1. The Government prepares to crack down on non-compliance

    22 February 2012

    On April 6th 2012 the new EPC regulations (see below for details) take affect; these regulations will give commercial property agents the same responsibility for enforcing EPC compliance that domestic estate agents have always had with Trading Standards officers having new powers to get agents to prove that they have commissioned an EPC when marketing a property without one.

    The regulations make clear that an EPC must be obtained before or immediately after marketing of either domestic or commercial properties, making agents liable as well as building owners, anyone marketing a property has a duty to ensure that an EPC has been obtained or commissioned before marketing commences.

    The penalty for failing to make a Commercial EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant when selling or letting non-dwellings is fixed, in most cases, at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the building, with a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. The range of penalties under this formula are set with a minimum of £500 and capped at a maximum of £5,000

  2. Energy Performance Certificates and the Green Deal

     The Energy Act was passed in 2011 and this Act will provide the legal framework for the ‘Green Deal’. This Act will have a number of implications to agents and surveyors. Under the Act all households and businesses will be entitled to an energy efficiency assessment as part of the Green Deal, due to come into effect in October 2012.

    An accredited assessor will produce the assessment. The Green Deal will provide a finance mechanism enabling the cost of energy efficiency measures installed to be paid back via the energy bill. Accredited installers will install the measures to specific standards. This should ensure the energy efficiency measures deliver genuine energy bill and carbon savings and consumers should therefore have confidence in the advice, products and services they receive. Once the energy efficiency improvements have been installed, a charge will be added to the energy meter at the property. This charge will enable the occupier to repay any Green Deal finance that was taken out via their energy bill. The repayment obligation will sit with the property and transfer to any new occupier.

     The key principle, or “Golden Rule”, for accessing Green Deal finance is that the charge attached to the bill should not exceed the expected savings, and the length of the payment period should not exceed the expected lifetime of the measures. This is not a government guarantee, but a guideline for customers to expect a more efficient, less wasteful property with no additional net cost from the Green Deal.

     For a more detailed explanation of the Green Deal proposals visit:


     The Proposed Timetable for the Green Deal:

     • October 2011: Energy Act passed.

     • Autumn 2011: formal consultation on the secondary legislation.

     • Early 2012: secondary legislation laid before parliament.

     • Spring 2012: detailed industry guidance prepared.

     • Autumn 2012: launch of the Green Deal and the first plans will appear

     EPCs and the Green Deal

     EPCs and the accompanying Recommendation Reports are expected to play a major part in the delivery of the Green Deal. As you may be aware there are already changes (not related to the Green Deal) due to come into effect on 6th April 2012 (please see below for details) and we have been advised that it is likely that a number of further changes will come into force prior to October 2012 as EPCs are extended and incorporated into the Green Deal programme.

     Restrictions on letting poor performing properties from 2018

     The Act also states that properties with an F or G EPC rating will no longer be allowed to be rented from 2018. According to Savills property advisers, 700 million sq ft of commercial floor space may require an energy efficiency overhaul by 2018. From 2018 Landlords will be faced with the choice of either upgrading their property or removing it from the rental market.

     EPC Changes commencing 6th April 2012

     There are no last-minute surprises in the Regulations, they are very much as we had been led to expect in a series of summaries issued by the DCLG over the past months. In the case of sales and lettings, the requirement to attach an EPC report to all particulars has been toned down so that only the first page of the EPC will now have to be attached. This will still mean having to produce and print another sheet of paper, and it will be almost immaterial as to whether it is printed on one or both sides.

     The regulations make clear that an EPC must be obtained before or immediately after marketing of either domestic or commercial properties, making agents liable as well as building owners of both types of property, since anyone marketing a property has a duty to ensure that an EPC has been obtained or commissioned before marketing commences.

     It is made clear that an EPC must be available before anyone is supplied with details of the property or arranges to view it, and anyone acting on their behalf, has a duty to ensure that this is done. Agents will have to prove they have ordered an EPC before marketing, and will have seven days to produce an EPC – or a further 21 if they haven’t managed to do so, despite trying. Where the property’s address has been omitted from the particulars, it will not be necessary to put the address on the EPC.

     The changes in regulations will also mean that Trading Standards officers will have new powers to get agents to prove that they have commissioned an EPC when marketing a property without one. A number of ‘consequential changes’ to the role of Trading Standards, allowing them to enforce their new duties, will be made. It now remains to be seen how tough the Government will be prepared to get with trading standards departments to ensure that enforcement takes place.


     In relation to EPCS, the changes have already been delayed a number of times and agents will have no excuses if they are not ready by 6th April 2012. As regards the Green Deal given the number of issues that need to be resolved before Green Deal is launched in autumn 2012, the Government has set itself a very ambitious timetable. In the meantime lease negotiations between Landlords and Tenants are likely to be complicated by many of the issues identified above. Furthermore, as the Green Deal will stay with the property, agents and solicitors will have a responsibility to inform potential purchasers and tenants that there is a Green Deal attached to the property. Simply passing on the EPC may not be sufficient to comply with these obligations.

