House for sale? Not unless you know how green it is

Estate agents will be legally required to include an independent assessment of a property's energy efficiency in all sale particulars from 1 June, the Government has confirmed.

Anyone putting a property up for sale from June onwards will be required to commission a survey of its energy efficiency from a trained inspector, under rules published this week that are designed to bring the UK into line with an EU directive on home energy.

The idea is that all homes will eventually be given an Energy Efficiency Certificate, similar to the certificates now awarded to household goods such as fridges and freezers. Buyers would also receive advice about how the property's energy efficiency could be improved, with insulation, for example.

The certificates will be the most important part of the Home Information Pack, which, from 1 June, agents will have to compile before putting any property up for sale.

Despite criticism from property professionals, the Government is continuing to insist that the packs should be assembled before an agent can start to market a property.

However, this week, ministers did offer a partial concession. While the packs will have to include energy certificates immediately, agents will be allowed to start marketing a property if they have applied for local search information, even if it has still to apply.

"Estate agents who have previously opposed the packs should be reassured by this statement," said Mike Ockenden, the director general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers.

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