EPCs : Energy Performance Certificates
Since 1 October 2008 any building sold, let or constructed has needed an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
What does this mean in practice?
If you are offering any premises for sale or let (this includes sub-letting) you will need to make an EPC available that reflects the energy performance of the premises on offer. An EPC should be provided to a prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a viewing is conducted or when written information (sales particulars) is provided about the building or in any event before entering into a contract to sell or let.
As a seller you are responsible for ensuring there is an EPC available for the premises being sold or let even if an agent or another service organisation is acting on your behalf. (Department for Communities and Local Government 2008)
What is an energy performance certificate?
An EPC gives prospective buyers or tenants information about the energy efficiency of the building they are buying or renting.
EPC’s are a Europe-wide initiative and are part of an ongoing government programme to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.
Based on the carbon emissions the building is likely to produce, an energy rating from A to G is given, with A being very efficient and G the least efficient.
All EPCs come with a recommendation report, which includes suggestions for using the building more efficiently and improving its energy efficiency, and indicates how long it will take to recoup through energy savings any outlay made.
What does an assessment entail?
Information is collected and collated about the building’s uses, dimensions, number of floors, amount and type of glazing, lighting, heating systems, fuel used and thermal efficiency of floors, walls and ceilings.
Landlords and owners are given a copy of the EPC, which will have a reference number. The EPC is accessible on the register by providing this reference number.
How long is an EPC valid for?
EPCs for non-dwellings are valid for 10 years, although it might be worth doing a new energy inspection sooner if you install new heating and air conditioning systems, improve insulation or similarly improve energy efficiency.
What if you only own part of the building?
If the whole building shares one heating system then it needs one EPC and this can be used for any part of the building sold or rented. If it has separate parts with separate heating systems then an EPC should be made for any part offered for sale or let, although the EPC can be based on another part with a similar system.
If a building has a common heating system and you own part of it, then the head landlord is obliged to provide an EPC for the whole building if you ask him.
What if there is a residential area, such as a flat above a shop?
That depends on whether there is a separate access area from which to access the shop and the flat.
If there is, then the dwelling should have its own EPC. If the dwelling is only accessible through the non-dwelling (for example, if you have to go through a newsagent to reach the flat above), then one EPC can cover the whole premises.
What are the penalties for not having an EPC?
If a trading standards officer requests an EPC for a building constructed, sold or let and the responsible person does not provide it then they will be liable for a penalty charge notice. Failure to provide an EPC to a tenant or buyer will usually result in a penalty of £5,000 or 12.5% of the rateable value of the property.
If you need to know more about EPCs, please contact us.