the audit now set the value of the home?
- Why would Commercial and Industrial properties be excluded? Do those properties not have to meet energy-efficiency standards?
- It is already adventageous for Sellers to install energy efficient elements as a feature of the property and increasing energy efficiency is often one of the first things that new Buyers do with the available programs from the Province. What is next? Does the Government now mandate that every car in Ontario must be a Hybrid?
- Who sets the Green Certification? Is it LEED, EnergyStar, Build America or BGNM?
- The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is often under public scrutiny because its’ files are viewed to be out-of-date by taxpayers due to lack of proper inspection. How will a new agency created under the Act deal with deficiencies and corrections to your property as new work gets done?
- How will all these auditors be trained and who will regulate them, updating their knowledge and keeping an industry standard?
- Take the Energy Audit out of the sales transaction and make it across the Province and include all types of property.
- Mandate who sets the standards, like CSA-the Canadian Standards Association. Right now there seems to be confusion.
- Create more grants for homeowners so that voluntary updates are further encouraged.
- Add to the present education for consumers about GREEN initiatives, providing more leadership.
Please know that the Ontario Real Estate Association has problems with the application of the Bill and not it’s goals, as I do. Feel free to leave your comments below and Happy Earth Day!
Here is the latest Press Release from the Ontario Real Estate Association.