An Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) must be provided by the building owner where a building is sold or let. It applies, for example, to leases of Church Halls or other Church property (it does not apply where an existing tenant simply renews an existing lease). Clergy do not occupy rectories on the basis of a lease but, if an otherwise vacant rectory were being let to produce income, the legislation would apply to new tenancies.
An EPC is a document indicating the energy efficiency of a building. They have been introduced as part of the UK’s obligation under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to promote improvement in the energy performance of new and existing buildings.
An EPC displays an indication of current CO2 emissions, provides an indication of potential emissions on an annual basis and also the current energy consumption of the building and lists cost effective improvements. CO2 ratings are shown in bandings from A to G (A being the least polluting).
Where a building is to be sold or rented the building owner must make a copy of the EPC for the building available, free of charge, to the prospective buyer or tenant. It is the legal responsibility of the owner to affix the certificate to the building.
EPCs can be provided by members of a number of organisations and professional bodies with whom the Scottish Government has entered into protocols. Details of qualified and accredited members are available at: https://www.scottishepcregister.org.uk/assessorsearch.
The cost of obtaining an EPC varies depending on the complexity of the building.
It should be noted that the SEC “Minimum Standards for Clergy Housing” stipulates that the property should have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least C. It is recommended that Energy Performance Certificates be obtained for rectories and that where the rating is less than C, consideration should be given by the vestry as to whether improvements, and the EPC lists cost effective ones, should be made to improve energy efficiency or whether some form of allowance should be provided. The Buildings Committee is also of the view that any quinquennial survey of rectories should also cover the question as to whether there is an up-to-date EPC.
An EPC is valid for a period of ten years. If the owner wishes to sell or rent out the property after the ten year period, it will be necessary to update the EPC.
Sanctions for non-compliance with the legislation include the levying by the Local Authority of a penalty charge notice, the amount of which depends on the nature of the building.
Further information can be found at: https://www.mygov.scot/energy-performance-certificates.
Updated December 2022