A revamped EPC is being worked on by government advisers and is set to be implemented early next year.
The revamp will follow a raft of changes due to be implemented in two stages, on July 1 and October 1.
If the October 1 proposed change goes through, it should mean agents not having to print forests of extra pages as had been feared.
The October 1 proposal is that the full EPC – not just the ratings – will have to be printed and attached to all particulars. However, all the associated recommendations will not have to be attached. This would mean that agents would have to add one more double-sided A4 page to their particulars.
There is likely to be one crucial change. Denis Purshouse, senior civil servant at CLG who advises on housing matters, said that for the purpose of EPCs attached to property particulars, the address of the property will not be included.
He said: “There has been some concern about this. For example, where business premises are for sale, owners often want confidentiality. The same desire for confidentiality can also apply to owners of residential properties. So, it is proposed that the EPC that will be attached to particulars will not have to include the address.”
But this, and changes due to be implemented on July 1, are all subject to regulations that have not yet been laid before Parliament.
The July 1 changes include making the agent responsible for the EPC, where an agent is responsible for the marketing; ordering the EPC before marketing starts and being able to provide proof of this; and obtaining the EPC within seven days.
But Purshouse said that further changes are likely. Whilst he would have liked to see these come in this October, he said early next year was more likely, and these changes will include a revamp of the EPC.
Proposals include an impact assessment, with an estimate of the likely costs involved, plus a summary of the recommendations. These would be part of the EPC attached to particulars.
Ministers apparently believe that this information should be flagged up at the start of the marketing process, so that prospective buyers and tenants are informed and can make comparisons.
Another important proposal is that the revamped EPC will include information as to whether the property has received Green Deal finance.
If so, this will appear as a legal charge on the property. Again, ministers are said to want to ensure that potential buyers and tenants are aware of this early on, since the basis of Green Deal finance means no up-front capital costs but repayments in the form of higher utility charges for users.
For estate agents, this Green Deal ‘charge’ on the property will pose marketing headaches in the future: would this negatively affect the saleability or rentability of the home in the shorter term?
What is clear is that all these changes are only the start because next year it is likely that under the recast EU Energy Performance in Buildings directive, much more EPC information will be required in all media advertising.
One expert commentator said: “I do not for a moment think that the estate agency industry, (regardless of how inconvenient or costly the required measures may be for us), will be able to withstand the inexorable rise of the energy efficiency agenda for residential property.”
An RICS spokeswoman said: “RICS continues to have concerns around the extent of enforcement of the provisions, and the need to ensure that all parties comply with the new requirements.
“The requirement for particulars to include the full EPC is still subject to consultation and discussion, and RICS has pointed out the practical difficulties and cost implications of compliance if the provisions are introduced as originally suggested.
“It is for this reason that CLG has indicated an intention to delay the implementation of this particular aspect of the proposed changes, to allow time for further discussions with industry and stakeholders, so that any additional information that is required to be provided is appropriate and proportionate.”