What did Europe ever do for us? A question on many lips as the UK starts to look at the process for exit from the European Union. A mammoth review of all relevant laws and regulations which have been enacted over the years will have to be undertaken to confirm which will be kept and which will be removed.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) were first required following the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings which came into effect progressively from 2007 and was part of the Home Information Pack. Following the suspension of Home Information packs in 2010, the EPC was then required to be provided as a separate document whenever a property is built, sold or rented.

The following type of properties, however, are exempt from the requirements for an EPC:

  • places of worship
  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than two years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
  • industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that do not use a lot of energy
  • some buildings due to be demolished
  • holiday accommodation that is rented out for less than four months a year or is let under a licence to occupy
  • listed buildings - you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than four months a year.

The EPC must be ordered before a property is marketed for sale or where there is no marketing (i.e. sale to sitting tenants) and must be provided as soon as possible. This requirement should be noted where there are proposed sales of property to tenants, for example under the new Voluntary Right to Buy scheme. As an EPC is valid for 10 years, there may already have been one carried out. The register of EPCs can be checked free of charge to see if one is available. The penalty for not supplying an EPC is a £200 fine for each property and is imposed by the local trading standards department.

While the EPC originated from an EU directive, as it was part of the Government’s strategy to reduce climate change, it is likely to be retained and will therefore still need to be factored into any sale or rental of a property which does not fall within the exemptions.