Update 31 May: This comes into force tomorrow, and it seems that hardly anyone is prepared for it. Even notaries seem unaware: I was told yesterday that one advised an enquirer that it only applied to newbuild properties. With such misinformation and confusion around, please look for yourselves at the links below, which are government links, including one to the actual new law, which comes into force tomorrow, 1 June 2013.

Given the questions I’ve been having, I think it needs to be clarified that it is the legal responsibility of owners – no-one else – to acquire the certificates. Evidently the best agents will advise, and even help obtain the certificates, but it is the owner’s responsibility, and there is no legal onus on the agent even if a property is advertised without a “label”, or with an incorrect one. What agents are required by law to do is advise owners of their own legal obligations, and place the “label” that they are supplied with on the advert.

Clearly the “owners” of a new build are the promoters, and they have been providing these certificates since 2007. With all resale properties, however, it is for the owner to arrange. The certificate also has to be registered: it is the responsibility of the owner to do this but the registration will no doubt be arranged by the certifier. Luckily, the Canaries is one of just a handful of autonomous regions where this can be done: the majority do not yet have the registros in place to process the certificates! The label, or sticker, that must be attached to the details of property for sale or rental will be issued upon registration.

One major concern was whether notaries would stop a sale being signed if the property concerned did not have a certificate. It appears now that they will not have the power to do so, but as is the case where there is an issue with other relevant documents, they will advise both parties of the missing or erroneous document, warn that it must be arranged or corrected, and insert a clause in the new escritura to these effects.

Update 26 May: A few extra details about the new energy certificate system which is due to come into force in less than a week now, on 1 June, and despite the fact that much officialdom seems to be unready. The system will be administered by the autonomous regions, which have until mid-July to finalise lists of those permitted to issue certificates.

The average cost of the certificates will be €200 to €250. They will be valid for ten years, and will be required for any property being sold or rented for more than four months. Fines of between €300 and €600 are envisaged for advertising which breaches the new legislation. Fines of up to €6,000 are envisaged for more serious offences such as falsifying details.

Update 14 May: Anyone wishing to organize one of these certificates, or to confirm that someone else is legally able to issue them, now has an official regional contact point. THIS is the national list from the Government, and the details for the Canaries specifically are:

Consejería de Empleo, Industria y Comercio. Dirección General de Industria y Energía
C/ León y Castillo, 200; Edificio Servicios Múltiples III , Planta 4ª; 35071 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Tel: 928-899-400 ; www.gobcan.es

THIS appears to be the full list of those qualified to issue these certificates in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Update 13 April: Real Decreto 235/2013  has now been approved and published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado nº 89 (13/04/2013). These certificates will continue to be voluntary until 1 June 2013, but from that date, they will be a requirement for anyone selling or renting a property.

Original post 1 April:  I’ve now had a few emails and contact requests for information about a new requirement for all properties being sold or rented out for more than four months to have an energy certificate. I was actually holding off from posting it because it is not yet approved by the Spanish Government. The system should have started in January, with a new law in place as a result of EU directives (please see HERE), but it was only in January that the draft legislation was in place. It has recently been sent to Industria and as far as I know, the new law will be approved by the end of this month. When approved, it will come into force in June assuming there aren’t any changes to the draft legislation.

The bottom line is that from June (we assume), no-one will be able legally to sell or rent out a property without a certificate showing how energy efficient that property is. I will have to confirm later how the certificates can be obtained, but I can at least say that as far as cost is concerned, fees will be determined by market forces: it’s expected, though, to be around 250 to 300 Euros. I myself think it’s barmy to apply this across the EU without regard for the great differences in energy use and systems, and cannot really see what purpose it will serve here, but it is something that is coming in the near future. I’ll update when I have more information.

edit: given the date, it occurs to me to say that this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. I might join in with the Spanish Día de los Santos Inocentes, but there are no jokes on 1 April.

