To clarify a couple of issues, we contacted Phil Beschizza of the government department in order to clarify a few of our queries; I have listed the main points below and attempted to translate a few of them into plain English!
1. Can the EPC be re-sized and provided in an A5 format?
Answer: The EPC can be reproduced in a smaller size provided it is still legible and meets any other legal obligations, such as the Equality Act 2010.
Translation: Yes you can use a JPEG image of the Front page of the EPC as long as it hasn’t been altered and people are able to read it clearly.
2. Will the use of Quick Response codes in property brochures meet the requirement to attach a copy of the first page of the EPC to written property details?
Answer: We do not consider that providing a copy of an EPC solely by way of a Quick Response code in a property brochure would meet the requirement to attach a copy of the first page of the EPC to written particulars for prospective buyers or tenants. It is important to recognise that the person giving the written particulars must ensure that a copy of the EPC has been provided in readable form to all prospective buyers and tenants.
Translation: You cannot put a URL link to the EPC on a set of printed particulars, you have to be aware and take in to account that the person receiving them may not have access to the internet.
3. Do newspaper adverts or window cards for property lets’ meet the definition of written particulars?
Answer: No. The requirement to attach a copy of the front page of the EPC to written particulars is where an agent provides written particulars to a person (i.e. a specific individual) who may be interested in buying or renting the building. This implies that a copy of the front page of the EPC does not need to be attached to ‘advertising material’, i.e. a newspaper or window card.
4. Do the regulations apply to all property adverts?
Answer: No. Only the more detailed descriptions (referred to as written particulars) produced for potential buyers or tenants as defined by the Regulations. In essence this is where an agent provides written particulars to a person (i.e. a specific individual) who may be interested in buying or renting the building.
Translation for 3 & 4: No need to attach the EPC front page to Property lists, Window Cards or Newspaper Adverts as these are classed as advertising material and not a set of written particulars being given to a specific person interested in buying or renting a specific building.
5. Can ‘first day marketing’ occur if the EPC is not available?
Answer: There is nothing in the amended provisions which would prevent ‘first day marketing’ within the first 7 days if an EPC has not been made available. The amended provisions require that an EPC is commissioned before the building is marketed. An EPC is not required to be available before or at the point that a property is marketed.
Translation: As long as you have commissioned an EPC before you advertise the property you are fine. You don’t need to have one available on the first day of marketing.
6. It is unreasonable to reduce the period in which the EPC is expected to be obtained from 28 days to seven days?
Answer: Evidence shows that most EPCs are obtained within three days so this should not be a challenge in most cases. A further 21 days is allowed if after using all reasonable efforts the EPC cannot be obtained within seven days.
Translation: The government thinks EPC’s can easily be obtained within a week so see no reason to keep the 28 day cut off. There is a buffer of 21 further days if you can prove you have exhausted all regular lengths to obtain the EPC.
7. Who will be liable for the penalty charge?
Answer: If the relevant person or a person acting on their behalf has not obtained an EPC after the 28 day period they may be liable for a penalty charge.
Translation: If you, as an agent, have said you will obtain the EPC for your client and fail to do so, you will probably get a fine.
8. Does the whole EPC have to be attached to the written particulars?
Answer: No only a copy of the first page.
Translation: Does what it says on the tin
9. Can the address be removed from the domestic EPC?
Answer: No, the Regulations do not permit this. Following discussions with property agents representatives it was agreed there was no requirement to extend this service to domestic sales and rentals.
Translation: The government has “discussed” this with Estate Agents who have all agreed that you cannot remove the address of a property from a residential EPC. Who spoke with the government then??