     Over the next year the detail must be worked through – both how landlords and tenants will work together and more generally, how the Green Deal is transacted by agents, assessors, suppliers of finance and energy efficient products and services.

  3. Commercial & Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificates

    9 January 2012

    Detailed information coming soon…

  4. Residential & Domestic Energy Performance Certificates

    Detailed information coming soon…

  5. Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?

    All residential properties being advertised on the rental property market must have an EPC with effect from 1st October 2008. EPCs, or Energy Performance Certificates as is their full name, came about as part of the now defunct HIP (Home Information Pack). EPCs help to reduce the home owner’s carbon footprint and help purchasers and tenants make an informed decision about whether to live in a property by providing important information about the property/building’s energy efficiency.
    If you are a landlord about to put your property up for rent, or if you are a property owner (vendor) about to sell your house, you will need an EPC producing by an EPC provider.


    What Are EPCs For?

    • Energy Efficiency Ratings.

    A – G, A being the best and G the worst. The current average UK rating is E.

    The graphs shown in the EPC will also show the environmental impact rating current and potential rating.

    • EPC’s will provide an estimated running cost, based on standard assumptions.
    • Not all homes are heated and used in the same way. Therefore, actual heating, lighting and hot water costs may differ.
    • Although not compulsory, recommendations will be made on how to make the property more energy efficient. Tax savings and grants are available for improving energy efficiency.

    Where Do I Get an Energy Performance Certificate From?

    A fully qualified Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).  Who is required to be accredited by one of the Government Approved accreditation schemes.

    The assessment should take no more than 45 mins – 1 hour.

    Information on:  Cavity wall insulation and other energy saving measures, should be passed over to the DEA  before he attends  the property.

    • The DEA will need access to all rooms including any attic space.
    • Photographs will be taken of the property and of the boiler system.
    • The DEA will walk around the property taking measurements.
    • The assessment will be non-invasive and furniture will not be moved.
    • The DEA will remove outer footwear or cover them whilst moving in & out of the property.
    • The DEA will leave the property secure when they leave.
    • The EPC is held on the Government Landmark website where all information relating land and property is stored.

    The EPC Assessment

    There are a number of different variables which needs to be assessed in order to complete the EPC; construction type, size, age, heating systems, lighting, insulation and ventilation.

    How The EPC is Created

    After the property inspection, the assessor will have gained enough information to generate your EPC scores and make recommendations. The data is then calculated, and inputted in to our software which produces your EPC.  The EPC is then lodged with the Landmark Register, and is given its unique report reference number (RRN).

    Receive Your Energy Performance Certificate

    After you have placed your order with Carbon Footprint for your EPC and subject to access, an EPC will be available between 48 hours – 96 hours (max). In the majority of cases, our assessor will email your EPC the same day which means you don’t lose any time in your marketing.   The EPC certificates are digital (PDF) – this means they can be distributed and re-used an unlimited amount of times.

    Assistance will be available if there are any concerns regarding the EPC results.  An EPC can be amended following energy saving enhancements to the property. The DEA will be required to make a further visit and prepare a revised EPC. This will incur an additional cost.

    Legal Penalties for Non Compliance

    This legislation is monitored by the Trading Standards Office and enforced by the Office of Fair Trading.

    The Penalty for marketing a property after 01.10.2008 without an EPC is £200.00.

    The penalty can be imposed several times until such times as an EPC is provided for that property.

    Source: whichpropertyagent.co.uk

  6. MP’s Slam Government’s Solar FiT Cuts

    23 December 2011

    The Government received a second blow today over its handling of the solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) cuts, after two influential committees of MPs described them as “unfair” to homeowners, damaging to investor confidence, and “seriously inadequate” in terms of assessing their impact on jobs.

    The Environmental Audit Committee and Energy and Climate Change Committee also slammed Government proposals that would require homes to meet a ‘C’ ratedenergy efficiency standard before they could receive the solar subsidy, saying they would deliver a “fatal impact” on the solar industry. The select committees published their damning verdict in a joint report. It follows a ruling by the High Court yesterday, which said the Government’s plans on solar FiT cuts were unlawful.

