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Government’s recent changes to Energy Performance Certificates could catch many businesses out Warns Jones Lang LaSalle

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - changes to Energy Performance Certificates could catch many businesses outThe commercial property industry must take heed of the new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rules which have been brought into force by the government earlier this month (9 January 2013) however Jones Lang LaSalle warns these changes may have gone unnoticed by many affected businesses. In particular, the property firm warns that the change to the requirements relating to the display of EPCs in certain commercial buildings over 500 square metres that are frequently visited by the public could catch out occupiers not aware of this new obligation.

Phil Overend, Associate Director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Leeds office, said: “The government’s changes to EPCs are very important to the property industry especially as they place new requirements on occupiers of commercial buildings.  

“EPCs, where they have been previously issued, must now be clearly displayed in a large number of commercial buildings frequented by the public including retail and leisure premises.  It is the tenant, not the landlord’s, responsibility to ensure this happens for their occupied space and this change to the law and lack of awareness could mean businesses such as shops, bars and restaurants get caught out.  Landlords may however face similar obligations for a building’s common areas under their control. Ultimately, businesses could be fined for non-compliance.”

Jones Lang LaSalle highlights that there are further sustainability changes in the pipeline from the government, as of 2018, it will be unlawful to let a building with an EPC below a minimum standard – currently expected to be an ‘E’.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, regulation is only going to become tighter with time and property investors will need to pay increasing attention to the overall sustainability profile of any building.
Phil added: “Newly built property should remain insulated from these changes for the time being. For a swathe of existing stock, the location and demand profile may justify the required investment. In other locations, where demand is already looking vulnerable, the problems are far more difficult to solve.

“Capital values could fall on inefficient buildings as we near 2018 and clearly, it will be difficult to raise finance for capital expenditure on assets for which future income growth is uncertain.”
According to Jones Lang LaSalle a change of use of existing premises to other uses is a feasible solution, but only for property in the right location and with the right building; it is not a panacea. Moreover, those alternative uses will also be subject to sustainability criteria.

Phil concluded ‘We strongly advise all commercial property owners and occupiers to review their portfolios now and consider the risks and opportunities for their assets. First and foremost, it is essential to know the current EPC rating of your building. You can then consider options to improve the energy rating and minimise future problems.”

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 26th January 2013 (updated 28/01/2013)

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