This article has 73 Comments

  1. We have had something similar in England & Wales for some time. Originally the Government were pushing HIP’s (Home Information Pack) which had a lot more than energy performance in them. They estimated the HIP would cost around £600. They bottled out introducing it but did make it mandatory for an Energy Performance Certificate to be produced for selling and renting houses. I had one done a few weeks ago, it cost £40 but you can pay up to £100. It is completely useless, the surveyor spent about 20 minutes doing the survey which involved measuring all the rooms in the house, checking the water tank had a cover and checking the loft insulation. He also checked we had double glazing. The report said we had no thermostat on the water heating, we have. No one pays any attention to the recommendations for improving efficiency as they are for expensive things like photovoltaic cells on the room or external insulation which cost over £10,000. It has created a mini boom for employment producing the certificates as the assessors have to pay for training and certification so it’s created some short term jobs. House buyers and tenants pay no attention to the EPC. It will be of even less use in Tenerife in most areas given the climate and relative lack of a requirement for heating in a lot of areas.

  2. Perhaps Tenerife can claim “Ultra peripheral Status” and avoid any requirement to abide by this proposed EU/Spanish legislation.

  3. It strikes me that these e.p.certs are yet another way to suck money out of foreign owners.Last year one estate agent was telling owners that they were required to pay for a “project certificate ” to prove that the property is wired up to the latest spec.This would entitle the new owners to apply for a supply of electricity from Unelco. Of course, it is the new owner that has to sign a contract with Unelco for supply! I hope that this is clarified before any owners are swindled out of more money.

  4. Oh dear, I’m afraid you’re confused about this certificate. You are referring to the elec installations certificate, which is standard for any older buildings in order for the new owner, foreign or Spanish, to get a contract in his or her name. That is governed by Spanish electrical regs. What this post is about, however, is an EU directive requiring any seller or landlord to get a certificate of energy efficiency. Again, it applies to any owner or landlord, regardless of whether they’re British, Spanish or any other nationality.

  5. Thanks Janet but do I need one now as my house is advertised with a few agents for sale? Do I need one now or when I am selling it at notary

  6. I believe that you will need it at notary, though it’s possible an agent will ask for it in advance to show there’s not going to be any hiccup at the point of signing.

  7. seems to be a lot of confusion and rumours about whether this is required to advertise or only upon sale. can anyone clear this up

  8. The ECC must be in place before it is advertised for sale or rent, the rules are the same for Spain as they are for the UK .
    Agents or individuals who advertise without the ECC rating on their media are subject to a fine.
    For those who are already renting a property you are not required to have an ECC, it will only be required when you renew the tenancy contract.
    Anybody who bought a NEW BUILD property from 2007 onwards should have been given an ECC by the developer.

  9. As the law is phrased (HERE is a link to it), the certificates must be in place for sale or rental contracts, and ot or a copy must be shown to potential buyers or tenants, with the original being handed over to the confirmed buyer or tenant at the point of signing the escritura or rental contract.

  10. Thanks Janet,conflicting advice again from Alan though,alan where is your source of info. confused.com

  11. Carol, all that matters is what the law says. Article 14.2 of the Spanish law, concerning the certificate for existing properties, says:
    .
    Cuando el edificio existente sea objeto de contrato de compraventa de la totalidad o parte del edificio, según corresponda, el certificado de eficiencia energética obtenido será puesto a disposición del adquiriente. Cuando el objeto del contrato sea el arrendamiento de la totalidad o parte del edificio, según corresponda, bastará con la simple exhibición y puesta a disposición del arrendatario de una copia del referido certificado.
    cve: BOE-A-2013-3904

    .
    Roughly – when the existing property is the subject of a sale contract, the certificate will be put at the disposal of the buyer. With regard to rental contracts, it will be sufficient to show the original and provide a copy.

  12. How would you translate the following paragraph from the royal decree as this has been sent to me to say certificate must be included in advertising

    CAPÍTULO III
    Etiqueta de eficiencia energética
    Artículo 12. Etiqueta de eficiencia energética.

