*IMPORTANT - The law relating to Energy Performance Certificates (or EPCs), and therefore the obligations of business sellers and their representatives, has now been clarified. Agents, brokers and private sellers alike will be bound by new statutory law from 6th April 2012**
When business owners, agents, brokers or landlords put a business or property up for sale or rent they must produce an EPC, which provides information on the energy efficiency
and likely carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from business premises or residential buildings. An EPC applies only to those business properties which have 'their own heating or conditioning units' and
lasts for 10 years.
The penalty fee for not having an EPC ready to show prospective buyers or tenants is fixed at 12.5% of the rateable value of the relevant building. Therefore possible penalties could be in the range between £500 and £5,000.
The law governing EPCs is the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2008. These regulations have been changed as follows:
An EPC (or written evidence that an EPC has been commissioned if you don't yet have an EPC) should be supplied as part of an advertisement listing to potential buyers as early as possible in the sales process. To that end an EPC, or written evidence that you have applied for one, should be obtained within seven (7) days of marketing.
Brokers and agents must use "all reasonable efforts" to obtain the EPC - this applies to both residential buildings and commercial premises.
However, if sellers use all reasonable efforts to apply for an EPC within the 7 day period they have a further twenty one (21) days to obtain the certificate. Therefore all sellers must have an EPC in their possession within 28 days of the start of marketing.
Brokers/agents acting on behalf of sellers must satisfy themselves that an EPC has been commissioned by their clients before marketing the property or be at risk of being liable for a fine under the Regulations.
The entire EPC certificate should be attached to a business listing advert if possible, or if this isn't possible the asset graph (which shows the energy rating of the property) as a minimum must be attached.
Owners of commercial premises can obtain an EPC before they put their business up for sale - in fact we recommend obtaining one as soon as possible. However, the above legal obligations apply only when an owner decides to market their business premises for sale or lease.
All of the new rules above apply only to business premises that are marketed for sale or lease on or after 6th April 2012.
**END OF UPDATE**
Since the 1st of October 2008, sellers and landlords have been required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all buildings or parts of buildings when they are sold or rented. Those carrying out the construction of a building will be required to provide an EPC to the owner.
An Energy Performance Certificate gives prospective buyers or tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building.
The certificate provides energy efficiency A-G ratings and recommendations for improvement. EPCs were first introduced for the marketed sale of domestic homes as part of the Home Information Pack, although since April 2008 this has been extended to newly built homes and large commercial properties. The ratings - similar to those found on products such as fridges - are standard, so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type. Any commercial property now coming onto the market will need an EPC.
The seller or landlord is responsible for ensuring that an EPC is available to a prospective purchaser or tenant at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a viewing is conducted or when written marketing information is provided about the building, or in any event before entering into a contract to sell or let.
EPCs are produced by accredited energy assessors and for commercial properties are valid for a period of 10 years, or until a newer EPC is prepared.
The enforcement of EPCs will be undertaken by local Trading Standards. In most cases, the penalty charge for failure to produce an EPC will be 12.5 per cent of the rate-able value of the property, subject to a minimum penalty of £500 and capped at a maximum of £5,000.