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Changes to EPC regulations explained for agents and business sellers

Energy performance certificate

The law relating to Energy Performance Certificates (or EPCs), and therefore the obligations of business sellers and their representatives, has now been clarified.

Agents, brokers and private sellers alike will shortly be bound by new statutory law that we wanted to make you aware of.

EPC recap

When business owners, agents, brokers or landlords put a business or property up for sale or rent they must produce an EPC, which provides information on the energy efficiency and likely carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from business premises or residential buildings. An EPC applies only to those business properties which have 'their own heating or conditioning units' and lasts for 10 years. 

The penalty fee for not having an EPC ready to show prospective buyers or tenants is fixed at 12.5% of the rateable value of the relevant building. Penalties range between £500 and £5,000.

Changes to the law from 6 April 2012

The law governing EPCs is the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2008. These regulations have been changed as follows:

  • An EPC (or written evidence that an EPC has been commissioned if you don't yet have an EPC) should be supplied as part of an advertisement listing to potential buyers as early as possible in the sales process. To that end an EPC, or written evidence that you have applied for one, should be obtained within seven (7) days of an advertiser marketing the property on businessesforsale.com. 
  • Brokers/agents and private sellers must use "all reasonable efforts" to obtain the EPC - this applies to both residential buildings and commercial premises. 
  • However, if sellers use all reasonable efforts to apply for an EPC within the seven (7) day period they have a further twenty-one (21) days to obtain the certificate. Therefore all sellers must have an EPC in their possession within 28 days of the start of marketing.  
  • Brokers/agents acting on behalf of sellers must satisfy themselves that an EPC has been commissioned by their clients before marketing the property or be at risk of being liable for a fine under the Regulations.
  • The entire EPC certificate should be attached to a business listing advert if possible, or if this isn't possible the first page as a minimum must be attached. 
  • Owners of commercial premises can obtain an EPC before they put their business up for sale - in fact we recommend obtaining one as soon as possible. However, the above legal obligations apply only when an owner decides to market their business premises for sale or lease.
  • All of the new rules above apply only to business premises that are marketed for sale or lease on or after 6 April 2012. 

Changes to Businessesforsale.com

As a result of these changes to the law we've amended our terms and conditions. Please take a read. 

We have created a handy new section when uploading listings allowing you to easily upload your EPC as soon as you have it. We are also in the process of securing a list of recommended EPC providers.

We are very keen for sellers and brokers to continue advertising business premises on businessesforsale.com. However, please be aware of the consequences to you of not obtaining your EPC in the relevant time period.  

If you have any further questions on EPCs please read our comprehensive guide to energy performance certificates and/or visit the EPC section on the Directgov website.

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