The law governing EPCs is the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2008.
These regulations have been changed as follows:
From the 1st of October 2008, sellers and landlords are required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all buildings or parts of buildings when they are sold or rented. Those carrying out the construction of a building will be required to provide an EPC to the owner.
An Energy Performance Certificate gives prospective buyers or tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building.
The certificate provides energy efficiency A-G ratings and recommendations for improvement. EPCs were first introduced for the marketed sale of domestic homes as part of the Home Information Pack, although from April 2008 this was extended to newly built homes and large commercial properties. The ratings - similar to those found on products such as fridges - are standard, so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type.
Any commercial property on the market before 1st October 2008 and remaining on the market will need an EPC by 4th January 2009 at the latest. If it is sold or rented out in the meantime, an EPC must be commissioned and then handed over as soon as is practicable.
The seller or landlord is responsible for ensuring that an EPC is available to a prospective purchaser or tenant at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a viewing is conducted or when written marketing information is provided about the building, or in any event before entering into a contract to sell or let.
EPCs are produced by accredited energy assessors and for commercial properties are valid for a period of 10 years, or until a newer EPC is prepared.
The enforcement of EPCs will be undertaken by local Trading Standards. In most cases, the penalty charge for failure to produce an EPC will be 12.5 per cent of the rate-able value of the property, subject to a minimum penalty of £500 and capped at a maximum of £5,000.