Tag Archive: EPC

Estate Agent Jargon explained…

Estate agents, like many other professionals, are completely guilty of launching into explanations using all the terminology we are used to, and to us, it makes complete sense.

agent

Whilst we are always happy to explain the freely used ‘jargon’, if you are thinking of selling your property the following list of terms used, together with a brief explanation may help you be one step ahead…

 

Terms of Business

This is the contract that an estate agent will ask you to sign in order to formally set out the terms that they will act on. Among other important components, this contract will agree exactly what the agent will and won’t do and what the agent will expect from you. This must be signed by the owner(s) of the property.

 

Vendor

This is another word for seller.

 

Instruction

In summary, this is when you instruct us to start work on marketing your property for you and we are always delighted to hear these words!

 

Take On

This is what we call the visit we make to your house to note down all the information to allow us to prepare a brochure and take the photographs.

 

Particulars

Another name for the sales brochure. We prepare this carefully to present your property in the best light to the market.

 

EPC

We use this acronym because the full name is rather long. It stands for Energy Performance Certificate and every property, though there are some exemptions, requires one before it is marketed. It is a basic survey to determine the energy efficiency of your property. A good estate agent will be able to arrange this for you.

 

Tenure

This relates to whether you own the property and the land it is set upon (freehold – the majority of houses). Or, just the building, effectively renting the land long term (leasehold – the majority of flats). ** Please note there is a huge amount of detail surrounding this topic and we are always happy to answer questions or clarify matters where needed, on a case by case basis.

 

Sealed Bid

Often when there are several offers made on a property an Agent will sometimes suggest that every party is given the same opportunity to come forward with their ‘best and final’ offer. Usually the offers will be submitted together with proof of funds to enable you to make a decision on which offer is the strongest.

 

Chain

This is when your buyer is also selling a property and they need the sale of their property to complete to enable them to use the funds to purchase your property. This appears relatively straight forward until the buyer of your buyer’s property also needs to sell their property. The more people in this so called ‘chain’, the more transactions there are which could potentially slow down the process, or worse still, cause it to fall through completely.

 

Many people have never sold a property before, either that or it was a long time ago. Here at George F. White our mantra is that you don’t just pay us to sell your property but you also pay us to guide you through the process and we are always happy to answer questions even if you are yet to become our client. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and proactive team at one of our local offices:

Alnwick: 01665 603581
Barnard Castle: 01833 690390
Wolsingham: 01388 529579
Bedale: 01677 425301

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Changes: what you need to know and why

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Changes: what you need to know and why

This month, we are focusing on the changes in MEES legislation, which were effective from April 1 2018. Here, our Residential Lettings Consultant, Simon Harrison and Senior Project Manager, Rob Hamilton answer some key questions…

MEES

In a nutshell, what’s changing?

“It’s now law to ensure a property that’s let out, for residential or commercial use, must meet a Minimum Efficiency Standard,” explains Simon. “A sub-standard property is one that fails to meet an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E.”

“EPCs have always come with a list of recommendations to help you improve the energy efficiency of your property.” adds Rob. “Until now, there has been no policy to enforce these changes, meaning the EPC was only advisory. However, this is no more. The new MEES regulations mean landlords will be unable to let out a property, or renew an existing tenancy or lease, if the property fails to meet the E rating. Those landlords with properties with an F or G rating will have to carry out improvement works, benefiting the property’s utility costs, the tenant, and the environment.”

How does this affect landlords of residential and commercial property?

“It affects them quite seriously,” says Rob. “A tenanted property cannot be lawfully re-let to new or existing tenants until sufficient measures are taken to improve the performance of the building to an EPC rating E or above. There are instances when the building may be exempt from these regulations; such as if the building is listed, or a temporary structure, but it is always best to check with a qualified assessor.”

“If a landlord does let out a home or business premise that is rated below the minimum standard,” explains Simon, “Then they will face civil and criminal charges for signing a new tenancy or renewing an existing one. Given that one in 10 privately rented properties currently fail to meet the new efficiency rules it’s important that landlords seek advice and are guided through the changes so that it doesn’t negatively impact their investments.”

Putting yourself in the shoes of a North East landlord, what would you be doing now?

“I would be definitely checking my current EPC to make sure it is E rated or above and speaking to my current letting agent to find out how they can help and support me through this change, in the best way for my interests,” said Simon. “Yes, I agree,” states Rob. “I would initially be checking that I have current EPCs available for all of my properties; EPCs are valid for 10 years from issue. You are then able to highlight which of your properties may be affected. In fact, in many cases, ensuring that the original information that was used to carry out the assessment was accurate, can bring the EPC rating up without having to carry out any remedial works to the property.”

If I was a landlord that hadn’t thought about this issue or looked into it, what would you suggest I do as a priority?

“I’d probably speak to a local ARLA letting agent to seek guidance on what I should be doing to ensure that I don’t accidentally fall foul of the new legislation,” explains Simon. “Yes, that’s right, I would contact a qualified property consultant or perhaps an EPC assessor to fully understand my obligations under the new ruling,” said Rob. “Penalties for non-compliance range up to a maximum of £150,000, which is pretty huge, so it’s essential that your property is let in line with the new regulations.”

On the whole, what’s the current situation like with landlords you’re working with about the changes? Are they quite prepared or are you having to do lots of work with them?

It’s quite worrying, actually, the number of commercial landlords that are not aware that these regulations are being introduced,” expresses Rob, frankly. “George F. White is working with landlords across residential and commercial sectors about the new law, so we’re really well placed to assist landlords in ensuring their compliance, whether that’s carrying out new EPCs, scrutinising their existing EPC, or consulting on necessary remedial works.”

