The Department for Communities and Local Government is set to release records held since 1 October 2008, allowing anyone who knows the address of a commercial property to access Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Display Energy Certificate (DEC) data in bulk form.  Commercial property owners in England and Wales who do not want their EPC data to be made publicly available must opt-out by 30 June 2016.

EPC and DEC data will be available in bulk form, updated every six months, allowing individuals to access all of the data held electronically in respect of any building which has an EPC, subject to conditions set out in an accompanying copyright notice. As the data will include address data which contains Royal Mail Group Limited intellectual property rights, those accessing the data will be prohibited from re-using the address data for other purposes. The data will be made available online at: http://opendatacommunities.org/

Rationale

The government believe that it is in the “public interest” to release the data about the energy performance of buildings in order to meet the UK climate change objectives. It argues that greater transparency will allow property management companies to better manage their building stock and upgrade low performing properties. 

Implications

Currently EPC and DEC data is accessible on an individual property basis unless individuals have opted-out; bulk data is only available in limited circumstances. Making such data publicly available in bulk form will easily enable potential purchasers to assess the value of a property early on which, whilst this may encourage property owners to upgrade low performing properties, it may also weaken their position in negotiations and discourage potential purchasers.

If a decision is made not to disclose such data it may be viewed as hiding an adverse EPC rating. However, if a property has a favourable EPC rating, making this public can only improve the position for the owner and encourage other property owners to improve their own ratings.

How to Opt-out

Commercial property owners who wish to opt-out can do so here before 30 June 2016: https://www.epcregister.com/opt-out/oo/

It is possible to opt-out after this date but data may have already been made publicly available.