EPC’s

Energy Performance Certificates are now required for all residential property offered on the market for sale and will soon be required for all residential property offered 'To Let'

Douglas Huston Chartered Surveyors are qualified and accredited to undertake and produce these certificates.

We offer a fast and professional service and are happy to answer any questions you may have in this regard.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more details, a quote or to instruct us toundertake an energy assessment.

We recieve lots of enquiries about EPC's and inorder to provide you with a quick answer to many of the common questions we outline them below.

Who is responsible for obtaining an EPC?

For buildings that are to be sold, the building's owner is responsible; for buildings that are to be rented out, it is the prospective landlord (both are referred to in the Regulations as the relevant person'). This certificate should be shown, on request, to any prospective purchaser or tenant, and should in any case be provided by the owner to the ultimate purchaser before a contract for sale is made or tenancy arrangement has been agreed.

Are there any penalties for not making an EPC available?

Civil law applies and DFP officials and Building Control officers from the relevant District Council area will have the duty of enforcement.

These officers can act on complaints from the public or make random investigations themselves and if they believe that you are subject to any of the duties under the Regulations, they can request you produce the relevant documents. This information must be provided within 7 days of the request and the enforcement officers may take copies of any document you provide for inspection.

Failure to comply with their request or the Regulations may result in the issue of a penalty charge notice. Penalty charge notices can only be issued within 6 months of the date when the person concerned was subject to a duty in relation to the building.

In the case of a dwelling, the penalty is £200 and for non-dwellings it is 12.5% of the net annual value for each breach of failing to

- Make available, free of charge, a valid EPC to any prospective buyer or tenant;

- Give, free of charge, a valid EPC to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant;

- Give an EPC to the owner of the building by the person responsible for having construction work carried out (not more than five days after the work has been completed); and

- Make available or give, free of charge, a recommendation report to accompany a valid EPC.

In addition to these penalties, of course, it is still necessary to commission an EPC and recommendation report.

However:

- If you can demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid breaching the Regulations, then the penalty charge notice may be withdrawn; or

- If you believe the penalty charge notice should not have been given you can request a review. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the review you may appeal to the county court within 28 days after you received notice confirming the penalty charge notice.

How long will it take to perform an energy assessment?

The time taken to perform an energy assessment will vary according to the size and nature of the property. This is particularly true of commercial buildings where the wide variations in size etc. renders any definition of 'average time' not very meaningful. However, it has been estimated that an average 3 bedroom semi-detached house would take approximately under two hours to complete.

Will an energy assessor have to visit the property?

For existing domestic properties, the accredited energy assessor must base the assessment on a visit. Where an assessment is based on the assessment of another representative apartment or unit, the accredited energy assessor will need to visit a sample of the apartments or units to verify that they are indeed representative. In other cases the assessor must visit the property if s/he has any concerns about the data and should expect to do so unless there is good reason not to.

What happens if my home gets a low rating?

This simply indicates your home could be more energy efficient. During the inspection a number of recommendations to improve its energy efficiency will be identified (in the recommendation report which should accompany the EPC). Implementation of these could not only increase your rating and reduce carbon emissions, but also save money on energy bills. However, it is up to you whether you implement the recommendations or not; the Regulations do not impose a legal duty on you to do so.

What are the benefits to me as a seller or landlord?

A higher energy rating should make a building with a higher rating more marketable than one with a lower rating. The rating indicates to a prospective buyer or tenant how energy efficient your building is and a more energy efficient building is less costly to run. Also, the recommendation report should also provide information that may help to reduce the running cost of the property even further.

As a seller or landlord do I need to obtain a certificate every time I sell or rent to a prospective buyer or tenant?

No. There is no requirement in the Regulations to produce a new EPC every time there is a sale or new tenancy. A certificate is valid for 10 years and can be used multiple times during this period. If, however, an existing dwelling is sold (or rented out) after this period, the certificate will effectively expire and a new replacement EPC will be required which will, in turn, be valid for another 10 years and so on.

Certificates must be produced by an accredited energy assessor, but does this mean that a team can gather the data?

A team of people can work on gathering the information for an energy assessment as long as they are working under the direction of an accredited energy assessor. The accredited energy assessor must ensure that anyone visiting a property or gathering information on their behalf is suitably qualified to gather the information. Only accredited energy assessors can produce and register certificates.

An accredited energy assessor may use data previously collected about a building. They must, however, be satisfied that any data about a property has been properly collected and accurately reflects the property as they will be responsible for any data used to produce an EPC.

When is an EPC not required?

You will not be required to produce an EPC if:

- you are not selling or renting your property

- you are selling your home and both parties sign a contract by 30th June 2008

- you are renting your property and both parties sign a contract by 30th December 2008

- you are selling your property and have reasonable grounds to believe that the buyer intends to demolish it on purchase.

If you are constructing a building and have notified Building Control of its completion before 30th September 2008, you will not be required to provide them with a copy of an EPC. However you will still be required to provide an EPC to the prospective buyer or tenant

The following buildings are exempt and therefore do not require an EPC:

- places of worship,

- stand-alone buildings of less than 50 m2 (except for dwellings),

- temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less, and

- particular buildings with low energy demand (e.g. barns).

Does each apartment or flat need a separately generated EPC?

Certification for apartments or units in blocks can be based on the assessment of another unit in the same block. Existing data gathered at an earlier date and/or by another person may be used.

this information has been taken from the Department of Finance and Personnel -http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/index/law-and-regulation/energy-performance-of-buildings/epb-faq.htm

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