Energy Performance Certificates likely to receive cool welcome from agricultural community
30 Jul 2008
Farmhouses and agricultural buildings sales and leases must have Energy Performance Certificates from 1 October.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) rating the energy efficiency of a building may be familiar to those buying and selling the family home, forming part of the controversial Home Information Pack, but less so for those selling a farmhouse or leasing a farm which have to date been exempt from the HIP requirements.
However, as Sussex law firm Adams & Remers warns, new legislation to be implemented on 1 October 2008 will require farmhouses and agricultural buildings newly built, leased or sold to include an EPC, detailing the energy efficiency of the home and selected agricultural buildings.
Philip Rowland, a commercial property solicitor at Adams & Remers, said: “EPCs are now being aimed at all premises and are intended to allow potential buyers or tenants of farms to use the information to consider energy efficiency as part of the decision to buy or occupy a building.
“The jury is still out on whether EPCs will have the effect the government is hoping for with regards to the agricultural community, with many of our clients seeing them as just adding to the already high costs of buying and maintaining agricultural property.”
The EPC will contain an energy rating that grades the building’s current energy performance on a scale from A (very efficient) to G (the lowest rating) and a ‘recommendation report’ which sets out recommendations that may be implemented to improve energy efficiency and details the potential energy rating that could be achieved if the recommendations are implemented.
Philip adds: “These are just recommendations with no obligation to act upon them. In today’s current financial climate it is difficult to see a property owner or a tenant spending money to improve the energy efficiency of agricultural buildings voluntarily unless there is clear evidence of the potential financial benefit of such improvements.”
The legislation does provide some exemptions. Buildings that are unheated will not generally require an EPC, and buildings that are heated or air conditioned for just a few days a year – such as greenhouses allowing the germination of plants – will also be exempt. All other buildings will be covered by the legislation.
“EPCs are only required when a building is built, sold or let,” said Philip. “An EPC will not be required for a lease renewal, extension or surrender.”
Enforcement of EPCs will be the responsibility of the relevant local authority, usually via its trading standards officers. Failure to provide an EPC may result in a penalty of 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the property, subject to a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.
“Payment of a penalty does not remove the requirement to provide an EPC,” says Philip, “And the prospective recipient cannot validly agree to waive the right to receive an EPC.”
EPCs were introduced for premises with a floor area over 10,000m² on 6 April 2008 and for premises with a floor area over 2,500m² on 1 July. From 1 October 2008 all farmhouses and selected agricultural buildings will require an EPC.
News release dated: 30th July 2008
Commercial Property Enquiries
- Philip Rowland at Adams & Remers Solicitors
- Tel: 01273 403238
- Matt Baldwin at Coast Communications
- Tel: 01233 503200 / 07930 439739