Shared house and buy to let landlords face a new set of energy performance certificate (EPC) rules from April 6.
The rules beef up some of the failings of the current system and are aimed at underpinning the government’s commitments to energy saving under international global warming treaties.
The change is law and applies to all residential and commercial properties, including houses in multiple occupation and student lets.
From April 6, 2012, a property owner or letting agent in England or Wales must:
• Order an EPC before advertising a property for sale or rent
• Have written evidence of the order available if required by local trading standards officers – councils have new powers to ask for this
• Try to ensure an EPC is available within seven days of a property hitting the market – the rules do give some breathing space until 28 days after the property is first marketed
• Distribute the first page of the EPC with any marketing materials, whether they are printed, online or delivered by email
• Give viewers a full copy of the report before they visit the property
Failing to supply an EPC until exchange of contracts or signing a tenancy agreement which is current practice for many agents, breaks the new rules.
Owners of properties already on the market on April 6 do not have to buy a new style EPC, as the old format will suffice.
Besides upgrading the rules, the EPC lay-out and design has changed, with more details of energy running costs for the property and the scope for any improvements to cut expenses.
Flouting the new regulations could cost residential property owners and agents fines of up to £200 or a penalty of 12.5% of the rateable value with a minimum £500 and maximum £5,000 penalty for commercial property.
Find out more from Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011