As predicted in our News Release of 3 May, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced changes to the rules for producing Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). The changes are:
- the duty to commission an EPC before marketing will be extended to the sale and renting of commercial as well as residential premises;
- the current 28 day period within which an EPC may be obtained using “reasonable efforts” is reduced to 7 days;
- the power of Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) to require the “relevant person” (i.e. the seller of landlord) to produce copies of the EPC for inspection will be extended to selling and letting agents. This means that TSOs will be authorised to require selling and letting agents to produce evidence that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing premises without one;
- the regulations will be amended to remove the provision that an EPC can be provided at any time up to exchange of contracts and
- the EPC must be attached to written particulars for commercial premises marketed for sale or rent.
It is not safe to assume that TSOs need to go looking for offenders. Once a change of ownership has been notified to the rating department of the local authority, it will notify Trading Standards. It is easy to check whether an EPC has been issued because details of EPCs issued are held on a central register.
It is worth noting that Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne recently announced that, from April 2018, it will be unlawful to let premises with an energy efficiency rating less than “E”. This measure will apply to both residential and commercial properties.