Thu 29 Mar 2012
Commissioning an EPC before marketing
A number of changes will be made to regulation 5A of the EPB Regulations. In general, the onus remains on the ‘relevant person’ (i.e. the seller or landlord) to commission an EPC before marketing.
The main changes are as follows:
• the duty to commission an EPC before marketing will be extended to the sale and rent of residential and non-residential buildings;
• the current 28 day period within which an EPC is to be secured using ‘reasonable efforts’ will be reduced to 7 days;
• if after that 7 day period the EPC has not been secured the relevant person will have a further 21 days in which to do so.
Power to Require the Production of Documents
Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) currently have the power to require the ’relevant person’ (i.e. the seller or landlord) to produce copies of the EPC for inspection and to take copies if necessary. The power to require the production of documents will be extended to include persons acting on behalf of the seller or landlord – e.g. estate agents and letting agents. This means, for example, that TSOs will be authorised to require estate agents to produce evidence showing that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing a building without one.
Clarifying when an EPC is required
This technical amendment to Regulation 5 is intended to remove the erroneous belief that the provision of the EPC can be delayed until shortly before the parties enter into a contract for sale or rent. This will be achieved by deleting the words “before entering into a contract to sell or rent the building or, if sooner” in Regulation 5(2)(b) of the EPB Regulations
A number of consequential changes will be made to enable TSOs to enforce the new duties.
EPC Information in Written Particulars
Currently, for residential sales only, the relevant person or his agent is under a duty to either attach the EPC to written particulars or include the asset rating on those particulars. The amendments will require the EPC to be attached to written particulars in relation to buildings sold or rented out. The option to include the asset rating will no longer apply.
The existing definition of ‘written particulars’ will be expanded to ensure that particulars produced for rented out buildings and commercial properties are captured by the new requirements.
As an exception to this requirement, provision is made to allow the person subject to the duty to provide the written particulars to omit the address of the building from a copy of the EPC where the address has been omitted from those particulars. A further amendment to the Regulations which will also come into force on the 6th April will require that the omission of the address from the copy of the first page of the EPC is carried out by the keeper of the register. The further amendment to the Regulations will restrict this exception to properties which are non-residential.
Statutory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports
The requirement to lodge air conditioning inspection reports on the central Non Domestic EPC Register will become a statutory requirement, replacing the current voluntary approach.
The amended Regulations will come into force on 6 April 2012. A copy of the amendments and the Explanatory Memoranda can be downloaded at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2452/introduction/made
The landlord holds responsibility as the ‘Relevant Person’ they therefore carry responsibility to ensure compliance with the EPC regulations, however they may if they choose engage an agent to act on their behalf in procuring the EPC. Should the landlord, as the ‘Relevant Person’ not produce an EPC for a marketed property within the time limits set out in the regulations i.e. ideally within 7 days but certainly by 28 days from the commencement of marketing the landlord will be liable to a fine, currently at £200.
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Living Property, 29/03/12, www.livingproperty.co
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