A brief guide to help sellers and landlords understand their responsibilities for making an epc available when selling or renting out a building, What buyers or tenants should expect when beginning the process to either buying or renting out a building.
Key Points :-
- An epc is valid for 10 years and can be reused as many time as required within that 10 year period and is easy accessible to anyone on the epc register.
- An epc is required to be completed before any dwelling is advertised for marketing, sale or rental.
- An epc must be conducted by an accredited energy assessor who is a member of an government approved accreditation scheme.
- The regulations require an epc to be given to the buyer or the tenant of that property free of charge.
- Failure to produce/provide an epc can result in a fine of £200 by trading standards
- An epc certificate will provide you with a score from A-G rating for that building and will also provide you with recommendations of any improvements to improve the energy efficiency it may also include any recommendations that may be eligible for finance under the green deal scheme.
Why is an epc required?
An epc is intended to provide prospective buyers and tenants of such building information on the energy efficiency of that premise based on the fabrications of the building and its current running costs. It will also provide you with recommendations on how to reduce the running costs on the dwelling should you decide to carry out any of the recommendations provided on the report and give you an indication of potential savings to be made over the years should you wish to do so.
Which Buildings require an epc?
Existing buildings that are put up for sale or let is required to have a valid epc certificate. If the property already has a valid epc certificate in place then a new one is not required as all epc certificates are valid for 10 years. For marketing purposes then the vendor / management agent must provide the rating of the property I.e. B when advertising the property they do not have to show the full report.
Situations where an EPC is not required.
An EPC is generally not required where the seller or landlord can demonstrate that the building is any of these:
– buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit are exempt from the requirements to have an energy performance certificate insofar as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.
To comply with minimum energy performance requirements, many of the recommendations in an EPC report e.g. double glazing, new doors and windows, external wall insulation, and external boiler flues would likely result in unacceptable alterations in the majority of historic buildings. These can include buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit (e.g. listed buildings2 or buildings within a conservation area). In these cases an EPC would not be required.
Building owners will need to take a view as to whether this will be the case for their buildings. If there is any doubt as to whether works would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of a building, building owners may wish to seek the advice of their local authority’s conservation officer.
- temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less
- residential buildings which are intended to be used less than four months of the year or where the owner or landlord could reasonably expect the energy consumption of the building to be less than 25% of all year round use
stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m² (i.e. buildings entirely detached from any other building)
A building is also exempt where the seller or landlord can demonstrate that:
– the building is suitable for demolition
– the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment
- all the relevant planning permissions, listed building consents and conservation area consents exist in relation to the demolition, and
- in relation to the redevelopment, either outline planning or planning permission exists and where relevant listed building consents exist
Holiday lets may not need an EPC. An EPC will only be required for a property rented out as a furnished holiday let, as defined by HMRC, where the building is occupied for the purposes of a holiday as a result of a short term letting arrangement of less than 31 days to each tenant, and is rented out for a combined total of four months or more in any 12 month period, and if the occupier is responsible for meeting the energy costs for the property.
The property must meet all the conditions of a furnished holiday let as defined by HMRC and the occupant must not be responsible for the energy costs in order for an EPC not to be necessary.
An EPC is not required for an individual room when rented out, as it is not a building or a building unit designed or altered for separate use. The whole building will require an EPC if sold or rented out.
DCLG is unable to provide specific advice regarding whether any of these exemptions may apply to specific properties. Specialist advice relevant to the circumstances should be sought.
There are no other exemptions from the EPC obligations although there may be some transactions which do not qualify as a sale or renting out. If in doubt, legal advice should be sought.
EPC on marketing
Before a building is put on the market the seller or landlord must have an EPC for the building if no valid EPC exists already for it. A person acting on behalf of the seller or landlord (for example, the estate or letting agent) must be satisfied that an EPC has been completed for the building before it is put on the market.
The seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf must use all reasonable efforts to ensure the EPC is obtained within seven days. A further 21 days is allowed if after using all reasonable efforts the EPC cannot be obtained within seven days.
An estate or letting agent may on occasions provide a prospective buyer or tenant with a copy of the EPC. However, it remains the responsibility of the seller or landlord to make sure that a valid EPC has been given free of charge to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or seller.
The energy performance indicator of the building as shown on the EPC, for example, C, must be stated in any advertisements in the commercial media. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £200 per advertisement.
EPC on sale or rent
When existing buildings are sold or rented out, the seller or landlord must make available an EPC at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a person:
– requests information about the building, the time at which the seller or landlord first makes available any information in writing about the building, or
– makes a request to view the building, the time at which the person views the building.
And must give, free of charge, a valid EPC to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant.