Law News

Government Opens Energy Performance Certificate for Buildings Call for Evidence

Em Morley - July 30, 2018

A new consultation into Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) has now been launched by the Government.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published its Call for Evidence: Energy Performance Certificates for Buildings last week. The summary for the open consultation states: “We’re seeking evidence on how EPCs are currently performing, and feedback on suggestions for improvement.”

The aim is to gather responses from sales and letting agents, in regards to the quality of EPCs and whether there is encouragement to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

The consultation also outlines suggestions for improvements. The Government would like to hear from building owners and occupiers in both domestic and non-domestic sectors, estate agents, and others involved in the sale or lease of buildings. They would also like to hear from EPC assessors, accreditation bodies, software providers, enforcement bodies, and anyone else who regularly uses EPCs.

The Ministerial Foreword for the consultation document has been supplied by Kit Malthouse, the new Housing Minister, and Claire Perry, the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The foreword states: “In April 2018 legislation came into force which for the first time requires residential and commercial landlords to improve the energy performance of buildings they let to a minimum standard based on EPC ratings.

“EPCs are already giving people the information they need on the energy performance of buildings, allowing consumers to make informed purchase and rental decisions and providing building owners with recommendations for improving their properties. At the same time EPCs provide a wealth of data on the performance of the country’s building stock, which is being used by researchers, government, and lenders to gain new insights into buildings and develop new products and services.

“EPCs have the potential to do even more. New sources of data and information, including from smart meters, could allow EPCs to more accurately reflect energy performance, whilst other changes could help make EPCs and the data underpinning them more accessible to people. EPC ratings could also underpin an evolving market in ‘green mortgages’ and other green finance products, allowing people to benefit financially from better performing properties.

“The government is therefore launching a Call for Evidence, to gain a more detailed understanding of how EPCs are currently performing and to gather feedback on suggestions for ways they might be further improved, extended or streamlined.”

New rules regarding Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into effect recently. As of 1st April this year, it is now illegal to grant a new lease (even to existing tenants) on a domestic or commercial property with an EPC rating below E. As of April 2020, this will apply to all tenancies.

The consultation is now open for responses and is due to close at 11.45pm on 19th October 2018.