​Beginning January 1, 2018, all sellers of single-family homes in Portland city limits will be required to comply with the Portland Home Energy Score Program. The Program has been codified by the Portland City Council in City Code, Chapter 17.108 and is administered by Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The broad purpose of the new requirement is to give home-buyers more information in their purchasing decisions, and to promote the City’s and State’s efforts to drastically reduce carbon emissions in coming years.

The requirements are far reaching – even a For Sale By Owner blurb on Craigslist needs to include the Energy Score and access to the report behind it. Read on to learn more about the requirements of the new ordinance and which sellers are exempt from the program … 

 

Requirements for Sellers

The Home Energy Score Program imposes two main requirements on sellers: 1) obtain a home energy report, including a home energy score, from a licensed home energy assessor; 2) disclose the score and the report prior to listing a home for sale.

A home energy report is defined in Oregon Revised Statutes 469.703 and 469.040 and in Oregon Administrative Rule OAR 330-063-0000, and includes the following information:

  • A score and an explanation of the score.
  • An estimate of the total annual energy used in the home, by fuel type.
  • An estimate of the total monthly or annual cost of energy purchased for use in the home, in dollars, by fuel type.
  • The current average annual utility retail energy price, by fuel type.

The score must be disclosed in any real-estate listing(s). This includes the Regional Multiple Listings Service (“MLS”), Redfin, Zillow, Trulia and other third-party listing services. In addition, sellers will need to provide a copy of the report and score to any real estate agent working on their behalf, and to any prospective buyers who visit their home while it’s listed for sale. The report will also be publicly disclosed and availabile on Portland’s Green Building Registry Database.

Exemptions and Waivers

If a seller believes that he or she qualifies for one of the exemptions or waivers from the Home Energy Score Program, the seller must apply for the exemption or waiver with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The exemptions and waivers fall into three main categories:

  1. New Homes: Home Energy Score compliance is temporarily waived for new homes that have Energy Performance Scores under the Energy Trust of Oregon New Homes Program.
  2. Low Income: Participants in the Home Energy Score Program may qualify for a free Home Energy Assessment based on income.
  3. Other Circumstances: Particular homes may be exempt from the Program under certain circumstances, including foreclosure sales, uninhabitability, condemnation, or undue hardhsip to the seller. A complete list of these circumstances may be found in the Administrative Rules.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

If a seller fails to comply with Program requirements, he or she may be subject to civil penalties. The Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will review the entirety of the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation. If a violation is found, the Director will issue a written warning describing the violation and steps necessary to comply. If the violation is not remedied within 90 days, the Director may assess a civil penalty of up to $500, with additional penalties up to $500 for each subsequent 180-day period the seller remains in violation.

If you plan to sell a single-family home in the City of Portland, you should discuss the Portland Home Energy Score Program with your attorney and your realtor.

To consult with one of our attorneys regarding your duties and obligations under the Program, contact Intelekia Law Gourp LLC at (503) 227-8580 or through our online form, here.

For informational purposes only and not to be relied upon as legal advice or for the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

By Sara A.H. Sayles