Guidance has been published regarding the requirement for an Energy Performance Certificates (“EPC”) when marketing a property during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The guidance states that the legal requirement to obtain an EPC before selling or letting a property remains in place.
For residential transactions, EPC assessments should only be conducted in accordance with the government advice on moving home, the guidance confirms that:
“There is no need to pull out of transactions”, but compliance with the measures for self-isolating, shielding and social distancing is required.. Where the property being moved into is vacant, the parties may continue with the transaction, provided that they follow the government’s guidance. Where the property being moved into is currently occupied, the parties are encouraged to delay the move, if possible, until the lockdown measures are lifted. Critical home moves are exempt from the police emergency enforcement powers in the event that a new date cannot be agreed”.
EPC assessments should only be carried out if they can be conducted safely.
If a property is vacant, an EPC can be carried out. If a property is occupied, parties must endeavour to agree the transaction can be delayed so that an EPC assessment can proceed when lockdown measures are no longer in place. No assessments should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.
If you are thinking of marketing a property for sale or letting, you need to think about the practicalities of having an EPC prepared during this period of lockdown. EPCs need to be available to potential buyers or tenants as soon as you start to market the property for sale or to be let (with an ‘E’ rating or above to be let).
If it is not practicable under current circumstances to have an EPC prepared within the guidelines, you should seriously consider delaying marketing the property until that position changes.