81% of commercial properties breaking Commercial EPC regulations

NHER has recently published research in regard to the compliance of the commercial EPC legislation. The results and published report is quite shocking.

“In a mystery shopping exercise to check on compliance with European and UK law relating to the energy efficiency of buildings in the commercial property sector, NHER discovered that more than 80% of agents it spoke to were unable to provide the mandatory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the offices or shops they were marketing for sale or rent. These certificates are a critical part of the Government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills for businesses.

88 out of 108 agents contacted around the country (81%) failed to provide an EPC. Almost half of these agents (47%, or 41 agents) said they believed the certificate was not necessary, or just could not give an explanation about why no EPC was available.”

Read the full report here.

Between 27 April and 22 May 2009, NES researchers telephoned 108 commercial property agents across five English regions on the pretext of acting for clients interested in renting or purchasing the freehold for a typical High Street office or shop. All agents were given until 1 June 2009 to contact the surveyor should an EPC have become available.

NES‟s experience was that the EPC either appeared within 48 hours of the conversation with the agent or not at all. Indeed, 88 of the agents (81%) failed to provide an EPC.

When asked why not:

  • Almost half (47% – 41 agents) said they believed an EPC was not necessary, or that they just didn‟t know.
  • A further third (36% – 32 agents) said that they would only get an EPC at the point of sale. (This is in breach of the regulations which require the EPC to be provided well before entering into any contract to sell or let).
  • 17% (15 agents) said that they believed the EPC was in the process of being undertaken.

NES is making four major recommendations as a result of the research:

1. Make the display of the EPC rating mandatory on all commercial building particulars used by agents to market the building. This measure could be achieved for commercial buildings quickly and at little or no cost.

2. Place the legal responsibility of providing an EPC on the actual entity marketing the commercial building (e.g. the commercial property agent). Currently, it is the responsibility of the seller or landlord offering the building for sale or let to make an EPC available for their building. This is unlike the dwellings sector, where the legal liability rests with the seller‟s estate agent.

3. Make the implications of non-compliance more acute by increasing the penalties. The current levels of penalties range between £500 and £5,000 depending upon a building‟s rateable value. Clearly this is not providing a deterrent to non compliance and therefore there is an argument that the penalties and enforcement are inadequate.

4. The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) should reinvigorate their communication programme with the property industry (particularly in the segment of smaller commercial buildings) and with trading standards departments.

On the back of this research it does appear as if trading standards are now going to take a look at this area closer. It will be interesting if similar research is carried out in the future and for comparison purposes to see if non-compliance is reducing.

4 Responses to “81% of commercial properties breaking Commercial EPC regulations”

  1. Richard Says:

    As an agent dealing with the various legislations that have landed on our doorstop over the last decade I struggle to accept the value of an EPC certificate.

    When Asbestos CAWR legislation came into play it had a purpose as it saved lives. However EPC’s are prepared for the seller of a property who really does not have any gain from the document.

    I am delighted to see that one company at least admits that although they are a major national provider of EPC certificates their objective is to provide a cost effective solution to the landlord or property owner and not bang on about green issues and carbon foot print etc. As agents all we want is a simple and quick way of getting our clients to comply and at a price which is sensible.

  2. chris Says:

    Though it now looks that the EPC will be taken down the HIP route for the future, as they are planning to put a life of 10 years on each EPC which could basically mean it makes it out dated and useless simular to that of the HIP.

  3. Matt Says:

    Good post with some interesting numbers.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Charlene Larrow Says:

    This is great!! Finally found the correct info…

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