The DCLG has published summaries of responses to a series of consultations on Energy Performance Certificates and has indicated how it will be taking the matter forward.
The main proposals of interest to the PRS being consulted on were:
- Wider publication of EPC data
- Requiring EPCs where individual rooms in HMOs were rented
- Requiring EPCs for holiday lets
- Publication of EPC figures in all property advertising
The first proposal was to create new powers for EPC data including address data and EPC recommendations to be published. The government intends to take this forward and will implement new legislation to allow for this. The legislation will deal with any data protection issues that may arise. Naturally this means that prospective tenants and third parties will have unfettered access to EPC reports and will be able to tie them to properties.
Currently where an HMO is rented out as a single property an EPC is required but where HMO property is rented out on a room by room basis then an EPC is not required. The government is not planning to fix this discrepancy as it is not required to by the relevant EU directive.
The EU directive which required EPCs actually demands that holiday lets for more than 4 months include an EPC. The legislation implementing it here did not cover the point but Government guidance said that all holiday lets were excluded. The Government will fix this by amending the guidance to make clear that EPCs are required for holiday lettings in excess of 4 months. Arguably they should actually fix the regulations to make this issue clearer and to define what is meant by a holiday letting.
The latest version of the underlying EU directive requires that all property advertising carry the EPC rating by July 2013. Currently this information is only required where written information is made available to a prospective buyer or tenant. Arguably, of course, advertising is written information and so an EPC should be provided with adverts already. However, one supposes that the reference is more to the sort of small adverts found in newspapers and magazines which typically supply very limited information. At the moment the Government does not intend to implement this proposal for the simple reason that they do not have to until 2013. However, agents should be aware that this is on its way and they will need to adjust procedures accordingly.
The overall message seems to be that the Government will only do what it absolutely has to do to service its EU requirements.