RAHB delegates to the Ontario Real Estate Association’s Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference met with local MPPs to discuss two important issues that affect home ownership and real estate registrants: the pending Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D) legislation and the importance of modernizing the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 2002 (REBBA 2002).
The meetings took place during OREA’s annual Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference (formerly known as the Political Action Conference) from November 19-21, 2017 in Toronto. RAHB delegates were President Lou Piriano, RAHB CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations Committee Chair Kathy Della-Nebbia and Vice-chair Nicholas von Bredow and GR staff Valerie Webster.
What’s the Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D)?
The province has proposed a mandatory Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D) program that would require a seller to do an energy audit before they listed their home, then post the results of the audit on the listing. The audits would be paid for by the program. The goal is to reduce green house gases (GHG).
There are a number of reasons OREA and REALTORS® oppose HER&D:
1. Requiring the audit will not ensure that homeowners will follow through with retrofits; therefore, it does nothing to actually reduce green house gases.
2. The government is allotting $250 million for free energy audits. The same amount could be put toward voluntary audits by all home owners (not just those listing their properties) as well as paying for a portion of the retrofits.
3. The HER&D program targets every home that would be for sale, while a study by the Conference Board of Canada determined that retrofits are most needed for the 76 per cent of homes built in 1995 or earlier.
4. Energy auditors are not licensed by a provincial regulator, not subject to an enforced code of ethics or conduct and are not required to carry errors and omissions insurance.
5. Requiring an energy audit could delay the sale of a home – there may not be enough auditors or auditors may not be able to perform audits in a timely manner.
A poll by Nanos Research indicates that Ontario homeowners overwhelmingly support a government program that would give them a tax break to improve their property’s energy efficiency. Consumers who are staying in their homes are more interested in improving energy efficiency than those who are selling their homes.
The Ontario Real Estate Association is proposing a better solution to reduce green house gases: the Green Home Assistance Program.
This program would use the $250 million allotted to the HER&D program to provide incentives to existing home owners to do an energy audit and then green retrofits. This program would target the 76 per cent of Ontario homes built in 1995 or earlier.
What can you do?
You can write to your local MPP and the Minister of Energy to ask the government to cancel HER&D and support more retrofit incentives for Ontario home owners. The Minister of Energy’s office address is listed below.
The Minister of Energy, Hon. Glenn Thibeault
Ministry of Energy
4th Floor, Hearst Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M7A 2E1
What about modernizing REBBA 2002?
OREA and REALTORS® are advocating to strengthen REBBA by:
1. Having stronger deterrents for unethical behaviour and a regulator that would use the legislation to impose appropriate penalties.
2. Improve continuing education by giving registrants the ability to take the program online or in class, and requiring registrants to take a test to demonstrate their understanding of the material.
3. Requiring a more rigorous licensing education program to better prepare new salespeople for the challenges of a modern real estate market.
4. Updating the code of ethics to reflect items such as social media, new business models and other best practices in the industry.
What can you do?
Write to your MPP and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the Hon. Tracy MacCharles to support the review of REBBA to strengthen the legislation. The address for the Minister of Government and Consumer Services is listed below.
The Hon. Tracy MacCharles
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
6th Floor, Mowat Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M7A 1L2