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Vacant properties need EPCs for sale or rent

28 January 2009

An estimated 90% of all commercial property owners still haven’t taken steps to get their energy performance certificate and cannot legally be sold or rented.

Most of the 90,000 shops which are expected to be vacant by the end of February will not legally be allowed to be sold or rented unless commercial property owners and insolvency professionals act very quickly on new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) legislation which became a legal requirement on 4th January, according to independent specialist environmental consultancy Envos.

The legislation requires all commercial property owners to obtain an EPC before the property can be marketed for sale or letting, but Envos warns that 90% of the commercial properties owned by the people it has spoken to still don’t have an EPC and aren’t in the process of getting one, which equates to a staggering 1.6 million commercial properties across the country2.

Wade Barker, Managing Director of Envos, said: “There are still far too many commercial property owners who are unaware of what an EPC is and how they get one. They are risking Government fines by not getting one, and with the recent spate of vacant retail outlets set to grow to 135,000 outlets by the end of the year1 we expect there will be a huge backlog of properties needing certification in a rush, and a huge amount of fines being doled out to those who don’t comply.”

The recent attack of retail insolvencies has included Woolworths, which has closed the last of its 800 stores, MFI and Roseby’s, and even Marks & Spencer has announced it plans to close 27 stores.

Envos is also warning that failure to comply with the legislation and act on EPC information risks damaging the market value and rental yield of the property. Wade Barker continues: "Property owners need to get their EPC as soon as they can, so that they can get on with the important business of making commercial properties more energy-efficient and reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings. UK businesses are haemorrhaging almost £7 million a day due to poor energy-efficiency, and in this tough economic climate, energy saving could be extremely financially rewarding for them.”

The Communities and Local Government’s (CLG) decision to introduce transitional arrangements for implementing the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive effectively extended the deadline from October 1st 2008 until January 4th 2009, and was seen by many including Envos as an admission that there weren’t enough qualified assessors to undertake the surveys.

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