What are EPC’s?
The need for Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) comes from a European Union Directive that requires any building which is built or sold to have an EPC. The Directive is intended to tackle climate change by reducing the amount of carbon produced by buildings across the European Union. Nearly half of all carbon emissions in the UK come from buildings so they are all assessed on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (the least efficient) with the average rating of an EPC being D. Older homes rate between E and G and new builds are rated between A and C.
By law, it is the responsibility of the vendor to make sure the property is in possession of a valid EPC before it is marketed for sale, especially if the current one has expired. The buyer’s solicitor will request that an EPC is produced, and if the EPC is not produced by the required deadline, the vendor can face a penalty fine.
The EPC is important for potential buyers as it gives information about:
- The property’s general energy efficiency;
- How much energy it uses;
- What energy costs are involved in the running of the property.
The EPC also gives advice on how to improve the property’s energy efficiency, helping to further reduce energy costs.
WHO ISSUES EPC’S?
EPC’s are issued by Energy Performance Assessors (who must be qualified and accredited) who will register the certificate on the EPC Register where they are available to view or download free of charge. The register can be searched either by the address or by the Register’s RRN Reference number. Improvements will also be recommended such as:
- The installation of wall insulation (inside and out);
- Upgrading a boiler or:
- Double/triple glazed windows.
Powers of Trading Standards Officers
Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) have the power to get 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 get the production of documents is now extended to include persons acting on behalf of the seller or landlord – e.g. estate agents and letting agents. This means that TSOs for example will be authorised to get estate agents to produce evidence showing that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing a building without one.
TSO’s also have access to the Landmark Registry where all EPCs are stored.