Introduction of energy performance certificates in April could cause bottleneck in commercial property market, says law firm

Energy Performance Certificates could trigger a slowdown in the commercial property market, legal experts have warned.

Law firm LG said property sales could suffer when the requirement for EPCs comes into force in April.

Energy certificate

Its comments were included in a response to the government consultation on its proposed guide to the certificates, which closed last week.

LG commercial property partner Catherine Diggle said sudden demand for “energy assessors” to issue certificates and the need for building owners and tenants to produce floor plans could cause delays.

She said: “Potentially we could be faced with a bottleneck in the commercial property market that could take weeks or months to clear.”

Diggle said the regulations also failed to address problems for existing tenants of large multi-let buildings who will need an EPC for underletting or assignment.

Unless the landlord chooses to commission an EPC, it will be the responsibility of the tenant of the unit in question to get a certificate for the whole building.

Diggle said: “This may not be practical and is likely to be cost prohibitive – particularly in large and complicated buildings, such as airport terminals and shopping centres.”

The requirements for EPCs will apply whenever a building is constructed, sold or let in the UK. Each certificate will include an energy rating from A to G and a report outlining recommendations for improving efficiency.

LG’s attack comes after the RICS said householders would have to wait up to 208 years to recoup costs on energy saving measures advised in EPCs.