    2. La etiqueta se incluirá en toda oferta, promoción y publicidad dirigida a la venta o arrendamiento del edificio o unidad del edificio. Deberá figurar siempre en la etiqueta, de forma clara e inequívoca, si se refiere al certificado de eficiencia energética del proyecto o al del edificio terminado.

  13. I would translate it:
    .
    “CHAPTER III
    Energy efficiency label
    Article 12. Energy efficiency label.
    2. The label will be included in all offers, promotions and advertising concerning the sale or rental of the property. It must always clearly and unequivocally state whether it refers to an energy certificate of a building in construction or a finished property.”
    .
    To me this could not be clearer. As I said above with regard to article 14, certificates will be put at the disposal of the buyer. With regard to rental contracts, it will be sufficient to show the original and provide a copy. Article 12 shows that there is a label, separate to the certificate, which contains the brief description of energy efficiency. It is this label which must be included in advertising, not the certificate itself. Clearly, though, a certificate must have been obtained by the seller or landlord in order for such a label to be available.

  14. Carol, I believe you have a property for sale so basically you need to arrange an inspection of your property, it will be rated between A (very good) or G (very bad) when you receive the rating pass it on to your agents, they are then legally required to include it in the publicity or your property. If they do not have the rating they should not be advertising the property.

    As Janet has said the label (rating) must be included in all offers, promotions and advertising.

    Hope this helps,

    Kind regards
    Confused.com

  15. Janet do you know of anyone in Lanzarote that does this at a reasonable price as we have been quoted ridiculous prices or is it more rip off the Brits with the scare mongering as usual.

  16. HERE is the list for the Las Palmas province … don’t appear to be any in Lanzarote, in fact they all seem to be in Gran Canaria.
    .
    Who has been quoting you? This is something that owners/landlords can and should be organizing themselves direct with those who can actually certify! They will have professional rates without any “commission” or “arranging fee” …

  17. Hi Janet,

    Same question as Ann anybody, on the East Coast of Tenerife to do this reasonably

  18. I put the link for the Tenerife province in the main post … for convenience, HERE it is again. There are 16. They are all in Tenerife, and all but one are in the north, the majority in Sta Cruz. The one in the south is in Granadilla.
    .
    The Granadilla one is Jesús Miguel Ferrero Oliva, a firm of architects and engineers. HERE.
    .
    The question is not who can do it “reasonably”. The question is who can do it “legally”. This list is the full official list. Anyone else, however “reasonable”, is not qualified to provide a valid certificate. There may be agents who will get certificates for clients from these qualified sources, but unless they are doing it without adding a fee, clearly it will be cheaper to deal direct with the firms who can issue them.

  19. I am in the process of selling an apartment and have a notary date of 13th June 2013. I spoke to the notary (Nicolas Castilla Garcia) today to determine whether or not one of these certificates would be required. He said to phone back after June 1st as so far they had received no official notification regarding these certificates.

  20. That’s when the new law comes into force, and it seems that as yet notaries haven’t been informed …

  21. Thanks Janet but it’s hard to go direct as don’t know anyone it seems to be the only way here is with an agent so if anyone on Lanzarote is on line can they give any advise for our island

  22. That bit really was a reply to “Unhappy”, but it’s worth saying that anyone might at least do themselves the favour of ringing someone local to their property (being professionals, most of these firms will have at least one member of staff who can speak English) and finding out what they would charge given the description of any particular property. At least then people will know what price to expect from an agent …

  23. Janet with your latest news re cert. does this mean that holiday lets of less than 4 months are not required to have an EPC

  24. Yes, as far as it’s being reported, any lets of under 4 months do not require landlords to get a certificate. The law is HERE, and Article 2.2g says:
    .
    Se excluyen del ámbito de aplicación:Edificios o partes de edificios existentes de viviendas, cuyo uso sea inferior a cuatro meses al año …
    .
    “Excluded from the scope of application are: buildings or parts of existing residences whose use is less than four months a year … “

  25. thanks Janet for clarifying as thats not what we are being told by the LBA and others.

