Cast your mind back to October 2011. You may well remember a subtle change in the law which had pretty far-reaching consequences. Agents could no longer lawfully issue written particulars that did not include an EPC within them. Granted, this was already the case for residential properties, but the extension to commercial meant that suddenly, on every sale and letting of every property, an EPC had to be commissioned when a property was first marketed, not just when a buyer or tenant was found (as the normal practice had been). This had always been the law, but now in practice agents were often forcing their clients to comply. From 9 January this year, this has been supplemented by a new requirement for the asset rating of the building to be stated in any advertisement in “commercial media”.
This seems sensible as the whole rationale behind EPCs is to allow buyers and tenants to consider energy efficiency. The new EPC Regulations do not actually define “commercial media”, but we expect this to be pretty wide and include newspapers and magazines, written particulars, and the internet. However, it is not 100% clear what is actually required. The asset rating should be the numerical rating given on the EPC, which is what the new Regulations say. However, the accompanying guidance in one place suggests that it is the alphabetical rating and in another place suggests that it is the graph on the front of the EPC (so both the numerical and the alphabetical rating)! As such we can’t be sure that the Regulations correctly reflect the Government’s intentions. Our advice is to stick with the usual practice of including the graph in the marketing particulars. That way, all bases are covered.