Page last updated at 05:46 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 06:46 UK

Certificate needed to sell house

Front door keys
Homeowners will now have to show how energy efficient their homes are

People wanting to sell their homes in Northern Ireland must now have an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.

It allows would-be purchasers to see how energy efficient the home is.

Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has given the new scheme his blessing.

"It's an incentive for people to do work and improve the energy consumption in their properties because it makes it much more marketable," he said.

"I don't think it is a tax. What this is doing is providing very relevant information to perspective purchasers of properties.

"How energy efficient is this property that I'm buying? And in this day and age when energy costs are so important, it's absolutely vital information for people to have."

Surveyors have already been out inspecting many of the homes currently for sale, a necessary requirement to produce one of the new Energy Performance Certificates.

While it is now compulsory for home owners to have a certificate before selling, it is understood that the Department will take a lenient view for the first few weeks until the new scheme settles in.

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