  26. If you look at the link to the list Janet has given, they have a page with questions where they state that anyone “qualified” can in fact issue a certificate (arquitecto, arquitecto tecnico etc) – I think that is actually more of an advertising panel.
    .
    Also regarding the very cheap quote from Granadilla, around 100 euros I believe, you would need to check that this also includes drawing up of the essential plan of the property. One problem people might face is when the plan does not match the escritura – I understand the issuers must include all living space that they encounter.

  27. Has anyone else’s estate agent told them they must have this to continue advertising their home for sale as mine has but my friends different agent said she doesn’t need to get one until notary!!!

  28. As I understand it, one needs the actual certificate at notary, but the detail for the advert, so one would need to be obtained if only to put the assessment on the advert.

  29. Serious agents will understandably try to protect themselves from the likelihood of fines for advertising property without the necessary certificate

  30. my spanish gestor said this is for everyone…….spanish, english whatever resident or non resident owner that you may be. the certificate will only be issued by an authorised employee of industria. they are going to check your unelco meter, cables, water meter and connections …………so be prepared to pay whatever they charge because it will be obligatory! Hope that helps. xxxxx

  31. Hi Jennifer, I think that’s not actually the case … private architects and engineers can issue these certificates.

  32. If you put a private ‘Se Vende’ notice in the window of your apartment, at what stage do you have to obtain the new Energy Certificate. Can you wait until you have found a buyer and then obtain the certificate before you go to the notary.
    Can you please advise?

  33. It’s not “an advert”, as such, I would think, and contains no details of the property itself. In such a case, I would imagine that it would not be required until signing at notary … though as I’ve already posted, notaries won’t stop a sale even without one.

  34. I was told that the certificate had to be available for inspection at any viewings by potential buyer so would think even with private sign would need one!!

  35. A copy needs to be shown to potential buyers, original produced at notary. So yes, assuming there are viewings, a copy should really be available …

  36. Dont think anyone would buy somewhere just off a se vende sign without a viewing so surely a certificate is needed!!

    This is an absolute farce people cannot afford their mortgages this is why selling and now this stealth tax. What are all banks with repos going to do and likes of idealista????

  37. Agreed Carol, I also wondered whether the Banks would be obtaining the new certificate before selling all their repossessed properties.

  38. Spain doesn’t have a choice, sadly, because this is an EU requirement which already applies in other countries. On the issue of certs for repossessions, I was reading something yesterday but I can’t bring it to mind now …

  39. Janet,
    After reading your pages, looking at forums, and various news sites this is all very confusing. My main concern is with internet advertising, as I have websites where owners/landlords can advertise their properties.

    If a property is advertised for sale or rental without a certificate in place, can the advertiser (website owner, not property owner or landlord) be fined?

    I see you have already said that “there is no legal onus on the agent even if a property is advertised without a “label”, or with an incorrect one. What agents are required by law to do is advise owners of their own legal obligations, and place the “label” that they are supplied with on the advert.”

    However I read an article in yesterdays Canarian Weekly this morning which states quite the opposite. “as the law states that it is us, the agency, which will be fined heavily if we cannot provide the certificate for any property on our books.”

    You can view this online at http://www.canarianweekly.com/switch-else/

    Please can you clarify this.

