When it comes to EPC’s, people have gone back and forth for years over whether listed buildings are subject to the same regulations as standard properties . It’s a story of ambiguity and poorly worded legislation, and we’re getting to the bottom of it with the help of our friends over at London EPC.
When does a building need an EPC?
If you’re selling a building in the UK, it must have an EPC.
If you’re letting a property in the UK, it not only requires an EPC, but an EPC with a rating of at least an E. That means that no property being let in the UK should be graded at an F or G efficiency. This is part of a piece of legislation called MEES and it’s pretty serious business.
There are some exceptions to these rules, though. The MEES letting laws allow for several kinds of exemption, while the requirement for all properties on sale to have an EPC also has a point of leniency. The difficulty comes in interpreting the legislation.
Why is it different for listed buildings?
There are a several defined scenarios which absolve a building from requiring an EPC, including this:
Listed or officially protected buildings where the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it
The problem has always been that sentence. Unless you have an EPC carried out, you wouldn’t know or be able to prove if the property meets the minimum E requirement from MEES or what works would be needed to get it there. How can we judge that the works are ‘unacceptable’ if we don’t know what works we need?
You’d therefore need an EPC in order to establish to the appropriate authorities that you don’t need an EPC. Yes, it’s that stupid.
I’m so confused
That’s fair, it’s kind of absurd.
So… does a listed building need an EPC or not????
The recent MEES legislation has really helped clear this up, at least in regard to letting. Regardless of the grading or whether it’s domestic or commercial, if you’re a landlord letting out a listed property, you need an EPC. This is extremely important as the potential fines are pretty steep. 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.
As for selling…. there’s still ambiguity due to this clause. If you’re selling a listed property, our advice is to get an EPC done regardless. The problems with the wording in the legislation are generally thought to be unintentional, meaning that sooner or later it will be amended to make logical sense.
To be honest, having an EPC is a good idea for any building in general. They cost around the £50-100 mark, depending on the size and nature of the property – but it can save you a whole lot more than that. The recommendations given by the EPC for increasing your efficiency may not be nearly as problematic for your graded property as you expect, and could cut your bills significantly.