Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) – changes come into force 6 April 2012
Posted by Sarah Webster on 26th March 2012
The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections)(England and Wales) Regulations 2007 detail the requirements for producing EPCs on the sale, letting or construction of properties, the regular inspection of air-conditioning systems and the display of EPCs in larger public buildings.
In April of last year the government confirmed its intention to amend the regulations and this has been done by The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections)(England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2011 which come into force on 6 April 2012.
What are the principal changes?
- Commissioning an EPC
The requirement to commission an EPC before a property is marketed will now apply to all buildings, whether they are being marketed for sale or rent. The 28 day period for obtaining an EPC after marketing a property has been reduced. There will now be an obligation to use all reasonable efforts to obtain an EPC within 7 days of marketing the property. However, there is a 21 day period of grace if an EPC has not been obtained in the initial seven day period.
This change will not apply to residential properties marketed before 6 April this year they will still benefit from the longer 28 day time period. However, there is no similar provision for non-residential properties.
In addition Regulation 5(2)(b) of the 2007 Regulations has been amended, making it clear that providing an EPC cannot be delayed until just before the parties enter into a contract for sale or a lease.
- Provision of the asset rating alone in no longer acceptable
Currently written property particulars usually only contain the asset rating. From 6 April 2012 property particulars will need to include the written particulars of the EPC as well. This will apply to both residential and non-residential property.
- Air conditioning reports
The existing regulations require air conditioning systems over 12kW to be inspected every five years and for an inspection report to be obtained. There is currently no requirement to lodge air conditioning inspection reports on the central England and Wales Register, although energy assessors are encouraged to do so voluntarily.
From 6 April 2012 it will be mandatory for air conditioning reports to be lodged on the central register.
Enforcement and non-compliance
The local weights and measures authority has responsibility for enforcing compliance with the regulations. Trading standards officers have the ability to require a seller or landlord to produce a copy of an EPC for inspection. The consequences of non-compliance are the same as under the existing regime. In the case of a residential property a penalty charge is limited to £200. However, in the case of non-residential property a penalty charge is based on a sliding scale based on rateable value, the minimum being £500 and the maximum penalty charge being £5,000. Whilst the changes to the existing legislation may seem relatively insignificant, it is important that sellers, landlords and agents dealing with, in particular, commercial property need to be aware of the imminent changes to avoid a penalty charge notice.