Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman has backed down from a plan to require energy audits each time a house is sold. A new amendment to the province’s Green Energy Act will allow home buyers to waive their right to the $300 audit, as long as they do so in writing.
The change will provide more flexibility in cases where the buyer intends to knock down the property or do major renovations, Smitherman said. But he said he’s not anticipating that many buyers will opt out of an audit.
“I rather suspect as people are making the most important investment of their life, they’re going to find that to be very valuable and important information,” he said. “But we could see some scenarios where the home at question really isn’t worthy of an audit, if you will.”
Ontario realtors have complained the additional costs would hurt homeowners in what are increasingly difficult economic times. The Liberal government is backing off from the audits because it’s afraid of the public backlash, said interim Progressive Conservative Leader Bob Runciman.
Many home buyers will also be hit with additional costs when the province merges its eight per cent sales tax with the five per cent federal GST, he said. “They know that this is a problem for them and they have to back away, and this is one area where they can make some adjustment,” he said.
The legislation will also be amended so residents will have an easier time objecting to wind turbine projects near their homes.