190: Energy performance certificates during COVID-19
It is widely known that it is a legal requirement that a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be provided at the outset of a property transaction, be it to either sell or take a lease of premises. Further, that the EPC should have a minimum rating ‘E’ (unless the property falls within one of the permitted exemptions).
The current pandemic has not relinquished sellers and landlords from their requirement to obtain and provide an EPC, and the government has issued some guidance for obtaining EPCs whilst adhering to social distancing requirements. The advice applies to both residential and commercial premises:
- The parties must endeavour to agree that the transaction can be delayed so that the EPC assessment can be carried out, for such period until the lockdown restrictions are no longer in place.
- Assessments should not be carried out where persons occupying the premises in question are either displaying symptoms of Covid-19, are self-isolating, or self-shielding.
- Where the premises is unoccupied, an EPC assessor can enter the premises to carry out their assessment.
- Any individuals entering the premises to carry out an assessment should ensure that they are adhering to the social distancing guidelines.
This guidance is in keeping with the government guidance, urging parties to be flexible in both residential and commercial property transactions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.