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Nearly half believe EPC not necessary

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 08-Jun-09 01:55:23 PM

During May 2009, NHER researchers telephoned 108 “key” commercial property agents in five regions across England and Wales following anecdotal reports of non-compliance from its accredited energy assessors.

A qualified building surveyor, posing as an agent acting on behalf of a client wishing to buy or rent commercial premises, identified “suitable property” from an agents’ website before calling to ask if an EPC was available.

NHER’s “mystery shopper exercise” found 88 agents (81%) did not hold an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property advertised and that 41 agents (47%) either didn’t believe one was necessary, or simply didn’t know.

15 agents (17%) thought an EPC was “in the process of being undertaken,” the survey found.

No sale, no EPC

More than a third of agents contacted (36%) said “they”* would only commission an EPC “at the point of sale.”

* It is not clear on whose authority “they” were assuming. Commercial property agents are not responsible, by law, to commission EPCs - it is the seller or landlord.

NHER concludes:

Our research shows widespread non-compliance with the regulations regarding the availability of EPCs for commercial buildings that are being marketed for sale or rent.

It is calling on the CLG to (in order of priority):

  1. Make the display of the EPC rating mandatory on all commercial building particulars used by agents to market the building.
  2. Place the legal responsibility of providing an EPC on the actual entity marketing the commercial building (e.g. the commercial property agent).
  3. Make the implications of non-compliance more acute by increasing the penalties.
  4. CLG should work alongside the property and energy industry to reinvigorate and clarify their communication programme.

Read NHER’s full report.

The law

The law requires an EPC to be made available to prospective buyers or tenants of commercial premises at the earliest opportunity, and; no later than when any written information is requested, or; when a viewing is conducted, and /or, in any event, before entering into a contract to sell or rent.

The onus falls on the seller or landlord, not the property agent.

The penalty for not possessing an EPC on commercial properties being let or sold is no less than £500 per building, and no more than £5,000.

The actual penalty is calculated at 12.5% of the rateable value of the building. Where that cannot be applied, a default £750 penalty is levied.

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