HR-2454 or the "Cap and Trade Bill" Could Require A License To Sell Your House- Legislation in Process!

HR-2454 or the “Cap and Trade Bill” Could Require A License To Sell Your House- Legislation in Process!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded email about the Congressional Bill HR-2454 or what has been coined the “Cap and Trade” Bill.   The email warns that home owners would have to retrofit their homes in order to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards mandated by this bill.

The Truth:

HR-2454 is the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 which  House of Reprentatives passed on June 26, 2009. 

The Senate version of the bill is scheduled for introduction on April 26, 2010, according to an April 15, 2009 article by Reuters.  The article said, “like the House-passed bill and Obama administration policy, it would set a target of 17 percent reductions in smokestack emissions of carbon dioxide by 2020, from 2005 levels.”   The article said Democratic Senator John Kerry, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman are drafting the bill. 

The 1428 page Congressional bill, sponsored by Congressman Henry Waxman of California, was written in an effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gasses in the U.S. that are blamed for global warming. The text and progress of the bill can be viewed on the Congressional Thomas Library site: Click for bill.

GovTrack.US, which is mentioned in the forwarded email, is a civic project which also tracks bills in Congress and has posted the text of the bill, progress, related reports and voting statistics. Click for GovTrack.US. 

HR-2454 Concerns for Home Owners by Elected Leaders and Real Estate Professionals

Many concerns have been raised since the introduction of this bill by critics.

Congressman John Boehner (R-OH), in his June 26, 2009  blog entry warned, “Home Sellers Beware. Having a hard time selling your home? Here’s one more hurdle to jump: all home sales are conditioned upon an energy audit and a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program for your home that’s outlined in the Democrats’ bill. And if you thought you could improve your property with a fresh coat of paint and some granite counters? Think again! Now your home will be subjected to a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program that will penalize you for older windows, original fixtures, and dated appliances. So the Democrats’ bill would bring down the value of your home!” 

Doug Willis is a California Real Estate Broker and the creator of a real estate website  “up2date”.  In a June 30,2009 article, Willis points out that there is a provision  in the bill that could take place at a point of sale, meaning before a home transaction could close there would be a required energy audit on the property. Willis speculated that, “Minimum guidelines would probably be developed to determine pass or fail, and then the appropriate repairs or updates would have to be performed to bring your home up to standards.”  Click for article.

In a follow up July 8, 2009 article , Willis reported that The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Government Affairs Division released a report called, “NAR Myths and Facts -The American Clean Energy and Security Act” which addressed the realtor’s concerns.  The report said, the” NAR was successful in getting harmful federal energy audit requirements and point-of sale triggers dropped from the bill.”

The NAR reported:

Claim: “The bill mandates energy audits and labeling before any home in America is sold.”
Fact: The bill does not create a federal energy audit or labeling requirement. As introduced, the original bill would have required energy audits and labeling at the time of sale. However, Realtors succeeded in making many positive changes before the bill passed. Many published reports are not based on the version of the bill that was considered by the House. As approved, the bill:
• Does not create energy audit requirement for real property at time of sale.
• Exempts existing homes, multifamily and commercial buildings from any federal energy labeling guidelines such as the existing federal Energy Star label program (section 204(m)), and
• Leaves the decision entirely to state governments whether to pass a law to require labels, but expressly prohibits labeling during a transaction (Section 204(h)). 
Click for NAR Report

 updated 04/16/10