Commercial Energy Performance Certificates
The Government has published advice on meeting the regulatory requirement to obtain a valid Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) prior to marketing a property during the Coronavirus outbreak.
By way of reminder, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (“EPB Regulations”) require an EPC to be made available to any prospective buyer or tenant on the sale or letting of a building. Note there are exemptions applicable to certain types of building e.g. listed buildings in certain circumstances, temporary buildings, places of worship. Equally certain transactions will not amount to a sale or letting.
The EPB Regulations require that all reasonable efforts must be made to obtain a valid EPC for the building before the end of a 7-day period starting with the day on which the building in question was first placed on the market.
Note that if all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain a valid EPC but this has not been possible, a further 21 days are allowed as a grace period. After this period, enforcement authorities can take enforcement action.
The legal requirement to obtain an EPC in the EPB Regulations remains in place.
An EPC assessment should only be conducted where it can be carried out safely.
EPC assessments for residential buildings should only be conducted in accordance with government advice on home moving during the COVID-19 outbreak.
EPC assessments can continue for vacant buildings.
No EPC assessments should take place if any person in the relevant building is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.
Where an EPC is required for a building (residential or commercial) that is occupied, the government’s advice states that the parties must endeavour to agree that the transaction can be delayed so that the EPC assessment can proceed when current lockdown measures are lifted.
If the transaction is unavoidable and the parties cannot reach an agreement to delay, then an EPC assessment may need to be conducted if there is no valid EPC available for the property on the online register. In these circumstances, when undertaking the EPC assessment the government’s guidance on social distancing must be adhered to.