From 1 April 2018 it is illegal to provide a new letting or the renewal of a tenancy for commercial or residential properties with an EPC rating lower than E in England and Wales.
See an overview of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for more information.
In the UK, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are based on carbon emission rates rather than simply energy demands. For existing properties an EPC certificate must be made available when selling or letting a commercial property. EPCs are also required for newly constructed or shell and core buildings/units receiving their ‘first fit out', including buildings that have been extended. In addition, where the building use changes, a new EPC will be required. For example, where an office building is converted into a hotel, the building class would change from 'B1 Business class' to 'C1 Hotels class'. The classes of use for England are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 and its subsequent amendments.
Before a building is put on the market the seller, landlord, managing agent, estate agent and any other third parties must ensure an EPC has been commissioned before they can market a property for sale or rent. The seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf must use all reasonable efforts to ensure the EPC is obtained within 7 days.
All sales or lettings advertisements for commercial properties must illustrate the EPC rating of the property being advertised. There is no requirement to display the full certificate within the advert, but where there is adequate space, the advertisement should show the A-G graph. Where this is not always possible, the advertisement should include the actual EPC rating of the property.
The EPC for the property, and its accompanying recommendation report, must be made available free of charge to a prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity, and in any event:
- when written information about the building is provided as a result of a request by a prospective purchaser;
- all advertisements in the commercial media must clearly show the energy rating of the building;
- before a property is viewed; and
- a copy of the EPC must also be provided to the successful buyer or the person who takes up the tenancy.
Some buildings are exempt from energy performance evaluation. These include buildings that are used primarily as a place of worship and temporary buildings with a planned use of less than 2 years.