22 Feb 2013

Energy Performance Certificate Regulations

Energy Performance Certificate Regulations

Claire Ogston, Senior Solicitor, summarises the recent changes made to the Energy Performance Certificate Regulations.

Claire Ogston, Senior Solicitor, summarises the recent changes made to the Energy Performance Certificate Regulations.

The Energy Performance Certificate ('EPC') was introduced by European Legislation 'Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008' and came into force in January 2009. The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 made it a legal requirement for homeowners marketing their property for sale or for lease (or marketing a Commercial Property) to make the EPC freely available to any potential purchasers or tenants.

The EPC provides an illustration of the energy efficiency of a property based on a rating scale from A – G (with A being the most energy efficient). EPCs are now an integral part of the marketing process and must be obtained prior to marketing a property - be that  residential or commercial.  EPCs are, in most instances, prepared by Surveyors and make up part of the Home Report (which is required before a property can be placed on the market).

EPCs can also be produced by an 'Approved Organisation', members of which have entered into a Protocol Agreement with the Scottish Government (who will frequently audit them). In order to be valid, an EPC must be lodged on the Scottish Government EPC Database (making copies easy to obtain if an EPC is lost or damaged). This is the responsibility of the entity preparing the EPC. EPCs are valid for 10 years.

Changes to the EPC have recently been introduced and as of 1st October 2012 EPCs were required to be exhibited to a prospective buyers or tenants. An actual hard copy of the EPC must also be provided if requested to a prospective buyer or tenant and it must be provided free of charge.

In addition to providing the energy rating, all EPCs produced after 1st October 2012 must contain recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of the property and detail the steps that would require to be taken in order to implement those recommendations. EPCs must also be produced when a unit within a building is for sale or for lease.

Effective from 9th January homeowners marketing a property for sale or for lease must include EPC information in all advertisements - from newspaper advertisements to sale particulars and any advertisement that appears online

EPCs also now require to be displayed in buildings 'frequently visited by the public' with a 'floor area greater than 500 square metres' in a 'prominent place clearly visible to the public'.

The penalties for failure to comply with the new Regulations have also been increased from £500 to £1000. Local Authorities can issue enforcement notices and penalty charges to homeowners. 

For further advice and guidance on Energy Performance Certificates contact any of our nationwide network of Offices or any member of our Property Team.

Claire Ogston, Solicitor

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