France has already implemented the directive from the EU that states home owners must have a Certificate of Energy Efficiency for the property before it can be sold. Says Keith Baker of Croft Baker & Co, a member of the Federation of Overseas Property Developers, Agents and Consultants (FOPDAC).
The form is technical and extends to four pages and must be completed by a surveyor who has been trained specifically for this purpose. The Energy Certificate points out where the property is failing and lists the work required to rectify, although this is not law and does not have to be carried out.”
France is often first in such matters and it is interesting to see how it is affecting sales and the market in general.
Firstly the cost of such a survey for the French homeowner is around 500/700 euros but this can rise depending on the size of the property. The information provided by the survey is private to the owner and the buyer but is an essential part of the conveyancing procedure. It is purely informative and cannot stop a sale. It is produced with the draft contract.
Officially one cannot place the cost of the survey on the buyer through the contract , but vendors are increasingly likely to take the cost of surveys into account when negotiating the contract price.
“Finding a trained surveyor in the field can proved difficult”, adds Keith, ” and we have had delays whilst an owner has sought the services of a surveyor to carry out this specialist work.”
The compulsory surveys now cover such areas as termites, asbestos, lead, energy efficiency and ground risks such as avalanche, subsidence, and other geological matters. Not every property is subject to all of them.
“To date no sales I have been involved in have aborted due to the report”, says Keith “but one must take a view that buyers reading an adverse report may find that this affects their decision to buy, even though in essence it is not supposed to have an impact on contractual relationships”
Steve Emmett, Chairman of FOPDAC concluded”, France is a much loved country when it comes to UK residents purchasing abroad. I do not think that these new regulations will deter buyers, particularly as within a few months they will become an accepted part of the transfer of property in the UK and, in short order, throughout the EU. However, I do feel it is essential that buyers are made aware of changes in Legislation.”