Unregistered heating elements complicate selling buildings

Air source heat pump.
Air source heat pump. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Growing costs have sent people replacing heating systems, switching from full electric or gas heating to air source heat pumps. But additional or replaced heating systems need to be registered in local governments to avoid complications when selling the property.

Real estate portals are full of beautiful properties, while they could turn out to have illegal heating elements, said Anne Pärgma, head of housing loans for Swedbank.

"Purchasing property with faulty documentation could lead to arguments with neighbors or precepts from local governments. It is always sensible to think all aspects through," Pärgma said.

Martin Vahter, executive manager of real estate bureau 1Partner, said that realtors are obligated to notify customers of untidy documentation.

"Selling such properties quickly usually fails because most people buy real estate with the use of loans and discrepancies in documentation come out. If we accept a property for sale, we immediately make sure whether there is any deviance from project documentation, any reconstruction, and set about fixing documents during the sale process."

Marina Hodus, real estate agent for Uus Maa, said that it is possible to sell apartments with faulty documentation, while everything needs to be in order at the end of the day.

"Such an apartment can be sold, but it requires efforts to get the new heating system registered during the sale process. Luckily, the new Building Act makes it possible to legalize systems retroactively."

Andres Aint from the Tartu building inspection service said that some people do not realize an air source heat pump also requires a permit. Getting one can be difficult if the owner wants to install the pump on the exterior of the building. A neighbor's opposition could also prove fatal. Aint emphasizes that documentation needs to be in order.

"Most people buy apartments using loans that requires a real estate valuation report where any discrepancies when compared to the building register are highlighted. The bank usually wants the data in the register to correspond to the building's condition. In other words, if a person has installed an air source heating pump or reconstructed the building in other ways, it can be difficult to qualify for a loan. The data needs to be brought up to date in the register retroactively."


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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