Time to make commercial agents accountable?

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As a qualified energy assessor I have a vested interest in the enforcement of the law in relation to the provision of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) on commercial properties. To be honest they are viewed by the market as a pain and something that has to be provided but only under sufferance!

Currently, only owners bear the responsibility for commercial EPCs, with agents carrying no responsibility, other than to inform owners that one is required (which they do to cover themselves). But owners only tend to provide them as and when a deal is agreed – not really within the law and not helpful in getting EPC’s properly adopted! Or providing me with work!

However, help is at hand! The CLG (Communities and Local Government) are finally proposing that from July 2011 agents will become responsible for both domestic and commercialΒ  EPCs (they are already responsible on residential properties).

Under the terms of this new proposal, agents will finally become responsible for commercial property EPC’s and will be required to meet the regulatory and compliance standards as set out in the current legislation (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2002). This means that the certificate should be available at the point of marketing the property. The requirement for an upfront EPC is in anticipation of the recast EPBD which will introduce EPC ratings with adverts in 2013 (if not before).

My institute the RICS (under whom I qualified as an assessor) are apparently in discussions with both the CLG and DECC to “ensure that practical steps are taken to ensure that agents are in a position to provide this information”.

I am not sure what the ‘issue’ is – all agents have to do is comply with the law as it stands at the moment and they will not even notice the change!

EPC anyone?


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