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Energy Certificates are Now Required

The CEE – Certificado de Eficiencia Energética – regulation was finally published on Saturday and came into effect on Monday (15th April 2013). As from the 1st of June 2013, no property transfer, by sale or lease, will be registered by a Notary without a CEE. This results from an EU regulation that’s been in effect from 2002 and the equivalent CEE’s have been required for many years in other countries. New property in Spain has had to have the CEE since 2008 and the new regulation brings that requirement to resale properties.

The property owner is obliged to get the certificate by instructing a suitably qualified property professional. They then inspect the property; note the many relevant points of location, construction and condition; enter the information into a highly complex computer formula; and the bar chart ‘banding’ of the property will be produced. This is then submitted to the appropriate Comunidad’s office (eg Junta de Andalucia or Murcia or Valencia) for ratifying and then the CEE is issued to the owner.

It’s going to cost and take time, so if you are selling or renting your house it would be prudent to instruct the work now. If you wait until, for example, the buyer gives his deposit, then there is the risk that the issue of the CEE will delay the sale. The professional can be encouraged to work quicker, but once it’s submitted to the Junta’s office who knows how long it will take. Everybody is new to the system and will have to learn how it works. Over the last few months, professionals such as Architects, Technical Architects and Building Engineers have been taking courses on how to generate the certificate and hopefully the government officials have been similarly training in the scrutiny and issuance of the final CEEs.

Unfortunately (as always!), there appear to be different levels of work that can be carried out to provide a certificate, with cursory ones resulting in poorer levels of banding, but with the more studious giving the possibility of raising the banding. And that’s important as inevitably the better the band the higher will be the price of the property, as buyers will see that there will be energy savings over a poorer band property. In addition, there is talk of the system leading to ‘encouragement’ for owners to improve the energy rating of their property by, for example, reductions in the level of IBI having to be paid. In other words, poorer banding indicates higher energy costs and potentially higher taxes.

“But how much does a CEE cost!?” Apparently, it’s up to the individual professional and their client to agree the fee, and the Government has indicated that the professionals should charge only 90€ euro and the Junta official will charge nothing. Having taken one of the courses and knowing the amount of work involved in producing the band correctly, that might just be the fee that could be charged per owner if a professional is surveying a large block of identical apartments at the one time. It would certainly be sensible for presidents and administrators to instruct a professional to carry out the work on the whole of their community and thus save the costs to the individual owner. The certificate lasts for 10 years so even if owners are not selling or renting now, it will be worthwhile as there is bound to be an obligation in the future for all properties to have a Certificado de Eficiencia Energética.

However, if you are the owner of an individual villa, then it’s going to cost considerably more for a proper survey to increase the possibility of getting a better CEE banding. It goes down to the details of the window glass thickness, the efficiency of the water heater, the orientation of the walls and roof, etc, etc. It could easily take 4 to 5 hours for a large place and then all that information has to be entered into the formula and the result submitted to the officials. Inevitably there will be some queries from them that will involve more work and then the CEE will be issued. I can see the fair costs being easily 400€ euro or 500€ euro or more for even a medium villa.

So agents, this is your new challenge! You aren’t supposed to market a property after 1st June without the certificate being displayed. There will be fines for you and the property owner if you don’t. You’ll need to explain matters to the owner, take all the abuse directed against agents, professionals, bureaucrats, Governments and the EU, but have to persist as all your marketing and selling work could come to nothing without that certificate.

Survey Spain RICS Chartered Surveyors are not permitted by the Spanish Government to issue certificates, despite the EU regulations on European wide professional qualification acceptance, but we have arrangements in place whereby we can arrange to have the professional work carried out throughout Spain.