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Legal A-Z: “E” is for EPC

Q. I own a commercial building that has just become vacant.  I would like to rent it out again, and my agent has asked me for my EPC.  What is it and do I need one?

An Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) certifies the energy efficiency of your building, and must be prepared by an accredited assessor.  EPCs usually include recommendations to improve energy efficiency and their likely payback periods.

The certificate rates the property from A to G, where A is efficient and G is inefficient.  This rating gives a measure of the property’s potential energy efficiency.  The higher the rating, the less impact the property has on the environment.   

An EPC remains valid for a period of ten years unless another EPC for the property has been obtained.  You must not charge for providing a tenant with an EPC, even though the assessor who prepared it for you will have charged you.

EPCs are intended to allow prospective tenants to use energy performance as a criterion to decide which premises to rent.  You must make an EPC available to anyone to whom you intend to rent out your building and you must do so at your earliest opportunity.  No matter how quickly you want to complete the deal, you must remember to commission the EPC before you market the building as the asset rating must be included in all written particulars.  Some landlords do not provide an EPC until heads of terms have been agreed and solicitors instructed, but this rather defeats the object of having one and could well be a breach of the law!  Remember, less haste more EPC!

For further information

Communities and Local Government EPCs webpage:

An earlier version of this article was previously published in hard copy in RICS Property Journal, formerly known the Commercial Property Journal