May 9 2012.

If you're in the process of putting a business property up for sale, or considering renting out, are you aware of the legal requirement for Energy Performance Certificates? From 6 April 2012, anyone selling or renting is required by statutory law to provide an EPC, or run the danger of facing costly penalties imposed by trading standards officers.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required when any building is sold, rented out or constructed, and sometimes after refurbishment work. EPCs give information on a building's energy efficiency in a sliding scale from 'A' (very efficient) to 'G' (least efficient). A recommendations report setting out how the rating could be improved accompanies every EPC.

Only accredited energy assessors can produce EPCs for business premises. They analyse how buildings are constructed, insulated and serviced, and the type of fuel being used. If you are choosing a property from which to run your business, comparing EPCs can help you find the most energy efficient premises.

Enforcement of Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirements are enforced by local authorities - usually trading standards officers. 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

• bear in mind that EPCs will increase your costs - the price of an EPC varies

• factor in the cost of the EPC when setting the sale price of new or existing premises or negotiating a refurbishment contract

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.

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