    In their report, the committees acknowledged the FiT for solar electricity needed to be reduced, but concluded that the speed and scale of the Government’s plans to cut the subsidies smacked of retrospective action and was undermining green policy and damaging the UK solar industry. The six weeks notice the Department of Energy and Climate Change gave installers and consumers was inadequate and clumsy, they said.
    The Government announced on October 31 that it was planning to cut the subsidy for solar electricity installations by 50 per cent from December 12. The cut-off date for tariff reductions preceded the conclusion of a consultation into solar FiTs review, which ends tomorrow (December 23).
    The select committees’ report is highly critical of the Government’s management of the review, saying it should have taken action earlier and describing the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) monitoring of take up of the scheme as “deficient”.”Ministers should have spotted the solar gold rush much earlier. That way subsidy levels could have been reduced in a more orderly way without delivering such a shock to the industry,” Tim Yeo MP, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said.
    Energy efficiency standard
    The MPs calculated that 86 per cent of homes would need better insulation before they could qualify for the FiT under the Government’s proposals – increasing up-front costs for homeowners by £5,600 to £14,000, even before the panels are purchased.”Access to FiTs should not be closed-off by the need to improve take-up of Green Deal measures. Requiring the ‘C’ rated EPC energy efficiency standard could limit access to wealthier households,” the report concludes.Impact Assessment
    The Government’s Impact Assessment, which the Government based its proposals on, was also heavily criticised by the committees. In their report they said, as well as being out of date at time of publication, the impact assessment failed to “address the consequences for the industry in terms of their cost of capital resulting from any reduction in investor confidence.”It appears that the Impact Assessment was produced and subsequently used to justify a policy decision that had already been made,” the report concluded.”The consequence of the rushed, eleventh-hour consultation will be uncertainty among investors in all kinds of renewable energy, which will inevitably push up the cost of capital,” Yeo said. “This is an extremely unfortunate outcome, because right now we need unprecedented levels of investment to replace ageing power stations and reduce emissions.

    “The Government should build predictability into its energy policies and then stick to it. There should always have been a review mechanism for FITs that responded to falling costs.”

    The report makes a number of recommendations. These include, developing a system to review and adjust FiT rates “in an orderly and timely way”; considering alternative energy efficiency requirements to the ‘C’ rated energy efficiency standard; and designing a ‘community tariff’ that takes in to account the wider impacts on community groups and social housing projects; and requiring electricity suppliers to provide annual returns on how much FiTs have added to annual energy bills. The scheme is paid for through household energy bills. The report calls on DECC to look at the budget cap on the FiT, which was introduced by Chancellor in the Comprehensive Spending Review, following the launch of he FiT in April 2010.

    The committees also recommend that DECC and the Department for Business, Innovation and skills collaborate on finding a way to get the FiT scheme to encourage solar panel manufacturing in the UK.Reaction
    Today’s report was welcomed by the Solar Trade Association chairman Howard Johns, who said: “We are particularly pleased the Committees have urged DECC to abandon the more extreme energy efficiency eligibility proposals (EPC-C) which could stamp out the UK solar market next year. They have also urged DECC to look at how the budget cap could be loosened under different budget classifications – that might sound a rather dry recommendation but it is an essential one if we are to retain a UK solar industry. The Committees have rightly pointed out that these changes hit social homes and communities hardest and have already hit confidence in the sector.”Cathy Debenham, founder of YouGen, a website that helps people find information on renewable energy for their homes and businesses, said she was “delighted” with the findings of the select committees report.”We have be calling for DECC to uncap the FiTs budget, extend the reference date for the introduction of the new tariff, set up a generous community tariff and drop the requirement for buildings to reach EPC (energy performance certificate) level of C to qualify for FiTs,” Debenham said.”We are delighted that these are all issues addressed by the committees and hope that DECC will take them on board. Given that DECC did not do a sufficient appraisal before including the Feed-in Tariffs in its spending review and capping the FiTs budget, we trust that they will revisit that decision and make more money available for this popular technology which is rapidly falling in price.”

    High Court ruling
    Yesterday, Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and Homesun won a legal victory against the Government’s solar FiT cut plans, when the High Court ruled Energy Secretary Chris Huhne had acted unlawfully.

  7. EPC changes for self-catering operators

    9 June 2011

    The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) changed its guidance on the requirements for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), which are due to be implemented from 30 June 2011. According to this new guidance, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be obtained for self-catering properties that are rented out as holiday lets for 20 weeks or more in any 12 month period.

    Trade Associations such as EASCO and the Tourism Alliance are continuing to lobby against this requirement on the basis that the regulations do not cover self-catering properties and, as such, the change in guidance has no legal basis.

    It is worth noting that Local Government Regulation, the agency responsible for the implementation of the regulations, agrees with industry view that the regulations do not apply to self-catering properties. They have sent advice to Trading Standards Officers within councils (who are responsible for the enforcement of the regulations) that concludes: “It is Local Government Regulation’s and Trading Standards Institute’s view that until this requirement is clearly specified in the EPC Regulations there is no obligation on a holiday let owner to have an Energy Performance Certificate.”

    While this advice is not a definitive legal position, it suggests that Local Trading Standard Offices will not be pursuing operators if the matter is not resolved before the 30 June 2011 deadline.

    Source: Accomodation Know-how

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