Six weeks after the deadline for the requirement of home sellers to have an Energy Performance Certificate and Recommendation report in place, the Dept of Finance and Personnel have written to Northern Ireland Estate Agents enclosing a letter to their clients to remind them of their legal responsibility to have an EPC and Report in place at the beginning of the house selling process or face fines. The legislation, introduced on 30th June 2008, clearly states that an EPC and Report must be made available ‘at the earliest opportunity to any prospective purchaser’ and that ‘a copy of the EPC and Report must be produced to a potential purchaser, on request, at no charge’.
The theory behind this most topical piece of EU legislation is to provide potential purchasers with additional information about the property they are considering and to give a guide as to the energy efficiency (or inefficiency) of the home they intend to view and possibly purchase. The EPC and Report also provides valuable information on how improvements could be made to the property to make it more energy efficient and so minimise energy waste. At a time when our energy costs are soaring, this must be a really important factor in the buying decision process.
At the present time, there is no liability on any owner to carry out the recommendations in the Report- they are purely advisory. However, it is highly likely that a new owner might undertake to carry out some or all of the energy saving improvements in an effort to reduce the annual costs of the oil, gas and electricity consumed.
In their letter, the Dept have reiterated that the responsibility to provide an EPC and Report lies with the owner (and in due course the landlord) and that a failure to provide this information when a property goes on the market for sale will result in a fine of £200 for each breach of the legislation. For a home in a popular location or price bracket, this accumulated fine could be considerable.
The requirement to provide an EPC and Report applies to all homes currently on the market and all homes as they are now listed for sale.
The Dept have taken the step of writing to agents and owners to reinforce the requirements of the legislation and to undo the myth that an EPC and Report are only required once a purchaser has been found- this is not the case!
In summary: IF YOUR HOME IS ON THE MARKET OR GOING ON THE MARKET FOR SALE- YOU MUST HAVE AN EPC- IT’S THE LAW!