Under the proposed new Green Energy Act, Ontarians won't be able to sell their homes or condos without first getting an energy audit, which costs roughly $300. Audits should still qualify for the up to $150 subsidy under the Green Energy Act.
The legislation won't require sellers to take any action on the audit results, it's merely intended to inform potential buyers of the property's energy efficiency, and create some more jobs in the energy auditing field.
As the proposal is being debated and fine-tuned, Energy Minister George Smitherman has also hinted that buyers may end up footing the audit bill.
As a prospective buyer, and someone with a bit of a green tilt, I think mandatory audits, regardless of who pays for them, would be a great move. I'd prefer to have a picture of my energy costs and know what work would need to be done to cut my bills before making an offer on a property.
But critics, and there are many, share a different view. They argue the audits are just a thinly disguised new tax in an already overtaxed industry, and that this measure would further drive down prices at a time when many homeowners are already feeling squeezed.
What do you think? Is this a positive step in a green direction, or another stress on the real estate market? Or is it both?