HIPs – The Current Position
In an attempt to reduce the cost of moving house, on 21st May 2010 the duty to supply a Home Information Pack when selling your home was suspended. This means that properties entering the housing market on or after this date no longer require Home Information Packs (HIPs). HIPs are due to be abolished altogether in the near future.
EPCs – Still Necessary
Despite this suspension, it is still necessary for sellers to provide buyers with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). However, although you need to have commissioned the EPC, you do not necessarily need to have received it before marketing can start. This means that a seller, or a person acting on their behalf, such as an Estate Agent, must have instructed an accredited Energy Assessor to carry out an independent energy performance assessment before a home can be marketed for sale. The EPC must be provided to potential buyers at the earliest opportunity and no later than exchange of contracts. The Seller and Estate Agent must use all reasonable efforts to ensure that the EPC is available within 28 days of the property being put on the market. Once an EPC has been obtained, there is a duty to add energy information to the written marketing particulars.
Consequences of failing to provide an EPC
Since 1st October 2008, the responsibility for providing an ECP falls onto the Seller. There is a fixed penalty fine of £200 for not providing an EPC and further penalties exist for not complying with the duty to have at least commissioned an EPC before marketing begins and failing to include energy information in written particulars. It is therefore important that you check with your Estate Agent that these things are being done!
Properties that entered the market prior to the suspension
Do not worry if your home is still on the market with a HIP. As HIPs include the EPC, you are under no duty to provide a separate certificate. There is no reason why a buyer can not still rely on the documents contained in an existing HIP, so long as it was produced in compliance with the previous HIP regulations. However, you will need to renew the searches on your property.
Furthermore, all EPCs are valid for 10 years from the date they are prepared, therefore it is also possible to reuse an EPC that you received in a HIP when you come to sell your home, if it is less than 10 years old. It is also possible to obtain a copy of your EPC from the person who prepared your HIP.
Even if you are selling your house privately to friends and family members, you are still under a duty to provide an EPC and can be subjected to a fine if you fail to do so.
There is also a duty to supply an EPC when selling or renting non-domestic buildings, with the exception of buildings used primarily or solely for the purpose of worship, temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less, industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand and stand-alone buildings which are not dwellings and have a total useful floor area of 50m2 or less.
Furthermore, for those buildings with a total useful floor area over 1,000m2 occupied by public authorities and by institutions providing public services to a large number of persons and therefore frequently visited by those persons, occupiers must display a valid display energy certificate in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and hold in their possession at all times a valid advisory report.
A display energy certificate is valid for 12 months and is issued by an Energy Assessor who is accredited to produce display energy certificates for that category of building.
A valid advisory report is valid for 7 years from the date it was issued.
The legislation on all EPCs can be found in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (as amended by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010).
We are happy to commission an ECP for you. Please contact us for details.
This article has been written for general knowledge purposes only and is not intended to be used as any form of advice. If you wish to make further enquiries regarding this article or seek independent advice, please contact us.