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EPC legal requirements
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EPC legal requirements

We have provided the following guidelines to help you to identify your key EPC legal requirements. However, these guidelines are not necessarily exhaustive and no warranty is made to the accuracy of them. If in doubt, you should consult a solicitor who specialises in EPC legal advice. Alternatively free and impartial information regarding EPC requirements can be found on

Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

For domestic properties to let or for sale

Since October 2008, all properties put onto the market to-let require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC must be produced before the property can be marketed and included on the letting particulars, to enable a prospective tenant to be able to estimate their annual energy spend.
Until May 2010, all properties that were put onto the market for sale required a HIP, which included an EPC. When the Coalition Government came into power, HIPs were suspended and now home sellers are only required to provide an EPC prior to commencing marketing on the property. Like rented properties, the EPC must be produced before the property can be marketed and included on the sales particulars.
An EPC tells the potential tenant or homeowner how energy efficient a property is. With rising energy prices increasing the cost of living, prospective tenants and homeowners can use this information as an indication on how high their gas and electricity bills will be.
This efficiency will be rated on a scale from A to G, with the most energy efficient home achieving an ‘A’ rating. An EPC will also advise on the impact the property has on the environment and provide recommendations on how to make the property more energy efficient.

Why were EPCs introduced?

Buildings are responsible for around 40 per cent of the UK's energy consumption and carbon emissions. Backed by European law, as part of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD), the introduction of EPCs is an important step in highlighting people's awareness of energy wastage.

Do HMOs need EPCs? Multi-occupied rented houses

There has been some confusion about whether HMO landlords need to provide EPCs. The Government's Department of Communities and Local Government give case studies in their advice to landlords.
If you rent a HMO to a number of tenants who each have their own bedroom, but share bathroom and/or kitchen facilities an EPC is not required, unless you sell the house or let it as one whole dwelling.
Letting houses to a group of sharers with just one contract, as many HMO landlords do, is different. In this case you will need to provide an EPC for the whole property when you let to new tenants after 1st October 2008. EPCs are required for self-contained flats (with their own kitchen and bathroom facilities). For further up to date and impartial information contact your local council.
Contact us for more details about our domestic Energy Performance Certificate services or see our domestic services page.

Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificates

For commercial private sector buildings

Since October 2008 there has been a legal requirement for all commercial properties when constructed, leased, or sold to have an accompanying commercial Energy Performance Certificate (also known as a Non-Domestic EPC and Recommendation Report).
Energy Performance Certificates are required for most non-domestic buildings on construction, sale or rent. Some building modifications which result in the addition or removal of building parts and the extension or introduction of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) services will also require an EPC.
The following types of commercial buildings do not require an Energy Performance Certificate:

  • Places of worship
  • Stand-alone non-dwellings less than 50 m2
  • Temporary buildings with a planned life less than two years
  • Industrial premises with low energy use where the space is mostly not heated or cooled (such as process and heavy engineering workshops and stores with localised work-station conditioning)
  • Buildings to be demolished within two years

Working closely with commercial letting and sales agents, construction companies, business transfer agents and facility managers; Green Assess Commercial Energy Assessors survey the commercial premises and collate data incorporating elements such as heating, lighting, and construction type. Utilising a nationally recognised software system interfaced with SBEM calculations, assessors will input data to generate the Non Domestic Energy Certificate.
Contact us for more details about our Commercial Energy Performance Certificate services or see our commercial services page.

Air Conditioning Inspection Reports

EPCs for air conditioning units in commercial and residential buildings
Many commercial buildings and an increasing number of homes have air conditioning systems. These systems should be carefully maintained and managed in order that they do not consume too much energy.
The Government has introduced requirements for regular inspections for air conditioning systems, with air conditioning inspections being conducted at intervals not exceeding 5 years. Since 4 January 2009 all air conditioning systems over 250kW must have had their first inspection, and since 4 January 2011 all air conditioning systems over 12kW must have their first inspection. This second phase accounts for the majority of air conditioning systems currently in use in the UK.

The trigger for air conditioning systems inspections is the size (effective rated output) of the system not the type of building and so the measures apply to homes, commercial and public buildings.
The inspection which is done by an accredited energy assessor, such as a Green Assess assessor, will include an assessment of efficiency, a review of their sizing and advice on improvements or replacements and alternative solutions.
When are the air conditioning inspection reports required?
The regulations require the first inspection of the affected air-conditioning systems (i.e. those of 12kW) to be carried out as follows:

  • For all air con systems first put into service on or after 1 January 2008, the first air conditioning inspection must have taken place within 5 years of the date it was first put into service
  • For other air conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 250kW the first inspection must have happened by 4th January 2009
  • For other air conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 12kW the first inspection must happen before 4th January 2011

The person who controls the technical functioning of the air conditioning system is the person who is legally responsible for getting the air conditioning system inspected.
Contact us to order air conditioning inspection reports or see our commercial services page.

Display Energy Certificates (DECs)

For public sector buildings

The requirement for Display Energy Certificates came into effect on 1 October 2008. Display Energy Certificates (DECs) show the actual energy usage of a public sector building, the Operational Rating, and help the public see the energy efficiency of a building. This is based on the energy consumption of the building as recorded by electricity, gas and other meters.
The DEC has to be clearly displayed at all times and clearly visible to the public. A DEC is always accompanied by an Advisory Report that lists cost-effective measures to improve the energy rating of the building.
Display Energy Certificates are only required for buildings with a total useful floor area over 1,000 square meters that are occupied by a public authority and institution providing a public service to a large number of persons and therefore visited by those persons. The DEC is only valid for one year. The accompanying Advisory Report is valid for seven years.
DECs Fines - The penalty is £500 for failing to display a DEC at all times in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and £1,000 for failing to have possession of a valid advisory report. A maximum fine of £5,000 may be imposed dependent on the nature of the breach of regulations.
Contact us for more details about our Display Energy Certificate services or see our commercial services page.

Although every care has been taken in preparing the above EPC guidelines, Green Assess cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. If in doubt, you are advised to seek separate legal advice regarding your specific EPC needs. *All information provided in response to an EPC request is for guidance purposes only and does not replace EPBD Regulations nor published guidance documentation on the Communities and Local Government website.
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