The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has recently announced that it will now implement its proposed changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 on 6 April 2012.
EPCs provide information on how energy-efficient a building is and make recommendations on how to reduce that building’s energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Government intends to make the following changes:
1. The duty to commission an energy performance certificate (EPC) before marketing a property will be extended to the sale and rent of residential and non-residential buildings;
2. The current 28-day period within which an EPC should be obtained using “all reasonable efforts” will be reduced to 7 days. (However, there will be an additional 21-day period during which the EPC can be obtained if it has not been secured within the initial 7-day period);
3. The requirement to include an EPC with written particulars will apply to all residential and non-residential buildings, whether offered for sale or rent. It will not be possible to only include the asset rating;
4. The powers of Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) will be increased so that they can force estate agents and letting agents (and not just landlords or building owners) to prove that an EPC has been commissioned and to produce a copy of it for inspection. This will mean, for example, that TSOs will be authorised to require estate/letting agents to produce evidence that an EPC has been commissioned in circumstances where they are marketing a building without one;
5. An air-conditioning inspection report (if required) will have to be lodged on the central EPC register. (This will no longer be voluntary); and
6. Regulation 5 of the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 will be amended to make it clear that the provision of the EPC cannot be delayed until shortly before the parties enter into a contract for sale or rent.
These changes were supposed to have been implemented in two stages – on 1 July 2011 and 6 October 2011, so we will have to wait and see whether the Government sticks to its new April 2012 date. It certainly seems strange that the Government is pressing ahead with these changes in spite of their stated intention to reduce the burden of red tape on businesses.