Oregon: Portland starts charging fines for missing Home Energy Scores

From the City of Portland:

July 12, 2019

City to start charging fines for missing Home Energy Scores

The Home Energy Score requirement went into effect January 1, 2018. Since then, more than 13,000 homes have received a score.

City staff regularly review real estate listings to ensure they include the Home Energy Score and a link to the online Home Energy Report. While a majority of home sellers have complied with the Home Energy Score policy, some listings are still found to be missing the required information.

To date, the City has sent a warning notice to home sellers when their home is observed to be out of compliance. If the listing agent’s email address is publicly available, the City also sends a courtesy notice via email to the agent or their office so that they may assist their client in correcting non-compliance.

Within the next few months, the City will begin issuing fines to home sellers that remain out of compliance. The initial civil penalty is $500, and the City can issue additional penalties if the violation continues.

Homebuyers can use Home Energy Score information to better understand the full costs of home ownership and compare their choices. The report recommends the most cost-effective improvements to save energy – and money – on their utility bills.

Though most homes are required to comply with the Home Energy Score requirements, there are some exceptions. A home must be located within the City of Portland jurisdictional boundaries. Some condo building configurations, mobile homes, and floating homes are not able to be scored and certain homes may be eligible for an exemption. Home sellers who are at or below 60 percent of median household income are eligible to apply for a free Home Energy Score for their home.


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From the website:

The City of Portland Home Energy Score programs relies on years of work led by the State of Oregon and Energy Trust Oregon, In 2009, the Oregon Legislature established a voluntary framework for home energy scoring. In 2013, additional legislation created licensing and training for certified professionals who can assess homes and produce scores. In 2015, these contractors delivered about 600 home energy scores to homeowners in Portland, mostly through programs offered by Energy Trust of Oregon and Enhabit (formerly Clean Energy Works). 

Why a Home Energy Score Policy?

Scores, labels and ratings are a regular part of how we communicate information. We consult miles-per-gallon ratings on cars, nutrition labels on food, and Energy Guide labels on appliances to make informed consumer decisions. However, consumer labeling for homes is inconsistent and unavailable in most real estate markets. In 2017, less than two percent of Portland’s 160,000 single-family homes, had a Home Energy Score, 

The commercial buildings market has been quicker to adopt benchmarking practices. In 2015, Portland City Council adopted mandatory energy benchmarking and disclosure for large commercial buildings. As of April 2017, 80 percent of Portland’s commercial building square footage is reporting energy performance. The Home Energy Score Ordinance is a companion to the commercial policy.

Home energy scores are a market-based solution for conveying previously unknown but critical information to both buyers and sellers of homes. When homeowners invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, those costs may be recouped as scores translate into a value that can be recognized by the market. A recent analysis that included over 20 studies worldwide of homes with green certifications demonstrated that green-certified homes sell for up to four percent higher than a comparable home.

September 20, 2019

Sellers start receiving fines this month for missing Home Energy Score

The City of Portland will begin issuing fines this month to home sellers who do not include Home Energy Score information in their home’s public sales advertisements. Here’s a quick rundown of how the process works and how home sellers can avoid a noncompliance notice. 

If a home is observed to be advertised for sale without Home Energy Score information, the seller will receive a Warning Notice. The City attempts to send a courtesy email to the listing agent as well, but this is only possible if an email address for the agent can be located online. The Warning Notice starts a 90-day window for the seller to correct the noncompliance issue 

 At the end of that window, if there is no evidence that the compliance issue was corrected, the seller will receive a Violation Notice including a $500 fine. The penalty will apply even if the home has sold during the 90-days.

Getting a Home Energy Score and Report from an authorized assessor and adding that information to public advertisements for the home is less costly than paying the $500 fine. For more information on how to get and display a Home Energy Score, check out pdxhes.com.


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