EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Provisional Guidance Notes.  
Version III,  MAY, 2013.

INTRODUCTION

EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) were introduced in the UK and many other parts of Europe following a EU directive. EPCs will be required as a legal obligation by Royal Decree. Enforcement of this requirement has been delayed until 1st June, 2013. From this date it will be illegal for residential properties to be offered for sale, or rental for more than 4 months of the year. Penalties for property owners are stated as being as much as 200€ per day!
Furthermore, we understand it will be deemed illegal for real estate agents to display and market properties on behalf of vendor clients without copies of the certificate being held, available for inspection, within each individual property file, at the agent’s office. We as agents will also be liable for large penalties if we market a property without an EPC.

WHAT IS AN EPC? An EPC is a certificate that assesses how energy efficient any specific property is; its Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) then grades this on a scale of A (best) to G (lowest rating). Also defined is a calculation of Environmental Impact Rating (EIR) which relates to your property’s impact on the environment.

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE MY RATING? The measurement and specification of internal volumes, external walls, windows, doors, ceilings, roofs, heating systems, boilers, heaters, A/C units, fireplaces, insulation, solar panels, light bulbs, construction materials used, date of construction, orientation, use of solar panels, and many other factors.

ARE WE OBLIGED TO MAKE ALTERATIONS TO IMPROVE OR RATING? No you are not, though part of the EPC report may suggest the most cost effective ways of saving on energy costs and improving your rating.

TIMING.  As stated above, this new law comes into effect on 1st June, 2013. Is seems we will have no alternative but to de-list any properties which do not have this certificate issued, and a copy made available to us to retain with the property details, at our office. A major logistical concern is the fact that SELECT Villas of Moraira alone have around 350 listed properties, and we are just one of about 60 estate agents based in and around Moraira. Between now and 1st June, this places a huge logistical challenge on the relatively few authorised and qualified inspectors who will be burdened with carrying out these inspections and issuing EPCs, within this onerous legal timescale. It follows that our overwhelming advice to all vendor clients is that you act as soon as possible to avoid the inevitable log-jam which may well occur as the enforcement date approaches. Without an EPC in place you may be liable for significant fines and/or the necessary withdrawal of your property from the market, both with SELECT Villas of Moraira and any other agents listing your property. There may be some kind of period of grace, but this cannot be assumed.

COST. Various qualified and registered agencies are quoting different fee levels and different price bands, based on different ranges of build size! SELECT Villas of Moraira are doing their very best to assess which technical agencies are offering the best deal for the various size ranges of each property. Provisional guidance, at the time of writing follows, though there is a risk of escalating costs as the 1st June deadline approaches, and demand inevitably exceeds supply:

SELECT Villas of Moraira have now identified a Javea based Anglo-Spanish qualified architect who will carry out the entire EPC certification process – including the all-important ‘blue validation stamp’ for 250€ incl IVA.
In addition, he can provide basic floor plans for 60€ with the EPC, or 97€ as a separate visit – incl IVA. Also updating of deeds (to register extensions, alterations, pools etc.) for 240€ with the EPC, or 280€ as a separate visit – incl IVA.

Although these are rarely available in Spain, floor plans are increasingly being requested by UK and other European buyers. We are pleased to have arranged this very important marketing tool, such little additional cost to our clients.

WHO PAYS? As you have probably guessed by now, it is the responsibility of the property owner to arrange and cover the cost of obtaining their EPC.

WILL MY EPC RATING AFFECT THE MARKETING OF MY PROPERTY? No, providing we have a copy of the certificate prior to marketing, or prior to 1st June. Whichever is the later. Of course, a good rating will be an advantageous marketing factor; a poor rating may be yet another excuse for a very rude offer from a prospective buyer!

HOW LONG IS THE EPC VALID FOR? The certificate is valid for 10 years, unless the property is renovated or extended.

WHO CAN ISSUE AN EPC? The certificate has to be authorised and signed off by a suitably qualified engineer or architect who is registered with the College of Architects in Madrid. At the inspection stage, surveys of each property can be carried out by a number of companies employing trained and qualified assessors. The data gathered is processed with the aid of a task-specific computer programme, then checked and signed off by the registered engineer/architect who validates the EPC with his registration number. Without this the document is invalid and worthless.

HOW DO WE ARRANGE AN EPC? SELECT Villas of Moraira will be pleased to analyse the various pricing structures, identify the more reputable and efficient, registered and approved EPC providers. Based on the build area of your property we will try to optimise the best deal available for you, and offer full guidance and assistance throughout the entire process. This service will be offered by SELECT Villas of Moraira to both our existing vendor clients and to all other local property owners within the Costa Blanca – North. We do not charge for this service.

HOW LONG DOES THIS PROCESS TAKE? The first stage – the property survey will usually take between one to two hours. Most of the work will be carried out back at the EPC contractor’s office with the aid of specialist computer software. This will then be reviewed and approved by a qualified and registered engineer or architect, and then all relevant paperwork will be sent to the College of architects, in Madrid for further checking, approval and stamping. The certificate will bear the name of the authorised inspector and, most importantly, be validated with his professional registration number. This whole procedure may take up to three weeks to produce the EPC certificate.

DISCLAIMER. Unfortunately we, SELECT VILLAS of Moraira, as a registered, long established real estate agent in Moraira, have received no official notification or details of this new, property related law, which becomes enforceable from 1st June 2013. Despite strenuous enquiries to various architects, lawyers, and even Notaries, reliable, hard and fast information and guidance has been nigh impossible to gather. So far, I have had to rely on information gathered from some of the more pro-active EPC  providers. Our dilemma is the conflict of our desire to provide SELECT Villas’ vendor clients, and other home owners, with advice and guidance with the maximum amount of notice, against further delays in these Guidance Notes until a clearer and more concise picture appears.

Ultimately, I feel we have little option other than to provide this newsletter in provisional form, in order to provide our clients with the situation, as we best understand it, in order that they can make provision (with our help) for the application of their EPC, before the inevitable log-jam, and the risk of their property having to be suspended from the market, with SELECT Villas of Moraira, as well as any other marketing agent.

An updated version of these guidance notes will be issued, as soon as the situation becomes clearer. Meanwhile, if further advice or clarification is required, please do not hesitate to contact us. We shall be pleased to help in any way that we can.

Author:  Chris Garwood – Partner, Estate Agents Moraira
May 2013