May 16th, 2013

From 1 June 2013, a new legal
obligation arises for sellers and landlords of Spanish properties to obtain an
Energy Performance Certificate. Failure to do so can expose the Spanish
property owner to the risk of very high fines (3,000€- 600,000€); and also the
risk of legal action from buyers/ tenants.

There are undoubtedly multiple
benefits from improvements in energy efficiency. However, just at a time when,
more than ever, Spanish property owners need reductions in costs and complexity
in dealing with Spanish properties, this change has been met with dismay by
many property professionals and economic commentators alike. The definitive
step of immediately imposing a ‘sellers’ obligation’, rather than making a
‘buyers’ recommendation’ as a first step at least; at this difficult juncture
for the Spanish property market generally, is quite baffling.

Cost estimates for obtaining the
certificate are varying significantly at the moment, as the market for this
relatively new service settles. For example, estimates we have seen for a small
flat have ranged (for an identical service) from 150€- 500€ plus IVA. Obviously
the type of property; size; age; and location will have a bearing on the cost.

Nevertheless, the Spanish legal
position is as it is. So, owners of Spanish properties who have a view to the
sale or rental of their property need to bear this requirement in mind; and
always to raise the issue with the estate agent/ representative prior to any
marketing campaign for sale or letting.

The other consequence of this new
law is that the issue of energy efficiency is going to be higher on the agenda
of buyers and tenants. So, Spanish property owners will need to consider more
carefully the cost/ benefit of energy saving property improvements during
ownership and in anticipation of sale/ letting. Energy inefficiency will
clearly place yet another potential bargaining chip in the hands of buyers and