Mandatory home energy audit could significantly hurt home sellers in an already tough economy  

Ontario REALTORS® agree with the principle of energy efficiency for homes expressed in the

Government of Ontario’s proposed mandatory home energy audit, but they say that the additional

costs will hurt homeowners, especially in these economic times.

“This mandatory government regulation will impose a significant cost on home sellers. As with

most Canadians, we don’t believe in green at any cost,” said Gerry Weir, President of the Ontario

Real Estate Association. “It’s not the initial cost of these audits that concerns us,” he said. “Rather,

the results of these audits will be used by home buyers as bargaining chips to significantly reduce

the final selling price.

“Today’s economic downturn is a terrible time to introduce this measure. Home sellers are already

worried about lost equity in their homes. A move like this, which will reduce their value even further,

will not help them in any way,” Mr. Weir said.

Mark Imeson, President of The Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board stated “not only will there

be the initial cost of the energy audit, but in the event there are deficiencies according to a

regulated energy audit the homeowner will now incur further costs to repair the deficiencies without

guarantee these expenses will be recouped in the sale of the home.”

REALTORS® favour government encouragement of energy efficiency in homes through expanded

tax breaks and other measures.

In addition, REALTORS® point out that there is no one standard for energy audits. Different firms

arrive at different assessments of the same house. “EnerGuide ratings of an existing home can and

do vary between energy auditors, depending on the assumptions they make and the extent of data

they collect on the building’s actual construction,” Mr. Weir said.

Furthermore, since there is no regulation of energy auditors, a conflict of interest can arise if a

contractor conducts the audit. There is a natural inclination for that contractor to find problems that

he can offer to repair for the homeowner.

Many details of the energy audit proposal have not been released. For instance, the government

has not said if an energy audit will be required if a property is transferred between family members.

Nor have they said how long an energy audit will be recognized as valid. For example, if a

homeowner sells within one year of buying a property, will the previous energy audit be

recognized?

The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 45,000 brokers and salespeople who are members

of the 42 real estate boards throughout the province. Members of the association may use the

“REALTOR®” trademark, which identifies them as real estate professionals who subscribe to a high

standard of ethics and service.

OREA serves REALTORS® through a wide variety of professional publications, educational

programs, and government lobbying and other services. A division of the association,

 

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