Changes to the EPC register
17th September 2021
With the drive towards net zero and with COP26 just around the corner, the UK Government is proposing changes to the EPC register to try and assist in its movement towards having all commercial properties within Band B of the EPC register by 2030, says NG’s Charlotte Steggles.
This move is in no small part due to the contribution made by commercial property of around 31% of carbon emissions in the UK. Implementing this change, the Government says, is to help to try and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
As it currently stands, it is unlawful to let a non-residential property without an EPC rating of E or above (unless the property has a registered exemption). As of 1st April 2025, the Government is proposing that those rules will also extend to existing lettings. This means that all commercial properties, whether vacant or tenanted, will be required to have an EPC rating no lower than an E; with the focus moving towards landlords to improve the energy efficiency standard or face financial penalties.
The main key dates that landlords need to be aware of are:
1st April 2025 – A commercial property must have a valid EPC (E or above) unless owner-occupied.
1st April 2027 – The property must achieve an EPC rating of C or above.
1st April 2030 – The property must achieve an EPC rating of B or above.
Some properties will be exempt from achieving a B rating by 2030, however this will be means tested. If the property you own is Listed or located in a Conservation Area, you are limited to the works you can undertake in order to improve the EPC rating. Even if the property does not achieve a rating of E or above, you must still undertake all necessary works to upgrade the property’s rating. If improving the Energy Efficiency Standard would impact on the property’s character, for example replacing the windows, an exemption may apply, although this must be proved, and the property must be registered on the exemption list; and you are required to pay a registration fee.
Previously, if making improvements to a property to improve the EPC rating were not cost effective (did not meet the seven-year payback rule), then a landlord did not have to undertake the works. However, due to the complexities of this payback rule, the Government are trying to simplify this by implementing a calculator which will be regulated and based on different building types and standardising the industry pricing. Again, any exemption will need to be registered. The aim is to hopefully make it easier to keep track of all properties.
From just glancing at the local news, we can see that global warming is a pressing issue and action needs to be taken immediately to try and slow down current changes. Therefore, the UK Government is aiming to have net zero emissions by 2050. With commercial buildings contributing to almost a third of all carbon emissions, then it is important that we take responsibility for our buildings and try to improve their energy ratings.