The deadline for obtaining a mandatory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been extended, but experts have warned the cost of obtaining one will vary widely.
The new law, which requires any property that is up for sale, or due to be put up for sale, to have an EPC certificate rating the building's energy efficiency, was initially due to be enforced on 1 October but it has now been extended to 4 January.
Darren Bond, head of valuations services at property agent Christie & Co, welcomed the delay but warned hospitality operators with property for sale that it was only "a temporary respite".
"The last thing that is needed is people panicking at the end of December to get an EPC in place," Bond said. "It is essential that operators are aware of their responsibilities and we are trying to give each individual business the most appropriate advice on a site-to-site basis."
Property consultant John Morren warned that the cost of an EPC would vary widely, depending on the assessor. "For the same specification - a 600sq ft retail unit with three bedrooms - I was quoted between £475 and £1,165 plus VAT," he told Caterer.
Morren added that it was "impossible" to know when the Government would start imposing fines for buildings without EPCs.
A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government, which is overseeing the implementation, said: "Prices vary for EPCs and we advise to people to shop around until they find a price they are comfortable with.
"Enforcement is a matter for local authorities and trading standards officers, and they have discretion to take a softer approach to enforcement, particularly in the initial stages, and where owners and landlords can show they are taking reasonable steps to obtain an EPC."
By Gemma Sharkey
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