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New energy law exposes Spanish property owners to risk of fines and legal action

Spanish Legal IssuesPosted by Andrew Thu, February 02, 2017 14:18:39

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 tenants.