Compulsory energy certificate worries property agents

A new law which obliges real estate agencies to obtain an Energy Efficiency Certificate for all houses for sale or rent on their books will come into effect on December 1 and is causing a sense of uneasiness in the sector.

The certificate, called Sistema de Certificação Energética dos Edifícios, or SCE, which is valid for 10 years, will include the energy efficiency of the property on a scale of A+ to G, from the highest to the lowest, as well as a list of recommendations to rationalise and improve energy consumption.

An interpretation of the new law by Portuguese consumer watchdog DECO shows that “all immovable properties which are advertised for sale or rent must indicate their energy efficiency through this certificate”, and that this obligation applies to those responsible in the sale or rental process.

Before the passing of this law on August 20, properties only required this certificate at the time of signing the deed.

Therefore, real estate agencies not in possession of certificates for all properties up for sale or rent will now have to ensure owners obtain them before the December 1 deadline.  

At estate agents Fine & Country in Carvoeiro, managing partner Zoie Hawker told the Algarve Resident that they expect the new regulation to cause major problems in the industry.

“As a newly-opened agency still in the process of building up our portfolio of properties, it will not cause too many headaches for us,” said Zoie Hawker.

“But other agents who have hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of properties on their websites have a mammoth task on their hands.”

Paul Greenhalgh from Yellow Homes real estate advisory business told the Algarve Resident that the new regulation will mean “some extra-work earlier in the process”.

“It won’t affect our job too much,” he said, stressing however that it needs to be made clearer to vendors what is inspected.

“One of our properties received a low mark (F) because we were not aware of the requirements. We need to know in a clearer way what is inspected and expected of the properties,” he added.

The price will be high for owners or agencies with properties on the market caught without the appropriate certificate, whose issuance costs around €250.

If properties are not equipped with the certificate, owners can be fined from €250 to €3,740, while estate agencies with properties listed without a certificate can be charged from €2,500 to €44,890.