Requirement to commission an Energy Performance Certificate

It is currently a legal requirement that prior to the sale or letting of a residential or commercial property in England & Wales that an Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) be made available to the prospective buyer/tenant. An EPC should also be commissioned where a new property is built, an existing property is significantly altered, if a property is subject to a Green Deal and for certain public buildings (where it is mandatory for a copy of the EPC to be displayed).

An EPC is a certificate that assesses a buildings energy efficiency rating. The rating runs from “A” (being the best rating) to “G” (being the worst rating) and is similar in appearance to the stickers you may find on electrical goods such as a fridge, television or washing machine. There will also be a number from 1 to 100, with a higher number representing a more efficient building which means the energy bills should cost less.

The EPC certificate will also provide an estimate as to how much it would cost to heat and power the building along with recommendations as to how to improve the energy efficiency of the building.

If an EPC is commissioned, it is “valid” for a period of 10 years and where a new EPC is registered for the same property, the previous EPC becomes redundant.

The obligations on a property owner when selling or letting a property requiring an EPC are as follows:

  • to commission an EPC before marketing if there is no existing valid EPC;
  • to put the EPC rating in any advertisements of the property for sale or letting;
  • to make available to the prospective buyer or tenant a valid EPC for the property.

It is also the property owner’s responsibility to commission the EPC and the property owner should not look to reclaim the cost of commissioning an EPC from a prospective buyer or tenant.

As a general rule, most residential and commercial properties being sold/let are subject to the requirement to have a valid EPC in place. However, the following properties are exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC:

  • Properties which do not have a roof or do not have walls;
  • Properties which use no energy to control the indoor climate;
  • Properties which are not designed or altered to be used separately;
  • Religious properties;
  • Temporary properties;
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural properties with a low energy demand;
  • Non-residential agricultural properties;
  • Residential properties which are not used for much of the year;
  • Stand-alone properties;
  • Buildings earmarked for demolition;
  • Listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas, but only in certain circumstances.

In circumstances where an EPC should have been put in place but it transpires that it was not, penalties can be imposed by the local weights and measures authority. The current legislation sets those penalties as:

  • Residential properties – £200 for a dwelling;
  • Commercial properties – 12.5% of the rateable value of the building, with a minimum penalty of £500 and a maximum £5,000.

A useful table detailing the possible penalty charges can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/508827/1600315_enforcement_guidance_Final.pdf.

It is therefore important to ensure that an EPC is provided to a prospective buyer or tenant as early as possible in any property transaction so as to avoid being fined by the local weights and measures authority.

Should you need advice relating to the legal requirements relating to EPC’s or indeed any other property law matters, please contact

Paul Westwell at pwestwell@bromleys.co.uk or

Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk or

by telephone on 0161 330 6821.

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.