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Do you know about the EPC changes on 6th April 2012?
The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 go live on 6 April 2012. Indeed, several changes will be made to the existing legislation and failure to comply could result in fines of up to £5000! In this article In-Deed explains what is changing and what you now need to do as the seller!
From 6th April the following changes will be made:
- A property seller must commission an EPC before placing the property on the market, unless a valid EPC is already available. This requirement now covers all property, whether residential or commercial. Previously commercial property, holiday accommodation etc. were exempt.
- Sellers used to have 28 days from the property coming on the market for an EPC to be made available. If the seller failed to meet this deadline the seller and agent (if applicable) had to make all reasonable efforts to obtain one. Now the seller has 7 days to obtain the EPC using ‘all reasonable efforts’.
- If an EPC has not been obtained in this time, the owner has a further 21 days to secure it. This is an absolute deadline and failure to obtain an EPC after this time will lead to penalty charges. There is no defence of using reasonable efforts after this time is up.
The primary aim of this amendment is to stop EPCs being produced late in the conveyancing process.
The current law states that for residential sales the seller must include either the asset rating or the EPC with the written particulars of sale. This meant that the EPCs were usually included as a loose insert.
From April, it will be a requirement for the first page of the EPC to be physically attached. This will apply to all properties, extending from residential sales to include commercial sales and lettings. Where the address is omitted from the particulars, it may also be removed from the EPC.
EPCs have to be lodged in a central government register, maintained by Landmark. Under the existing regulations air conditioning systems over 12kW are inspected and a report is obtained. This report can be lodged on the central register, but it is not mandatory.
The amendment to the rules will mean that from April it will be an obligation to lodge air conditioning reports on the central register.
Not only will the changes affect you, as the seller, but they will also affect your estate agent. Previously estate agents must have been satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned by the seller and were required to use all ‘reasonable efforts’ to obtain one within 28 days.
Now, estate agents must check an EPC has been commissioned before marketing your property. They may even have to produce proof to show to enforcement officers.
Fines for non-compliance are up to £200 for residential properties. For commercial properties fines start at £500 and rise up to £5000 depending on the rateable value.