The Green Deal, which intends to revolutionise the energy efficiency of buildings by eliminating the upfront cost of energy efficient measures, is coming and it is time for buyers of property to start thinking about its impact.
Rather than paying up front for energy efficient improvements to a property, the cost of ‘green improvements’ to any particular building will be paid for by way of a levy on the future utility bills for the building, which will hopefully be mitigated by the efficiency savings.
As part of the conveyancing process therefore, your solicitor will check with the seller whether any Green Deal improvements have been carried out and report to you on the effect this will have on your utility costs. In light of the changes, buyers need to watch out that they don’t end up paying twice; ie. paying a premium for energy efficient features in a building in the purchase price, plus footing the bill of improved energy efficiency in future utility bills.
Historically Energy Performance Certificates have been nothing but an inconvenience for sellers, but it is expected that the forthcoming Regulations will outlaw the letting of all F or G EPC rated properties (domestic and commercial) from 2018. As a result, property investors will need to start thinking now about energy performance in buildings they wish to buy.
By Stephen Greenwood, Commercial Property Solicitor