1. City of Austin Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure/ECAD
I thought I had addressed all changes but there is more. In addition for the seller to disclose the energy audit results to a potential buyer no later than three days before the option period expires, the following changes are now effective. It has become very important that you as a Seller inform yourself as early as possible what is required.
(a) Condominiums are now subject to the ECAD Ordinance. Owners of condos with one to four units are subject to the requirements of residential facilities; those with five or more units are subject to the requirements of multifamily facilities.
(b) As of May 2, 2011, multifamily properties, with an energy usage per square foot exceeding 150 percent must reduce energy use by 20 percent. In addition the property must disclose to prospective tenants that the property has been designated a higher than average energy use property and that the tenant’s electricity bills will be higher than if they lived at a more energy efficient comparable property.
(c) If you own a commercial property, view the revised ECAD Ordinance at http://www.abor.com/gov_affairs/Ordinance.PDF.
2. To summarize the facts on the ECAD ORDINANCE:
(a) The ECAD audit is a specialized audit that examines four primary areas in a home: Heating and Cooling system efficiency; Air infiltration – duct performance, sealing in plumbing areas and weather stripping; Windows- shading, low “E” glass and solar screens; Attic insulation.
(b) What is required? Homeowners selling their homes in Austin will be required to obtain a specialized audit – the ECAD audit – and to disclose the findings of that audit as part of their regular seller’s disclosure notice.
(c) Are there exemptions? Yes, several, including properties less than 10 years old, as well as properties in foreclosure or pre-forclosure. There are a number of other exemptions – go to www.austinenergy.com/go/ecad.
(d) Whom does the ECAD affect? Homeowners with properties within the Austin City limits that are serviced by Austin Energy and more than 10 years old – unless exempted.
(e) Who can conduct these audits? Professionals who have been certified by either the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) or the Building Performance Institute and who are registered with Austin Energy as approved contractors for this program. A list of registered energy audit professionals can be found at www.austinenergy.com/go/ecad. I can also recommend professionals with whom my clients and I have worked.
(f) When does the audit need to be completed? No later than three days prior to the expiration of the option period; if there is no option period, prior to the execution of the sales contract.
(g) How much does an ECAD cost? For a typical (!) 1800 square foot or less and a single AC system, estimated cost ranges from $ 200 to $ 300. Auditors set their own prices though, normally dependent on the size of a home.
(h) How long is the ECAD valid? For 10 years under current ordinance.
3. Situations that were recently encountered:
(a) Buyer terminates contract due to problems found in inspection report. Seller disagrees with problems, refuses to make repairs. Does seller have to disclose these problems to the next buyer? The seller and the realtor are charged with the knowledge of the information contained in the inspection report, even if they disagree. If inspection report reveals material defects, seller and realtor are obliged to disclose them to subsequent buyers. Inspection report should be shown to subsequent buyer, together with Disclosures. If seller believes information in report is incorrect, seller should have another inspection performed and then provide both reports to subsequent buyers.
(b) Seller receives two offers – seller wants to counter both offers at the same time. Not a good idea because if both counters were accepted, seller would have to sell the same property to two different parties. Better strategy would be for seller to reject both offers and invite prospective buyers to submit better offers (we have a form for this) or respond only to one offer.