Changes to EPC Legislation to Have Imminent Impact on Sale of Property

In order to reduce the evasion and non-compliance that has been consistently problematic since the introduction of EPCs via the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, the Government has amended the legislation as of April 6 2012.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, led by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles MP, have instigated the following changes to the legislation that interested parties, which includes all house purchasers, estate agents and conveyancers, should be aware of:

  1. An EPC will have to be commissioned before marketing the sale and rent of commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings which are already covered.
  2. An EPC will now need to be obtained using “all reasonable efforts” within a period of 7 days, reduced from the current 28 days. This will not apply to commercial properties and there will be an additional 21 day period during which the EPC can be obtained, if it has not been possible to obtain within the initial seven day period.
  3. Trading Standards Officers will have increased powers allowing them to force estate and letting agents (not just landlords or building owners) to prove that an EPC has been commissioned and make a copy of it available for inspection. This will apply where a building is marketed without the EPC being included in the written particulars.
  4. Particulars will now have to contain a full copy of the EPC, not just the ‘asset rating’. These changes will take affect only on properties marketed after 6 April.

The changes, which came into affect in early April, mean that it is extremely important for owners who are considering marketing a commercial property to have an EPC carried out by a suitably qualified professional to avoid falling foul of the new regulations.

At the time of writing, yet another property was listed with a ‘preliminary listing’ disclaimer on Rightmove. No sign of an EPC on that one, so commentators might point to novel ways being used by marketing agents to circumnavigate the new rules.

Many Chartered Surveyors are qualified to carry out EPCs and can do so as part of a pre-sale survey report, identifying defects that should be rectified before sale, or as a stand alone service. Local, Independent Chartered Surveyors can be found at propertysurveying.co.uk

SRJ/LCB

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