Don’t get caught out by Energy Performance!

Are you a commercial landlord or do you own commercial property? Do you know if all of your properties comply with the Energy Performance regulations?

Energy Performance Certificates (“EPCs”) were introduced in 2009 and have continued to be a source of confusion. Understanding the EPC regime was further complicated by the recent introduction of additional regulations, which came into force on 1 October 2012 and 9 January 2013.

Many properties fall foul of the regulations and the requirement to obtain or display an EPC is often overlooked; but with the penalty for non-compliance being a fine of £1,000 for each breach, can you afford to ignore it?

Most commercial properties in Scotland over 500 square metres require to have an EPC when sold, let, constructed, or advertised for sale or rent. In certain circumstances, an EPC is also required when a property is modified or renovated.

Some properties are required to have an EPC on display in a prominent position at all times, depending upon the identity of the tenant or occupier and the frequency by which the building is open to the public.

The changes introduced by the 2012 Regulations also mean that energy performance ratings must now be included in all property advertising particulars. The production of an EPC after the transaction has taken place or once a buyer or tenant has been found is no longer sufficient.

For more information on how to comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings regulations or the changes brought in by the recent legislation, click here to read our expanded summary.

If you would like further information or advice, please contact Michael Dewar or Lynn Simpson

Goodbye Old Friend

Regulators don’t get a great Press and the Office of Fair Trading has had its fair share of brickbats down the years. The OFT’s tripartite role in enforcing competition law, enforcing consumer protection legislation and monitoring and licensing consumer credit was, in anyone’s eyes, quite a remit. Personally, over more years than I care to remember I found the OFT staff I dealt with to be extremely helpful. Similarly, their body of published guidance on many complex matters has proved very useful.

Certainly I, for one, did not regard the OFT as ‘broke’, or in drastic need of being ‘fixed’. However,  it was closed on 31 March. So who should we all now be looking to for guidance and regulation? Take a deep breath…

  • Since April 2012, the Citizens Advice consumer service has assumed the old OFT Consumer Direct service role of advising consumers and sharing the information gleaned with various UK enforcement authorities.
  • In April 2013, Trading Standards took on powers to enforce consumer protection law at a national level. They are likely to be busy with new consumer legislation taking effect in June this year being followed by a new Act in the Autumn or Winter consolidating and extending consumer protection law.
  • OFT responsibility for licensing and enforcement of the consumer credit regime moved to the Financial Conduct Authority in April 2014
  • Meanwhile, the new (in 2013) Competition and Markets Authority has taken on not only the work of the old Competition Commission, but also certain competition and consumer functions of the OFT.

Simples eh?

Of course, we should give all these regulatory authorities a fair trial but am I alone in wondering where all that stuff about reducing red tape got to?