Commercial EPC fees to double from 6 April
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The communities department has been criticised by PEPA for giving firms just three weeks' notice of dramatic increases in the costs of registering energy performance certificates (EPCs)
On 15 March, the communities department (DCLG) confirmed that the cost of registering a non-domestic EPC will increase by 120% on 6 April, from £5.36 to £11.81. Meanwhile, the fees for registering EPCs for domestic properties will jump 45%.
According to DCLG the increased charges are necessary to ensure there are sufficient funds to run the scheme, but the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) has called on the government to postpone changes until at least October, warning that three weeks is too short for energy assessors to prepare for the changes.
DCLG’s impact assessment of the price rises states that cost of running the registers is not being met by current charges and that that government funds are making up the deficit. The registration of 6.95 million fewer EPCs than had been predicted and the provision of “enhanced services”, such as the creation of the EPC adviser tool, are to blame for the shortfall.
“Unless the fees are increased to cover the forecast annual cost of providing the services from April 2013, the full cost of providing register services will not be met in future,” states the assessment. “It is not sustainable for the taxpayer to continue to underwrite the risk that the registers will be operating at a deficit.”
However, PEPA argues that the government and the scheme’s operator, Landmark Information Group, should have consulted with practitioners before changing charges.
“It is a great shame that neither the DCLG or Landmark have taken the time to properly understand why registration numbers are down and have instead chosen to implement a very crude and hasty price increase, rather than consulting with the profession,” said PEPA chair Stephen O’Hara.
Jon Steward, commercial director of EPC producer Niche Communications, argued that the shortfall in registrations was a result of DCLG’s failure to deal with those who aren’t complying with legislation.
“Non-compliance is common and clear leadership from the DCLG to tackle this issue has not been forthcoming,” he said. “It is for this reason and this reason alone that volumes have not reached anticipated levels. Rather than addressing this issue, the DCLG wants to take the easy way out and pass on the cost of their incompetence to those people looking to sell or rent out their properties.”
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