Trading Standards to swoop on landlords

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Landlords who have ignored recent changes in the law are about to be targeted in a swoop by Cornwall Trading Standards.

Since April 2008, all properties now require an energy performance certificate (EPC) before going on the market for rent or sale.

The EPC documents the energy efficiency of a building, focusing on the amount of carbon dioxide estimated to be released from the building during its normal use. It shows CO2 ratings in bandings, from A to G, with A being the least polluting. The property’s performance is benchmarked against current building standards and cost-effective improvements are recommended.

The legislation applies to both residential and commercial landlords, however Cornwall Trading Standards officers have suspected some landlords have been flouting the law by letting or selling buildings without the required certificates.

Following a ‘desktop survey’, officers from the local authority have compiled a list of 120 commercial properties without a commercial EPC, that are being marketed through the local press in the Duchy – and they are about to take action.

Landlords who do not comply with the rules face a fine of up to £5k based on the rateable value of the building, however Trading Standards officers intend to contact landlords and sellers who are marketing without an EPC, with a 28-day warning first.

Cornwall Trading Standards officer, John Tutchier, said: “There appears to be a trend for delaying the provision of an EPC until the last possible opportunity or, in some cases, for not providing one at all. Not having an EPC and marketing a property for sale or rent is against regulations and landlords who do so may be served with a penalty charge notice.”

Simon Gill, partner in PSG Cornwall, one of the Duchy’s largest suppliers of commercial EPCs, said: “Much effort from both the private and public sector has gone into explaining the new legislation to landlords and property agents but some people still seem to be unclear of their responsibilities.”

“Our role as a supplier of EPCs is to ensure we can help landlords meet their responsibilities and remain within the law – but they have to come to us first. We will endeavour to ensure that anyone who approaches us with a 28-day warning letter from Trading Standards will have a certificate in time to avoid any fine.”