Today is the day that the regulations regarding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) come into force.
If you are a landlord you now need to provide an EPC (or a copy of one) to everyone who asks for particulars of your properties, and/or all who view your properties, or at the very latest, by the time the tenancy agreement is signed.
If you are a prospective tenant, you should make sure your landlord gives you an EPC as soon as possible. In todays world of increasing energy prices, gas and electricity bills will be an important part of your outgoings. Properties which are energy efficient could save you a lot of money. It may even be cost effective to pay a bit more rent for them.
But what if the landlord refuses to give it to you, and just laughs at you for asking? Well he does not have to give you one if he thinks that you are not serious about renting the property, or if he has made his mind up not to rent to you (perhaps because he thinks you are a trouble maker for asking for an EPC …).
However if you think he is deliberately flouting the law, you can complain about him to your local Trading Standards Office. They will then contact the landlord, and if they think he is breaking the law they can serve a penalty charge notice, which carries a fine of £200. No doubt once this has happened to a landlord once, he will take care to see it does not happen again!
However there are a few defences available to landlords. One is if they have ordered an EPC at least 14 days ago and despite chasing it up, have not received it yet. The other is if the tenant is so desperate for accommodation that he cannot wait for an EPC to be obtained, provided the landlord serves it on him at the first opportunity.
The general hope, is that having to obtain and serve EPCs in relation to rented property will highlight their efficiency or otherwise (mostly otherwise I suspect for the majority of properties) in their use of energy. Hopefully this will prompt more landlords to do something about it, to make their property more attractive to tenants. Or that tenants will demand that something is done about their expensive to heat properties. Thus helping to improve the carbon footprint of the nation.
Lets hope it does. For more information about energy saving in general see the Energy Savings Trust web-site.