Energy performance certificates (EPCs) promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings and form part of the final implementation in England and Wales of the European Directive 2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings.

An EPC has been required for the sale or let of all properties since 1st October 2008.

The EPC, along with its accompanying recommendation report, must be made available for the property, free of charge, to a prospective buyer or tenant from the 1st October 2008, at the earliest opportunity and in any event:

  • when written information about the building is first provided as a result of a request by a prospective purchaser
  • when the building is viewed

In any event an EPC must be obtained before a contract to sell or let is entered into.

It is not placing a property on the market that defines the point at which an EPC must be made available, but any of the circumstances listed above.

A seller or landlord should order an EPC from a person who can provide an EPC for the category of building in question in good time and at least 14 days before it is required to avoid any penalty charges. Therefore if your property is on the market and you expect to have viewings, provide written information or to exchange contracts, you should consider obtaining an EPC as soon as possible.

It is not obligatory to include the EPC graphs in the written / electronic property details. However, it would be good practice to include them.

The seller or landlord is the ‘relevant person’ under EPC legislation and is responsible for making the EPC available. The seller or landlord, not the agent, is liable to a penalty charge if the EPC is not made available. It would be good practice, however, for any agent offering a property for sale or let on a seller’s or landlord’s behalf to inform the seller or landlord of the legal obligation and to recommend that an EPC is obtained as soon as possible.