Thursday, 9 October 2008

Planning for an EPC

Q: I am a landlord with a small number of properties in the North East. I understand there are new regulations coming in concerning Energy Performance Certificates. Please can you explain what I need to do in order to be compliant?

A: With effect from 1 October, Energy Performance Certificates ("EPC's") must be provided by any seller or landlord on the sale or letting of any non-domestic building or part. The legislation has been in place since April this year, but it has been introduced gradually on the basis of larger buildings first. Now it is applicable to all sales and lettings, regardless of size.

An EPC will show the building's energy rating, based upon its performance potential, on a scale between A (excellent) and G (poor). It will be accompanied by an advisory report containing recommendations. Only people who have undertaken suitable training and are registered as approved assessors can produce EPCs.

You will need an EPC before your premises are marketed. The idea is to inform potential buyers or tenants about the energy performance of a building, so that they can consider energy efficiency as part of their investment or business decision to buy or occupy the building.

You must provide the EPC free of charge. Any non-domestic building on the market before October 1, and remaining on the market will need an EPC by 4 January 2009 at the latest. If it is sold or rented out in the meantime, an EPC must be commissioned and handed over as soon as possible. This is intended to make it easier for owners and landlords to comply with the legislation.

In general, an EPC is intended to reflect whatever accommodation is being sold or let. In the case of a multi-occupancy building, if the building has a common heating system, when the building or any part is sold or let an EPC can be produced for the whole building or of the relevant part.

If however the building does not have a common heating system, then you need an EPC for each part being offered for sale or let (or of the whole if you are selling or letting the whole). Once an EPC is obtained, it lasts for 10 years.

The penalty for failing to comply is 12.5pc of the rateable value of the premises, with a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.

You need to plan therefore for the cost of obtaining EPCs, and allow additional time for gathering data and appointing an assessor.

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