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Update on EPCs.

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 will come into force on the 6th April 2012 and amend the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

A lettings agent will now need to be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned prior to marketing a property for rental. Obviously this will not pose a problem where the agent obtains it him or herself. The previous regulations required a seller to obtain a EPC upon marketing but where this was not possible then the seller or a person acting for him had up to 28 days from the date the property was placed on the market to use reasonable efforts to obtain it. The amended regulations have now reduced the 28 days to 7 and apply not only to sales but also to rental properties. There is also however an additional allowance of up to 21 days immediately upon the expiry of the 7 days during which the EPC must be obtained. It may see a bit odd to reduce the requirement from 28 to 7 days and then immediately add back on 21 days to get back to 28 days. However, the spare 21 days being given back is only available if an EPC has not been obtained “despite using all reasonable efforts” so a failure to obtain an EPC in 7 days will lead to hard questions being asked. From a lettings point of view, though this does represent a liberalisation as previously the requirement was to have the EPC prior to the offering of the property with any written particulars.

All of you will have seen the asset chart of the EPC on marketing material when properties are advertised to let. Unfortunately the placing of the asset chart will no longer be permitted on its own. Any ‘written particulars’ will now need to include the first page of the EPC. That is the asset chart and the various calculations that underpin it. Page 2, which contains recommendations for improvements, can be handed to the tenant at a later stage but before signature of the relevant tenancy agreement.

‘Written particulars’ include electronic communications (emails) and are defined in the new regulations as containing at least two of the following:
• a photograph of the building or any room in the building,
• a floor plan of the building,
• the size of the rooms in the building,
• the measured area of the building, or,
• in relation to a building being rented out, the proposed rent.

Any advertisement (whether print or electronic) or window display, which includes at least 2 of the above conditions, should therefore include the first page of the EPC. As almost all adverts include a photo and the price or a size and price it will be hard to avoid this. Theoretically, one could bypass this by giving a description without specific sizing along with a price or an artist’s impression plus price.

The penalty for failing to adhere to the regulations remains the same. This is £200 for dwellings and will still be enforced by trading standard officers.

There is no doubt that the reason for these amendments was to clear up what the obligations are and when they apply and this appears to have been achieved. However the requirement to use ‘reasonable efforts’ will no doubt cause problems when people attempt to circumvent what is in essence an effort to achieve a greener attitude to housing.

17 thoughts on “Update on EPCs.”

  1. Rightmove’s official response is this:

    “Our position regarding the display of the EPC is that in accordance with our disclaimer, stated below each property. With the property details not constituting property particulars we, Rightmove, deem that the property ads displayed on the website do not require a ‘EPC first page’.”

    “Disclaimer
    ……..This property advertisement does not constitute property particulars. The information is provided and maintained by . Please contact the selling agent or developer directly to obtain any information which may be available under the terms of The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and The Home Information Pack Regulations 2007.”

    We upload the full EPC to Rightmove anyway so we’re not affected, but I don’t see how they can simply decide to opt out of the definitions of ‘written particulars’? Clearly most adverts will meet the definition of ‘written particulars’, whether they are displayed on your own website, Rightmove, or any other portal.

  2. Do I assume therefore that we will have to display a full A4 sized EPC front page on our window display cards. Most agents window displays are based on A4 sized window cards and therefore it is physically impossible to comply. Has anyone actually made this point to CLG?

  3. May I make a supplementary observation to that made by Stephen B and that is – How on earth is one going to get an A4 EPC front page onto our A4 window display cards and internal office wall displays. If I have understood the comments so far posted this is soemthing we will have to do to stay withtin the law. The practicality of doing this has obviously not been considered by DCLG as most agents displays are based on an A4 card. I wonder if ARLA/NAEA/RICS have asked this direct question of DCLG? It seems to me that letting agents windows and displays will henceforth be ‘sans’ photos of any description. Or have I missed somehting and got it totally wrong?

  4. Further to my earlier observation. As RICS members we have now had a response from them as to their stance and I quote:

    ‘Your recent enquiry has been passed to me.

    The Regulation changes, which come into effect on 6th April, refer specifically to sales or lettings particulars provided to potential purchasers/tenants expressing interest in a property.

    They do not apply to marketing material such as window displays, general property lists or press advertising.

    I trust this clarifies the situation.

    I understand that DCLG propose to issue further guidance to agents early next week, and this will be circulated as soon as it becomes available.’

    Lets hope the Guidance notes from DCLG will confirm this when they are issued.

    1. With respect to RICS thats not what the legislation states it states that where written particulars meet 2 of the criterias in the list then the first page must be made available. It does not state that it needs to be provided but we have seen articles on other blogs that are saying the same.

  5. So reading through this, we have a lettings list, which advertises all our available rental properties.

    There are four properties per page, which include a photo of each house and a price. Therefore having read the article we need to include the front page of the EPC document as well?

    Does this apply to Sales properties as well?

  6. If we’re sending property update emails with a photo and rent levels, would a link to the EPC be sufficient or does it actually have to be attached to teh email?

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