Changes to the Energy Performance Certificate due in April 2012

Posted: 07/03/2012

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is used to show how ‘green’ or ‘energy efficient’ a property is. The Government have the EPC in order to record the amount of ‘greenhouse gasses’ produced by the country.

‘Greenhouse gasses’ are created when fossil fuels are used which emit carbon dioxide. This gas then traps the UV rays from the sun in our atmosphere which causes the rise in temperature of the climate, hence the birth of the term ‘Global Warming’. Climate change is one of the major challenges that face the world and it is up to everyone to recognise this and take responsibility for the amount of greenhouse gasses they produce. The government have not had a statistic to base its outlook and preparation on to try and reduce its emissions and this is why the EPC was brought into effect in October 2008.

The time scales for changes to the EPC intended for landlords are as follows:

- A new style certificate will be available from the 6th April 2012.

- From 2016, a tenant will have the opportunity to ask their landlord to carry out an EPC and the landlord will have a legal obligation to do so.

- From 2018 it will be essential to have an EPC rating above E to let a property. (The grades start at A which indicates the property is highly energy efficient and decreases through to G.)

Below are the requirements landlords and agents need to do in order to fulfil the new legal obligations of the EPC

> An EPC assessment must be carried out on any property that is going to be for sale or let.

> Every prospective tenant must be shown the EPC to allow them to assess the cost of running the property.

> A copy of the EPC must be given to the tenant so they have their own permanent record.

> Before 2016, changes should be made to the property that was recommended by the assessor and then have the property re-assessed to give an accurate new rating however, this will not be a legal requirement.

> It will be a legal obligation by 2016, to carry out any outstanding measures if the tenant requests, although there will be a finance package available to help with the costs of the work.

> It will be illegal to advertise a property for sale or to let by 2018 if the EPC rating is below E, although on some properties an E rating will not be possible to achieve and in this case, the assessor will make a note of this and the highest possible rating will be revealed instead.

> As long as all of the recommendations of the EPC have been fulfilled, it will be legal to let a property that cannot be brought up to the minimum grade and the new rating will be noted on the EPC. Therefore any future tenant will be aware that the property may be expensive to run. This may have an impact on the landlord’s capability to let that property as tenants will become more sensitive to fuel costs.

> Currently, there are free offers available to improve a property’s EPC rating, this includes insulation for single brick buildings.

> Those who carry out the EPC before the 6th April will need to be re-accredited for the certificate to be valid.

> The EPC assessment period will be reduced from 28 days to 7 days but if the EPC is not secured within the 7 days, the landlord will have an extra 21 days to do so.

> Both the seller or landlord and estate agents or letting agents will be required to produce copies of the EPC if requested by a Trading Standards Officer.

> At present, only the agents of residential sales have to either attach the EPC to written particulars of include the rating on those particulars but the amendments to the rules will require this process to be carried out for any buildings sold or rented out.

> The ‘written particulars’ will be expanded and written on the first page of the EPC.

> It will become a statutory obligation to have air conditioning reports lodged on the central Non Domestic EPC register.

> Finally, any EPC’s that were carried out before the 6th April 2012 will still be legitimate until their expiry date.

The new EPC’s changes will include;

- A single energy efficient graph on the front page

- Reduced text

- Clearer explanation and more details on the’ Green Deal’ (the ‘Green Deal’ is a free scheme to help improve the energy efficiency of our properties)

- A suggestion of the recommendations that can be carried out by ‘Green Deal’

- Extra focus on the potential financial savings

- The recommended improvements will be located nearer the front of the document.

- More of the lower importance text moved to the back page

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

(0) Comments EPC, global warning, tenant, landlord, changes, energy efficiency

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