Deliver energy certificates at completion, urges CML

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is urging the government to deliver Energy Performance Certificates at the point of completion in the house buying process rather than when a property is marketed.

EPCs are cited as one of the main driving forces behind Home Information Packs. Housing minister Yvette Cooper has repeatedly argued that by implementing HIPs in 2007 the UK will be one of the first countries to comply with the EU requirement for all properties to be sold with an energy efficiency rating.

However, in its recent newsletter, CML spokesman Bernard Clarke says: “There is no intrinsic reason why an EPC is needed before a property is marketed. Although producing the energy rating at the point of marketing was a convenient form of delivery while HCRs were envisaged as compulsory, this policy can now be revisited.”

Michael Gove, shadow minister for housing and planning, agrees that delivering an EPC and local authority search at the point-of-sale would be “cheaper and less bureaucratic”.

It would also rule out the need for a HIP before a property is marketed – one of the factors concerning industry experts as potentially upsetting the housing market.

Jeff Knight, director of marketing at GMAC-RFC, says: “An EPC at the point of completion rather than marketing wouldn’t have such an impact on speculative sellers and wouldn’t distort the market as much as is feared.”

However, Trevor Youens, operations director at The Live Organisation, says: “If by changing the rules to allow for the HIP to be provided upon sale rather than when marketing a property, the government will have performed another U-turn and added to the argument that it has lost control of what it is doing in relation to HIPs.”