Sunday, June 22, 2008

Energy rating might soon be part of sale deed

  • Jason Dowling
  • The Age, June 23, 2008

HOME owners may soon have to reveal the energy efficiency of their homes when they put them up for sale, potentially affecting the value of millions of homes.

The Victorian Government, as part of a national process, is working on the new disclosure rules for the benefit of potential buyers, with about 1.8 million existing homes in Victoria having an energy efficiency of only about 2½ stars - half the level of the 40,000 new homes built each year. The ACT already has mandatory efficiency reporting for all homes at the time of sale and South Australia and NSW are believed be close to introducing similar rules.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Neil Laws said there was already increased interest in the housing market for more efficient homes.

"If you have got an energy-efficient house it is obviously going to save you money down the track," he said.

Buyer's advocate Gil Williams said efficiency was important to buyers. He predicted a big change in the energy efficiency of housing in the next 10 years.

Victoria, the other states, territories and the Commonwealth, have been working on mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency for residential buildings as part of the National Framework for Energy Efficiency.

The new reporting regimen was to be introduced last year but was delayed.

Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said efficiency reporting for homes would accelerate the upgrading of efficiency standards for homes in Melbourne.

"We would support it for rental properties as well," she said.

David Imber, of the Victorian Council of Social Service, also called for energy efficiency reporting for rental properties.

The State Government is not considering mandatory energy efficiency reporting for rental properties at this stage.

Master Builders Association of Victoria executive director Brian Welch said the efficiency reporting for existing homes would be an extra regulatory burden on home owners.

"I think it is just another bit of regulatory nonsense which is forced on everyone in an effort to appear to be doing something intelligent about energy savings and management," he said.

Housing Industry Association regional director Robert Harding said government help for a voluntary scheme would be welcomed.

Jennifer Cunich, of the Property Council of Australia, said she supported greater energy efficiency in the property sector.

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