Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirements are enforced by district councils. They can ask for a copy of an EPC from the owner or landlord of business premises at any time up to six months after the date on which they should have provided one. If this happens, you must give them a copy of the EPC within seven days of the request.
If you want to avoid a fixed penalty notice or a delay when you want to sell or let a building - or hand it over to the owners who commissioned it - you should:
- allow sufficient lead time to commission an energy assessor and make sure you have all necessary design and construction plans and information to hand so that the EPC does not delay your sale or rental agreement or defer handover time to the building's owner
- bear in mind that EPCs will increase your costs - the price of an EPC varies from around £5,000 for a 'simple' office building to around £40,000 for a large shopping centre
- factor in the cost of the EPC when setting the sale price of new or existing premises or negotiating a refurbishment contract as it is unlikely that you will be able to ask a prospective buyer or tenant to directly pay for an EPC or be able to recover the cost from an existing tenant
If you do not make an EPC available to a prospective buyer or tenant when selling or letting non-dwellings, the penalty is fixed, in most cases, at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the building. If this formula cannot be applied, the default penalty is £750. A formula is used as the costs of producing an EPC for business premises varies according to the size, complexity and use of the building. The range of penalties under this formula is set with a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.
You can request a review if you are issued with a penalty charge notice that you believe to be unjustified. If you find the outcome of the review unsatisfactory, you may appeal to the County Court within 28 days of receiving a notice confirming the penalty charge notice from the district council. You will have a defence against a penalty charge notice if you can show that you requested an EPC from an appropriate person at least 14 days before it was required and it was not made available in time despite all reasonable effort to achieve this outcome.
It is a criminal offence to:
- disclose an EPC, a recommendation report or any information gathered while preparing these in any circumstances other than to fulfil their duties under the law relating to EPCs - ie to prospective buyers or tenants for the purpose of making a decision regarding the property, or to accreditation schemes and/or enforcement bodies if required to do so
- obstruct or impersonate an enforcement officer
A conviction for one of these offences could lead to a £5,000 fine.