EPC rules get tougher, warns property consultant

The legal rules governing Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are set to change on 6th April. 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.

A Penalty Notice will be for a sum equal to 12.5 per cent of the property rateable value, subject to a minimum fine of £500 and a maximum fine of £5,000. Energy Performance Certificates provide information on the energy-efficiency of a building and make recommendations on how to improve the building’s energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.

Simon Perkins, partner at PWR Property Consultnats, says: “With fines starting from a minimum of £500 that can be served on the owner/landlord’s agent/representative, and more rigorous checks being put in place by Trading Standards officers, EPCs are ignored at the agent’s peril.”

The requirement to ‘commission’ an EPC 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 6th April, this only applies to the sale of residential property.

“With time being of the essence when marketing a property to let in order to minimise any voids for Landlords Letting Agents must pay particular attention to these new rules,” says Simon Perkins

Currently, an EPC 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 seven days. However, if after this initial seven days the EPC has not been secured, a further 21 days will be given.

It will still remain the responsibility of the Owner or Landlord to commission the EPC, but the powers of Trading Standards will be increased so that their officers will have new powers enabling them to force not just sellers and landlords, but persons acting on their behalf , that is estate agents and letting agents, to produce proof of commission, or as appropriate, an actual copy of the EPC, for inspection. Once asked, the agent will have seven days to provide that evidence. If the agent cannot provide that evidence then a Penalty Notice could be issued. Penalty Notices can still be issued to the owner or landlord.

l PWR Property Consultants have three in-house Domestic Energy Assessors and are able to provide an EPC within 48 hours where access is not restricted. Starting from £50 + VAT, a quick turnaround is guaranteed, ensuring that a property can be marketed straight away.

For further information or to order an EPC, email simon@pwrlettings.co.uk or call 01623 659111.