18/03/2010

Property Owners Warned About EPCs

A campaign is underway to raise awareness among property owners and buyers about their legal obligations to hold an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

An EPC is an indicator of how energy efficient your property is. It uses the A-G scale, similar to that marked on household appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

A is the highest rating and the higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the property is.

Under new legislation, anyone selling, renting or building a property must have an EPC - failure to do so can potentially result in a £200 fine for a domestic property or £500-£5,000 fine for other properties.

Donal Rogan, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Building Control Executive, said: "The legislation has been in place for some time now but at the moment we are simply wanting to raise awareness rather than go out and issue fines – although that may of course happen in the longer term.

"An EPC costs around £100 and can only be issued by a registered assessor, but you can shop around to ensure you are getting a competitive price.
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Northern Ireland's 26 district councils have been given regulatory powers to enforce this new legislation, with Belfast City Council employing a dedicated team to take the lead on behalf of all the councils. This is on the basis of a one year pilot programme so as councils can maximise compliance levels through promotion and awareness-raising activities.

The legislation requires that before you put your property on the market, you are legally obliged to have it checked by a registered assessor who will provide you with an EPC, to be made available to potential buyers.

Along with your EPC, you’ll get a report detailing some changes you could make to improve the energy-efficiency of your property, as well as how much this work is likely to cost.

You are not obliged to make any of the changes, however making your property more energy-efficient can result in long term savings on energy bills, for example, and there is also the added incentive of boosting the potential value of your property.

Liam Dornan, Chairman of the RICS Building Control Professional Group, added: "Many people who are buying/selling their property through estate agents may already be aware of the EPC legislation.

"But the aim of this campaign is to raise greater awareness, particularly among the rented sector, in regards to both domestic and non-domestic properties. Landlords do have a legal obligation to hold an EPC for their property."

(NS/BMcC)

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