    Thanks

  40. It’s always difficult when there are conflicting reports, and people just have to make up their own mind. All I can do is repeat what I understand, which is that the owner is the only one responsible for having the certificate. This indeed is the title of THIS article in idealista, which is the leading property portal in Spain (home page HERE).
    .
    Article 5.1 of the law itself (HERE), indeed, says:
    .
    1. El promotor o propietario del edificio o de parte del mismo, ya sea de nueva construcción o existente, será el responsable de encargar la realización de la certificación de eficiencia energética del edificio, o de su parte, en los casos que venga obligado por este real decreto. También será responsable de conservar la correspondiente documentación.
    .
    I would translate this:
    The promoter (in the case of new builds) or the owner of a buliding … will be the one responsible for arranging the certificate … . S/he will also be responsible for keeping the corresponding documentation.
    .
    So, I can do no more than quote experts behind what is called “Spain’s leading property portal” and the law itself. I don’t claim I’m right … but I claim this is my understanding based on what I’ve read in the links I’ve provided for you to read as well. Beyond that you must make your own decision.
    .
    To finish off, that article in idealista explicitly says the following:
    .
    por consiguiente, tanto las inmobiliarias como los portales inmobiliarios están exentos de responsabilidad en caso de que el propietario de la vivienda cuente con una etiqueta energética que lleve a error o confusión o que directamente publicite la casa sin hacer mención a la calificación energética obtenida o sin la etiqueta energética. los abogados consultados señalan que la única “responsabilidad” de las inmobiliarias o portales inmobiliarios consistirá en informar al propietario de su obligación de cumplir con el real decreto y de incorporar la etiqueta energética en su anuncio.
    .
    I translate:
    as a result, both estate agencies and property portals are exempt from responsibility in the case of an owner having an incorrect label or who advertises without it. The lawyers consulted point out that the only “responsibility” of estate agents or property portals is to inform owners of their obligation to comply with the law and to incorporate the label in their advert.

  41. Thank you for the reply, I followed the link and read the information but still remain uncertain. I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens, if anything to those who advertise properties without a certificate.

  42. janet am going to notary in fuerteventura on monday,was informed 2 weeks ago by email that they didnt have all the paper work, that i would need a certificate that the vendor must supply.i contacted my lawyer who confirmed this was fact and that with out it we couldnt complete.also informed that after the 1st june all property advertised had to display this certificate.im buying to rent out and was told that from 1st june this certificate was to be attached to any advert for rental or i would be fined, and so would any agency displaying my property with out energy rating displayed.if i want to sale in the future i have to attach the rating to any public advertisment
    the whole point of my comment is,yes we have to have certificate for notary,but how do i now advertise my property when you say agents dont need to show rating on advert but my lawyers say otherwise.

  43. No, I’ve said that agents do indeed need to show rating. They just don’t need the actual certificate. The law does say, though, that the agents are required to advise owners of their responsibility and to display any label/rating (not certificate) that they are supplied with on the advert. It is then lawyers, quoted by idealista, who say that estate agencies and property portals are exempt from responsibility in the case of an owner having an incorrect label or who advertises without it. Indeed, the idealista article ends with:
    .
    “no es lógico ni razonable que inmobiliarias y portales asuman la responsabilidad de verificar que la “etiqueta de eficiencia energética” incorporada a un anuncio de venta o alquiler cumple los requisitos del real decreto y, en caso negativo, impidan la publicación de dicho anuncio”
    .
    (it’s neither logical nor reasonable for agencies and portals to take on the responsibility of verifying that the label incorporated in the advert of sale or rental complies with the law, and if not, to prevent publication of the advert)

  44. thank you janet.
    have i got this correct,i keep my certificate but have to display the rating on any publicty for my property.
    because i will have this rating and have to display it,is it a level playing field,will all the other propertys either for rent or for sale have to be displaying a rating on their publicity.
    by publicity does this cover shop window and internet.

  45. yes, sophie, exactly, you keep the certificate but display the rating on any publicity. Yes, other owners must too. As I understand it, this is any publicity anywhere.

  46. Is there a central register of these certificates either locally or nationally?
    Who is responsible for enforcing the system?
    Thanks

  47. Please could you read the posts I made above. The info is there.
    .
    As I say “The system will be administered by the autonomous regions, which have until mid-July to finalise lists of those permitted to issue certificates.”

