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Changes to Energy Performance Certificates in England and Wales from 6th April 2012

6th April 2012
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New regulations specify that an EPC must be commissioned before a commercial or residential building is marketed for sale or rent and that written particulars must usually contain the first page of the EPC.

The liability now includes someone acting on the sellers or landlords behalf – i.e. the letting or sales agent, or possibly their solicitor. There are penalties where the deadline for obtaining an EPC is not met.

The Government is determined to crack down on those who try to delay obtaining an EPC, this change is viewed as a step towards Trading Standards greater enforcement of compliance.


EPC must be commissioned before marketing

Under the existing rules, on the sale or rent of a commercial building, the obligation on the seller / landlord to provide an EPC is triggered by whichever of these events occurs first:
  • the provision of written information about the building to a person who has requested information;
  • a prospective buyer or tenant views the building; or
  • a contract is entered into to sell or rent out the building.

The new rules now require an EPC to be commissioned before a commercial building is marketed for sale or rent. These new rules specify that:
  • before the building is put on the market, the seller / landlord must commission an EPC for the building (unless a valid EPC is already available);
  • before marketing the building, a person acting on behalf of the seller / landlord must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned for the building;
  • the seller / landlord (and a person acting on behalf of the seller / landlord) must use all reasonable efforts to secure that the EPC is then actually obtained within seven days of the building being put on the market; and
  • if the EPC is not available within those seven days, there is an additional 21 day period during which the EPC can be obtained.

It is important to note that this deadline is absolute – so the seller / landlord (or a person acting on behalf of the seller / landlord) will be in breach of the regulations if an EPC is not available within 28 days of marketing (even if all reasonable efforts have been used).

Fines can amount to 12.5% of the rateable value of the building, with a minimum penalty of £500 and a maximum penalty of £5,000.

The new rules require a copy of the front page of the EPC to be included in written particulars on sale or rent of both residential and commercial buildings.
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