Changes to Energy Performance Certificates for Letting Agents and Landlords
January 10, 2013 |
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New rules and amendments of rules regarding Energy Performance Certificates and the lettings of properties are rather frequent and often not terribly interesting. But the EPC changes last month were received with mild surprise, seen by some as a backwards step because the new guidance is less demanding on estate agents and letting agents than in its original form.
All property advertising for sales and lettings in the commercial media still need to show the EPC rating of the property being advertised, but the requirement to include the front page of the certificate on all written materials is to be dropped from 9 January. Although, where there is adequate space, the advertisement should show the A-G graph.
The statement by communities minister Don Foster, in which these details were revealed, also says that listed buildings will be exempt from needing an EPC unless they are involved in a Green Deal arrangement. This change has broadly been seen as a good decision, given that listed buildings are often poorly insulated and would be very costly to bring up to standard, which could have otherwise resulted in many being left vacant.
However, not all are pleased with the changes. Philip Salaman, of EPC training and accreditation scheme Quidos, was one who was very disappointed with the statement. He said, “These changes to the regulations by the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) are a backward step. Far from being the greenest government ever, they are proving that cuts to budgets are being followed by cuts to regulations that encourage saving energy. Compliance is very poor already, and this will only make things worse.
“An EPC provides valid information whether you are in a Georgian home in Bath or a modern build in Milton Keynes, so why remove the requirement for listed buildings to have an EPC? Perhaps the expensive property owners don’t want to admit to how inefficient their homes are?”
As soon as the process of selling or renting a property begins, the seller or landlord is responsible for making available to any prospective buyer or tenant an EPC, free of charge. The seller or landlord must provide the EPC an the earliest opportunity. It must be provided no later than when either a person requests written information about a property, or the time at which a person views the property.
This rule applies even if an agent or other service organisation is acting on behalf of the seller or landlord or providing an EPC. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the letting agent acting on their behalf is complying with the regulations. The letting agent must ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before they can market the property for rent.
If either the landlord or a letting agent acting on the landlord’s behalf fails to make available an EPC, they may be liable to a civil penalty charge notice.