  48. Hi Janet
    The law regarding EPC’s and short term/holiday lets. It seems a little unclear in that the 4 month rule seems to relate to total occupancy during the year. So if a property is let for 1 or 2 week periods for say 36 weeks in total a year would these require certificates? This is in relation to holiday let apartments on a registered Tourist Complex. Many thanks as always! David

  49. I don’t know, David, it would need to be clarified by your own lawyer. I must say that my own reading agrees with yours: it seems to me that the law refers to total occupancy of less than four months in a year. And yet, the lawyers consulted by idealista and the press say that a certificate is not needed if any contract is under 4 months.
    .
    Really, though, given that non-touristic lets are deemed to be anything over three months, there won’t be many cases, logically, where one wouldn’t be necessary!

  50. I am being advised that we need the certificates even for short term rentals on a touristic complex…but I cant work out whether I am being advised this for the right reasons.

  51. In my opinion if your property is being let out, in total, for more than four months a year, then yes, though some lawyers disagree. Speak to your own lawyer is my best advice!

  52. This law is absolute chaos with nobody really understanding it it or the clauses, a lot of grey areas and a total shambles! Spanish red tape strikes again.

  53. Seems to me that if all the Touristic apartments have to have the certificate those authorised to classify the apartments will be run off their feet!

  54. anyone seen one of these certificates yet or managed to get one done? what about the labels as not seen one anywhere yet!!

  55. Got one last week. My rating is a G. Most rating is G unless you have solar panels. If you are selling your house you will see the rating on your listing in the agents window. My agent only has about six houses advertised in the window with the rating on it. Just another way to get taxes. Look in a agent window and you will see different colour strips on the advertisement. The rating go from A to G

  56. Thanks,Ann haven’t looked in any Windows just on agents website’s and not seen any. Suppose most will be rating g!! Money maker for architects and engineers and government.

  57. I used this guy.jesus miguel Ferrero olive 922663150 or 680795099 he speaks english if you talk slowly. He is fully legal. Got him from Janet site

  58. if you re not in Tenerife I can recommend a agent who can do it for you. He is on Tenerife forum and his name young golfer on that site, he is reliable. You can send him a message on that site

  59. Paid 200 euro for a house. If you are not on the island a agent will charge a bit more as he needs to be paid for his time

  60. We have an apartment in Los Cristianos which we let legally and we have been told that the Letting Agent and the Community do not think the certificate is necessary for holiday lets and they will not be getting certificates! Its no wonder we all fall foul of the law. We are flying to Tenerife in the next few days so hopefully things may become more clear when we get there…..or not!

  61. I have been informed that it will be necessary to renew the power supply cable from my bungalow to my electricity meter, about 12 metres long, as my property is more than 20 years old. True or false?

  62. Probably true. Certainly older properties must be inspected when there’s a change of contract holder, or when a property changes hands. What the result of that inspection is will vary, of course, depending on what shows up, but renewal of cables, or complete rewirings, are far from unknown.

  63. How much cost an energy certificate for a chalet of 3 floors with 250 square meters?, thanks and best regards.

  64. Just purchased a house in Lanzarote to-day. No energy cert. Should the notary have stopped the sale or at least advised me about this. I enquired about the electricity and learned that I now have to provide this cert to have my power turned on. I’m being charged 300 euro for small 2 bed property. Have I been shafted? if so is there anything I can do at this stage?

  65. As I say in the last update to the post above, it was a major concern whether notaries would stop a sale being signed if the property concerned did not have a certificate but it became clear that they did not have the power to do so. Instead, as happens when there is a problem with other relevant documents, they will advise both parties of the missing or erroneous document, warn that it must be arranged or corrected, and insert a clause in the new escritura to these effects. As such, your purchase was legal, you were probably overcharged, at €300 for the certificate (I would have expected no more than 150 for a small 2 bed), but at this stage the only thing you can do is get someone cheaper to provide the certificate or proceed with the situation as is … at most you’re down 150 Euros, no more.

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