EPC

A valid EPC and Recommendation Report must be made available free of charge by the seller or landlord to a prospective buyer or tenant when non-dwellings are sold or let. This must be at the earliest opportunity and no later than:

  • 28 days after the property has been marketed
  • when any written information about the building is provided in response to a request for information received from the prospective buyer or tenant
  • when a viewing is conducted

Except for specific circumstances, all properties require an Energy Performance Certificate prior to bringing to the market either For Sale or To Let. You can be fined between £500 and £5,000 based on the Rateable Value of the building if you don’t make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant.

You may also be required to display an EPC by fixing it to your commercial building if all these apply:

  • the total useful floor area is over 500 sq.m
  • the building is frequently visited by the public
  • an EPC has already been produced for the building’s sale, rental or construction

EXEMPTIONS

You don’t need an EPC if you can demonstrate that the building is any of these:

  • Listed or officially protected and the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it.
  • a temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less
  • used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
  • an industrial site, workshop or non-residential agricultural building that doesn’t use much energy
  • a detached building with a total floor space under 50 sq.m
  • due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents.

VACANT BUILDINGS AND DEMOLITION

A building is also exempt if all of the following are true:

  • it’s due to be sold or rented out with vacant possession
  • it’s suitable for demolition and the site could be redeveloped
  • the buyer or tenant has applied for planning permission to demolish it

Associated costs in procuring an EPC are chargeable direct to you and are separate to other costs and fees set out.

We require you to commission or provide an EPC prior to marketing. It is your responsibility to ensure an EPC can be made available to an interested party and we, as agents, have to satisfy ourselves that an Energy Performance Certificate is either available or has been commissioned before we start marketing on behalf of the seller or landlord.

MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS (MEES)

Government has issued guidance to Landlords setting out minimum energy efficiency standards for business premises to be let out. Further guidance can be found:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance

In summary, when leasing out a subject property it is required to meet a minimum assessment standard of E or better (with some exceptions as set out within the guidance) with fines enforceable of up to £5,000.

In the event your property does not meet the minimum required standards you are not allowed to lease the premises out or transact until necessary upgrade works are carried out and the property is reassessed or an exemption certificate is secured. There is currently a cap to improvement works of £3,500 beyond which an ‘all improvements made’ exemption can be secured.

If standards are below E, Keppie Massie will require either provision of suitable exemption certificates or necessary works to be carried out prior to facilitating a letting.

On sale transactions we also recommend appropriate remedies are considered as a poor EPC assessment can have a detrimental impact upon sourcing finance arrangements and thus the time taken to sell and the end realised price.

The Property Misdescriptions Act 1991

Under the property Misdescriptions Act 1991 it is a criminal offence for an agent to make inaccurate or misleading statements about property whether in sale particulars, adverts, photographs or verbal statement. This includes making statements that might give the wrong impression about a property and includes omitting facts. You will be asked to verify certain information and must assist to the best of your knowledge.

You will ensure that you advise us of all material facts relevant to us acting as agent and that all information provided by you and/or your professional advisers is and remains complete, accurate and not misleading, for example:

  • You will inform us of any unusual or onerous encumbrances, restrictions, easements or conditions attaching to the property; and
  • You will inform us if the property does not comply with all relevant statutory requirements or if the property has not been constructed or is occupied in contravention of or is to be sold or let without valid planning permissions and building regulation and all other approvals required by regulation; and
  • You will check all marketing materials and promptly notify us if any part of those materials is or becomes incomplete, inaccurate or misleading. You will be responsible for any additional costs incurred subsequently by us to ensure that the circulation of incomplete, inaccurate or misleading information is rectified, whether by the reissue of amended marketing materials or otherwise.
CODE OF LEASING PREMISES

In accordance with RICS regulations, Keppie Massie are guided by the Code for Leasing Business Premises. Please refer to the following link for more information:

https://www.rics.org/globalassets/code-for-leasing_ps-version_feb-2020.pdf

The code sets out guidance and best practice to improve the quality and fairness of negotiations on lease terms and to promote the issue of comprehensive Heads of Terms that should make the legal drafting process more efficient.