“On the residential side,” explains Simon, “We’ve been speaking to all landlords who are at risk of flouting the new laws and, working very closely and transparently with them, we have developed a tailored plan specific to their portfolio and investments. This has involved either organising a new EPC, arranging a Green Deal Assessor visit, or registering exemptions where applicable. Now really is the time to switch focus to the new energy efficiency laws and ensure you’re not doing anything illegal that can result in a hefty fine.”

If you’d like to discuss this further with Simon or Rob, please do contact them on the details below or visit our EPC information page:

Simon Harrison
Rob Hamilton

Commercial Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

George F. White are offering a service to help achieve regulatory compliance (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES)  in regards to your Commercial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). You may be aware of these regulations but may not be aware of the implications or indeed the potential interventions you can make to ensure the ongoing viability of your property as a rental asset.

EPC MEES

What are Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)?

The Energy Efficiency (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, or MEES, is part of a drive to improve the energy efficiency of privately rented residential, commercial and industrial buildings across the UK.

Building Regulations will ensure that any new properties constructed meet current standards however, the MEES ensure that older, poorer performing buildings are improved. MEES apply to properties with an EPC rating below an F or G.

 

How are MEES being Introduced?

The regulations are being introduced in a staged approach to ease the transition for private landlords. It is important to consider that the EPC threshold is likely to rise in future.

 

From April 2018:

Domestic and non-domestic buildings that do not meet the minimum requirements cannot be lawfully re-let to new or existing tenants. Sufficient measures will improve the performance of the building to an EPC rating E or above.

 

From April 2023:

Landlords must not continue to let a non-domestic property holding an EPC rating of below an E.

 

Penalties for Non-Compliance…

Penalties for non-compliance in the form of financial penalties are based upon the rateable value (RV) of the property.

The enforcement authority may also publicise the breach through various media platforms.

 

Time Period

Penalty

Less than 3 Months up to 10% of the RV of the property or £5,000 (whichever is the greater) up to a maximum of £50,000
Beyond 3 Months up to 20% of the RV of the property or £10,000 (whichever is the greater) up to a maximum of £150,000

Exemptions and Exclusions 

Buildings are exempt for a number of reasons including not being required to hold an EPC  in addition too a lease term less than 6 months or a lease term in excess of 99 years.

Landlords are exempt from mandatory improvements if:

▪ An independent assessor shows that energy improvements will not payback within 7 years;
▪ The landlord is unable to gain third party consent either from tenants, superior landlords or where planning permission is required from the local planning authority;
▪ If the market value of the property will reduce by more than 5% as assessed by an independent assessor.

Exemptions can be registered with the PRS Exemptions Register and if agreed will only last for 5 years.

 

Please note that you have 6 months to improve your EPC rating to at least an E in addition to considering future improvements.

 

Contact our experts today for advice.

Andrew Rollo07545920905
Robert Hamilton07885 556849

What is an EPC and why do we need them?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) graph looks quite similar to energy labels provided on many household appliances.

The purpose of the certificate is to indicate the energy efficiency of a building. The Housing Act 2004 is the UKs legislation relating to EPCs and introduced the EPC to England and Wales in August 2007. This was initially as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) which were later abolished.

An EPC is required for all properties that are marketed for sale or to let across the whole of the UK although there are some exemptions, for example:

  • Listed buildings
  • Temporary buildings with a planned use time of 2 years or less
  • Residential buildings that are intended to be used for less than 1/3 of the year
  • Standalone buildings with a floor area of less than 50m²
  • If the owner can demonstrate that the building is suitable for demolition or redevelopment.*

The above list is not exhaustive.

A rating of between A-G is provided on a certificate with A being the most efficient, meaning fuel bills for the building are likely to be lower.

An energy survey will look at the how the building has been constructed (its fabrication) and its services (heating, ventilation and lighting) and from this survey an asset rating is calculated which reflects the age and condition of the building. It also states what the related carbon dioxide emissions for the property are.

The intention of an EPC is to provide prospective buyers and tenants of a building with a guide to how efficient it will be and practical advice to increase the energy performance of the property. It enables buyers to compare the ratings of properties across the UK.

The EPC includes recommendations to help owners and occupiers to improve the efficiency of the property. The majority of these suggestions are cost effective solutions however in some cases more depth is provided and suggestions go on to outline more expensive ideas. However, there is no statutory requirement for buyers or tenants to carry out these recommendations.
It is common for period properties to have a low rating but often the current and potential rating is more for information only for buyers on what can be done, if anything. Buyers do not put much importance on rating if they want a period property and if the rating is important to them they will often prefer new homes.

On the 1st April 2016 a new minimum standard for properties rented out in the private sector was introduced. From the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for new lets and renewal of properties rented out in the private sector to have a minimum energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ on an EPC. From 1st April 2020 the minimum standard of energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ on an EPC will apply to all existing tenancies therefore it will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum ‘E’ rating, unless there is applicable exemption.

The Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years providing no significant work has been carried out to the property. You can check whether there is an existing EPC for your property by visiting www.epcregister.com.

If you are thinking about selling or letting your property, George F. White are on hand to advise you with regard to Energy Performance Certificates. Please feel free to contact your local team with any questions you may have:

Gemma Miller – Alnwick, Northumberland – 01665 603581
Lindsay French – Wolsingham, County Durham – 01388 529579
Victoria Linsley – Barnard Castle, County Durham – 01833 690390
Sheryl Sowden – Bedale, North Yorkshire – 01677 425301

*Details available from an appropriately qualified agent.

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