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All homes that are bought, sold or rented require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The idea behind them is that they show you how to make your home more energy efficient. EPCs work by giving ratings that compare current energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions with potential figures that your home could achieve.
But what does this mean in practice? The existing EPC requirements are considered by most professionals in the conveyancing industry to be somewhat of a waste of time.
In the years since the initial obligations to provide an EPC were retained following the demise of the Home Buyers Reports, not one of my clients has ever asked for a copy of the report or shown any interest in it. The proposition that someone will base a decision as to whether to purchase or lease property based on its energy efficiency is questionable to say the least.
However we cannot escape the fact that we are in the age of climate change and environmental responsibility. In light of this, from April 2012 the government have extended the scheme and it will be necessary to provide an EPC before letting a residential or commercial property for any length of time.
As from 6th April, all properties need a valid EPC before the property is marketed to let or for sale and agents must be satisfied a survey is booked before advertising the property.
The EPC must be available within 7 days of marketing and a copy of the front page must be attached to all marketing particulars, whether printed or online. Potential tenants (and buyers) are entitled to see a full copy of the report when viewing the property.
Although this may sound like a formality, it must be taken seriously. The powers given to trading standard officers has increased. They can demand files from agents to ensure the EPC was in place at the relevant time. They can impose fines for breaching the regulations of up to £200 for residential property and £5,000 for commercial property. Remember, always get advice.
Gelbergs Solicitors is based in Islington, London N1 and offers comprehensive legal advice on all property law issues. Call us on 020 7226 0570 and ask for Graeme Taylor or Russell Shapiro. Our website can be found at www.gelbergs.co.uk and twitter at @gelbergs.