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Tougher EPC Rules

April 11, 2012

The legal rules governing Energy Performance Certificates (“EPCs”) changed on 6 April this year.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) provide information on the energy-efficiency of a building and makes recommendations on how to improve the building’s energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.

The requirement to ‘commission’ an EPC or Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) before the building is ‘put on the market’ will apply to all buildings including non-residential buildings, whether they are being sold or rented out. Prior to 6 April, this only applies to the sale of residential property.

Currently, an EPC or PEA must have been commissioned before the marketing of a property can take place, and then ‘reasonable efforts’ to obtain it within 28 days of commissioning. From 6th April this 28 day period will be reduced to 7 days. However, if after this initial 7 days the EPC has not been secured, a further 21 days will be given.

Currently, for only residential sales, there is a duty to attach the EPC to Estate Agent written particulars or at least include the asset rating on those particulars. From 6 April the actual front page of the EPC or PEA will need to be attached to the particulars, and this duty will be extended to apply to all commercial and residential properties for sale or rent.

Come 6th April, a full copy of the PEA or EPC must be provided to prospective buyers or tenants ‘at the earliest opportunity’ but, in any event, before they receive literature about, or view, the property. The practice of retaining the EPC until shortly before exchanging contracts is therefore unlawful under the new rules.

Agents and others who market property must become aware that they may become liable for a Penalty Notice if marketing a property without an EPC or PEA . A Penalty Notice will be for a sum equal to 12.5% of the property rateable value subject a minimum fine of £500 and a maximum fine of £5,000.