BER now mandatory on all property ads


Building Energy Rating must be displayed in online and print adverts, brochures and ‘For sale’ and ‘To let’ signs outside property

New regulations requiring a Building Energy Rating (BER) to be prominently displayed on all property advertising is likely to have an impact on prices and rental values, says Tom Halpin, of the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland).

Under the regulations the obligation is on the seller and property agent to include the BER on all online and print adverts, brochures and on “To let” and “For sale” boards.

Non-compliance could result in a fine of up to €5,000 or, in extreme cases, up to three months in prison.

“In the original legislation the BER certificate had to be made available to a person looking to buy or rent, but it was a passive transaction and it was up to the buyer or tenant to look for it,” says Mr Halpin.

“The new regulations will mean the BER rating is prominently displayed and will help inform a purchaser or a tenant’s decision. The ESRI last year found that a price premium was being paid for properties with a higher energy rating.”

Ed Carey, chairman of the Residential Property Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI), says the regulations are broadly welcomed by estate agents.

“Before, you had situations where the price was agreed on a property but the revelation of a poor BER was an excuse to go back to the negotiating table. Now it’s all up front.”

A BER test can typically cost anywhere between €100 to €500, but listed properties are exempt from the legislation.

Jeff Colley, editor of Passive House+ magazine, believes the the impact of these regulations will be profound and says previous requirements to produce a BER cert before the sale or rental of a property were “regularly breached fairly broadly, particularly in the rental sector.

“It’s important that energy rating is provided up front before people put their foot in the property.”

People should bear in mind that it doesn’t always follow that a high rating translates into low running costs, he says. “In broad terms it’s a good indication but people should bear in mind that a B-rated building heated by oil may not necessarily be cheaper to run than a D-rated property heated by gas. Equally a D-rated 50sq m apartment will cost less than an A-rated 500 sq m house.”

Keith Lowe, chief executive of DNG, welcomes the BER on media advertising but feels it is “completely unnecessary” for the energy rating to be put on signs. “It will be cumbersome as there are 15 different ratings (depending on the energy rating of each property) which must be colour coded and included on the advertising board outside each property.

“We checked with colleagues in England, Scotland, Wales and France and sellers of properties in those countries must advertise the energy rating in commercial media but are not being compelled to include it on an advertising boards and they are all acting in accordance with the same EU directive.”