We are often asked by our clients who regularly deal with properties in England and Wales if they need an EPC with a minimum rating of E for commercial properties in Scotland. In short the answer is no; EPC regulations are not the same north and south of the border.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, regulations which are due to come into force on 1 April 2018 will prevent private Landlords from letting either domestic or non-domestic properties with an EPC rating lower than E (unless they can point to a specific exemption).
Scotland – Non-domestic
The equivalent regulations for non-domestic buildings in Scotland do not impose a minimum EPC rating requirement – however other measures apply.
The Scottish regulations which have been in force since 1 September 2016 apply to non-domestic buildings (or units designed for separate use) with a floor area over 1000m² unless they comply with Scottish Building Standards from 2002 or later.
If the regulations do apply then the owner will need to obtain a section 63 Action Plan before letting or selling the property. Instead of preventing a property with a poor rating from being let, the focus is on either carrying out the improvement works recommended in the Action Plan or monitoring and recording energy efficiency annually by obtaining a Display Energy Certificate.
Our legal update provides more details on the operation of these regulations.
Scotland – Domestic
Currently there is no minimum EPC rating or Action Plan required for private domestic properties in Scotland. However, the Scottish Government is currently consulting on the introduction of a minimum EPC rating requirement for private rented housing in Scotland: “Energy Efficiency and Condition Standards in Private Rented Housing” .
The consultation proposes that the minimum standard for these properties would initially be Band E and would then be raised to Band D. There is a suggestion that the minimum rating would be raised further at a later stage. The initial trigger would be new tenancies granted from 1 April 2019.
The Scottish Government is seeking views on the proposals contained within the consultation paper and you can submit a response online before it closes on 30 June 2017.