Wrong APE in the sale: the rights of the buyer


Emma Potter

The energy certification of properties, known as APE (Energy Performance Certificate), is of extreme importance in the evaluation of real estate value, significantly affecting the market price of properties.

Recently, a ruling highlighted the importance of the accuracy of this documentation, establishing that any errors can lead to significant compensation rights for the buyer.

This article explores the sentence no. 1955/2022 of the court of Traniwhich established a fundamental principle regarding liability and the calculation of compensation in the event of an incorrect APE, offering an overview of the implications for buyers and sellers in the real estate sector.

The importance of the Energy Performance Certificate

The Energy Performance Certificate (APE) is now an essential document in the real estate panorama, essential in both the buying and selling and leasing phases. This certificate, which reports the energy class of the property, from A4 (maximum efficiency) to G (minimum efficiency), plays a key role in determining the market value of a home.

The energy class of a building not only influences buyers' perception of its value but directly affects the final sales price, making the accuracy of the APE a critical factor for a fair and transparent transaction.

With sentence no. 1955/2022, the court of Trani officially recognized the legal consequences resulting from an inaccurate APE, establishing a precedent for the right to compensation in the event of an error.

When is Energy Certification mandatory?

The obligation to submit an Energy Performance Certificate (APE) extends to a wide range of situations in the real estate market, highlighting the crucial role that this documentation plays in the transparency and efficiency of real estate transactions.

Specifically, the APE is required in cases such as:

  • Sales and donations of properties, where the certificate serves to inform the buyer or the donee about the energy performance of the building.
  • For sale or rental advertisements, to ensure that potential buyers or tenants are aware of the energy efficiency of the property.
  • New contracts for the management of heating systems in public buildings or buildings open to the public, to ensure compliance with energy efficiency regulations.
  • New buildings once construction is completed and significant renovations, which alter at least 25% of the surface area of ​​the real estate unit, require this document to certify the changes made to the energy performance.
  • The request for building bonuses, such as the Superbonus and the Ecobonus, which are government incentives intended to promote energy efficiency.

This multiplicity of applications underlines the importance of the APE not only as a real estate evaluation tool, but also as a lever for the adoption of sustainable practices in the construction sector.

The ruling on the wrong APE case and its implications

Sentence no. 1955/2022 issued by the court of Trani marks a turning point in the legal treatment of errors in the Energy Performance Certificate (APE) in real estate transactions.

The specific case concerned a house whose energy class had been incorrectly certified, leading the buyer to pay a price increased compared to the real value of the propertyby virtue of an untrue energy class.

The error in the APE had masked significant construction defects, which, once discovered, not only decreased the value of the property but also exposed the buyer to unanticipated costs for necessary renovations. The court's decision to recognize the right to compensation underlines the importance of correct energy certification as a factor of transparency and trust in real estate transactions.

The court ruled that the error in the APE constituted a sale “aliud pro alio“, or the supply of a good different from the one agreed uponunderlining that correct information on the energy class is essential for a fair sale.

In this context, the judge recognized the buyer's right to compensation for the damage suffered, highlighting how the incorrect energy certification negatively affected the buyer's decision-making process.

This ruling clarifies that the responsibility for the error falls not only on the seller but also on the certifying body, introducing an important reflection on professional responsibility in the field of energy certification. Consequently, this case highlights the need for accuracy and reliability in issuing APEs, emphasizing the importance of choosing qualified and responsible certification bodies.

Conclusion: the certainty of the APE

Sentence no. 1955/2022 of the court of Trani significantly highlights the importance of precision in the Energy Performance Certificate (APE) and establishes an important precedent for the right to compensation in the event of incorrect information.

This case highlights the need for greater attention and accuracy on the part of energy certifiers and real estate agents, strengthening buyers' confidence in the real estate market.