The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012, known as the EPB Regulations, make it a legal requirement to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when a property is constructed, rented out or sold.
With the current ‘lockdown’ and social distancing rules in place, it may be wondered whether this legal requirement remains in force and how it can be complied with under current circumstances when you intend to sell or grant a lease of your property.
Guidance issued by the government confirms that the legal requirement to obtain a valid EPC before selling or letting a property remains in place, for both domestic and commercial premises. The position has not been relaxed due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Where a property remains vacant, it should be fairly straightforward to arrange for an EPC assessment to be carried out that complies with the social distancing guidelines.
However, where a domestic or commercial property is occupied, either by the owner or tenants, more consideration is required to ensure an EPC assessment is carried out in accordance with the social distancing guidelines and in a manner that is safe to all parties involved.
Government advice is that that any energy assessments should be conducted in accordance with the following:
- Government advice on staying alert and staying safe during this period
- Government advice on working safely during Covid-19
- Government advice on moving home during the Covid-19 outbreak
This may involve measures such as the occupiers of the property temporarily vacating the property whilst the assessment is carried out, ensuring the person carrying out the energy assessment wears a facemask and appropriate PPE, and wiping down any surfaces the energy assessors has been in contact with.
- Assessors communicating with households prior to any visits to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimise risk for all parties.
- No assessments should be carried out whilst an individual within the property is isolating with symptoms. Unless it is to remedy a direct risk to safety.
- Prior arrangements should be made to avoid any face-to-face contact where possible.
- In properties occupied by a tenant, landlords should consult with the tenants to ensure there is no one at the property showing symptoms, self-isolating, considered clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding.