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  • FIRST POST
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 1st Dec 17, 9:21 AM
    • 7Posts
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    Bex123456
    No EPC certificate issued when purchased flat
    • #1
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:21 AM
    No EPC certificate issued when purchased flat 1st Dec 17 at 9:21 AM
    Hi,
    I'd be grateful for some help. I wonder whether it will just come down to 'my error, should have checked' but thought it was worth an ask.

    I bought a flat a year ago, a maisonette on the 1st floor and attic space (1895 building). There's one flat downstairs over the ground floor and basement.
    I bought it without a mortgage (silver lining to family bereavements I guess) and had a full survey done before we bought it.

    We had a conveyancing firm do all the relevant stuff and no problems came up, other than there weren't building regs for the roof which had been redone a few years ago, although there is indemnity insurance in place.

    The issue is now, that we are going out of the country for some time and are planning to rent it out, so we decided to get paperwork in order and the check the EPC was still valid. On checking it, I suddenly realised that the 'C' rated EPC we had been sent by the estate agent and the conveyancers was actually for downstairs, although it was labelled with our address. I only realised as it mentions a 'flat above' which I hadn't noticed before. We got an EPC inspector round, who said that without any regs for the attic room (which we also don't have), the flat would likely be rated below an E and so we can't rent it.

    It also throws up the issue of it being advertised by the estate agents as a 2 bedroom flat, when presumably without building regs for the attic bedroom (the master bedroom), it should have been a 1 bedroom?

    I'm concerned now that it would be almost impossible to rectify all of this without it being massively costly, and will impact on renting/selling.

    We've put so much time and money into this flat already, and have done loads of work on it.

    Do I have any recourse or does it all come down to me being too naive in the first place?

    Thanks very much (sorry it's long!)
Page 1
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 9:26 AM
    • 3,145 Posts
    • 4,177 Thanks
    Nick_C
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:26 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:26 AM
    Are you sure there isn't a certificate for your flat? Have you checked the register?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 1st Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    • 42,318 Posts
    • 49,160 Thanks
    G_M
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    I'd be more worried about the quality of work done in the attic conversion.

    If BRs were ignored, what else was skipped? Were the floor joists strengthened? Is the access fire-escape compliant? etc etc

    Indemnity insurance would not protect you from these hazards!

    ps -when do the new minimum EPC requirements come into force for letting?
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 1st Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    ps -when do the new minimum EPC requirements come into force for letting?
    Originally posted by G_M
    April 2018 for new agreements, so still time to get someone signed up prior to this.
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 1st Dec 17, 1:23 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:23 PM
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:23 PM
    We got an EPC inspector round, who said that without any regs for the attic room (which we also don't have), the flat would likely be rated below an E and so we can't rent it.
    Originally posted by Bex123456
    Check the EPC register https://www.epcregister.com/ - it might be on there, and you were just given the wrong one. Unless it's direct electric heating with uninsulated walls and roof, and single glazing, it's unlikely to be worse than an E - if it is, then you will need to look into improvement options to meet the MEES requirements for letting past April 2018.

    It also throws up the issue of it being advertised by the estate agents as a 2 bedroom flat, when presumably without building regs for the attic bedroom (the master bedroom), it should have been a 1 bedroom?
    Originally posted by Bex123456
    The lack of EPC doesn't change this, it is still the same now as when you bought it. Should have been something you looked into at that stage, the indemnity policy doesn't help you at all.
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 3rd Dec 17, 6:53 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:53 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:53 PM
    Are you sure there isn't a certificate for your flat? Have you checked the register?
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    We've checked that there's definitely no EPC. The only listed certificate is for the incorrect flat (downstairs but listed under our address) and the estate agent and EPC assessor couldn't find another one...
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 3rd Dec 17, 6:55 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:55 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:55 PM
    I'd be more worried about the quality of work done in the attic conversion.

    If BRs were ignored, what else was skipped? Were the floor joists strengthened? Is the access fire-escape compliant? etc etc

    Indemnity insurance would not protect you from these hazards!

    ps -when do the new minimum EPC requirements come into force for letting?
    Originally posted by G_M
    The attic was converted in 1983 we think, thus the lack of paperwork. It was done when the house was converted into 2 flats, I think but we have limited information. The staircase etc going up is standard and there were no obvious defects according to our survey.

    The fact it's been standing for 30 years+ is reassuring, but obviously it would be nice to know there's no issues.
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 3rd Dec 17, 6:59 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:59 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 6:59 PM
    Check the EPC register - it might be on there, and you were just given the wrong one. Unless it's direct electric heating with uninsulated walls and roof, and single glazing, it's unlikely to be worse than an E - if it is, then you will need to look into improvement options to meet the MEES requirements for letting past April 2018.



    The lack of EPC doesn't change this, it is still the same now as when you bought it. Should have been something you looked into at that stage, the indemnity policy doesn't help you at all.
    Originally posted by ComicGeek
    Yes it was the EPC register that I was checking but it was listed for our flat incorrectly. The estate agent/solicitors etc don't have another one either, so doesn't seem to exist.

    So the reason that the EPC inspector thought it would be less than an E was actually just because the attic has no documentation and therefore he said it would have to be treated as being in line with regulations from when the flat was built (1895) and not 1983 when it was actually done, which apparently gives it a big penalty. He said there was not much else we could actually change to gain a grade as already double glazed/gas heating with thermostat/energy saving bulbs etc.

    When we bought it, we were under the impression it was an EPC C grade because of the incorrect certificate that we were given...
    Last edited by Bex123456; 03-12-2017 at 8:39 PM. Reason: grammar/extra info
    • G_M
    • By G_M 3rd Dec 17, 7:42 PM
    • 42,318 Posts
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    G_M
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 7:42 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 7:42 PM
    Balmy.

    Check if there's an appeal process and/or get another EPC inspector round.

    Try

    https://www.epcregister.com/helpDesk.html

    Information

    For more information about the Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register or the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive:
    Website: https://www.epcregister.com/helpDesk.html
    Email: theregister@landmark.co.uk
    Telephone: 03300 366 024
    Last edited by G_M; 03-12-2017 at 7:45 PM.
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 3rd Dec 17, 8:21 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    Balmy.

    Check if there's an appeal process and/or get another EPC inspector round.
    Originally posted by G_M
    Thanks, will do.
    The various EPC inspectors (including the ones who incorrectly labelled the certificate for the flat below) have so far been spectacularly unhelpful. Seems we're stuck in a ridiculous situation which isn't easy to remedy.

    Really wish I'd double checked the EPC before the sale went through, but had so much other paperwork that seemed more important I didn't even consider it could be such a major problem. Live and learn I guess!
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 3rd Dec 17, 8:34 PM
    • 6,283 Posts
    • 6,064 Thanks
    davidmcn
    Balmy.
    Originally posted by G_M
    Or even "barmy". I think the problem here is that the flat isn't balmy.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 3rd Dec 17, 8:41 PM
    • 42,318 Posts
    • 49,160 Thanks
    G_M
    Glass of wine - I'm balmy....
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 3rd Dec 17, 9:24 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    So the reason that the EPC inspector thought it would be less than an E was actually just because the attic has no documentation and therefore he said it would have to be treated as being in line with regulations from when the flat was built (1895) and not 1983 when it was actually done, which apparently gives it a big penalty. He said there was not much else we could actually change to gain a grade as already double glazed/gas heating with thermostat/energy saving bulbs etc.

    When we bought it, we were under the impression it was an EPC C grade because of the incorrect certificate that we were given...
    Originally posted by Bex123456
    Well, if you didn't notice it wasn't the right EPC then perhaps the future tenants won't either.....

    Worst case, pay an EPC assessor £50 to undertake a proper EPC for the correct property, and ask them to call you before they lodge it to confirm the EPC rating. If it's an E or better, then go ahead and lodge, and problem solved.

    As an EPC assessor myself, I very much doubt that a gas heated maisonette would achieve worse than an E anyway. The EPC assessor is correct in that the insulation standards in the loft conversion would be as per the Building Regs standards in 1895 (ie none!), but that is only part of the overall calculation. Did the assessor actually type all of the inputs into the calculator, or just state it wouldn't work? Just sounds like nonsense to me, get another assessor in to do a full assessment.

    Just say the 'thought' in bold in your reply - no point guessing, they need to enter the information into the EPC calculation and confirm either way.
    Last edited by ComicGeek; 03-12-2017 at 9:36 PM. Reason: Added extra note
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 3rd Dec 17, 9:34 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    The various EPC inspectors (including the ones who incorrectly labelled the certificate for the flat below) have so far been spectacularly unhelpful. Seems we're stuck in a ridiculous situation which isn't easy to remedy.
    Originally posted by Bex123456
    Well, all the original EPC assessor could do is apply to get the EPC deleted from the register. That doesn't help you as as they won't have any requirement to produce a free EPC for your flat.

    Should be simple to remedy though - get a new EPC produced, and this will overwrite the incorrect one on the system, as there can only be one EPC per address. Worth checking that there are two separate addresses on the EPC register for your flat and the flat below before proceeding with this - wouldn't be the first time that an address is missing, and the assessor selects the wrong one. Your assessor would just have to apply to the register to get the addresses added before lodging, simple task.
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 3rd Dec 17, 9:49 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    Well, if you didn't notice it wasn't the right EPC then perhaps the future tenants won't either.....

    Worst case, pay an EPC assessor £50 to undertake a proper EPC for the correct property, and ask them to call you before they lodge it to confirm the EPC rating. If it's an E or better, then go ahead and lodge, and problem solved.

    As an EPC assessor myself, I very much doubt that a gas heated maisonette would achieve worse than an E anyway. The EPC assessor is correct in that the insulation standards in the loft conversion would be as per the Building Regs standards in 1895 (ie none!), but that is only part of the overall calculation. Did the assessor actually type all of the inputs into the calculator, or just state it wouldn't work? Just sounds like nonsense to me, get another assessor in to do a full assessment.
    Originally posted by ComicGeek
    He hasn't given us the calculation yet, just said he didn't think it could make an E grade. It was my partner who spoke to him, not me, so I'm not sure exactly what he said, but he apparently thinks that it's not to do with the roof (which we know is uninsulated) but somehow the loft conversion means we'd have a low rating.

    I had a look at the EPC ratings of other top floor flats on my street which presumably are similar (it's terraced so same walls etc) and most of them, even without roof insulation seem to be getting D grades at least.

    Think we'll do what you suggest and ask him what his rating works out as before lodging.

    Well, all the original EPC assessor could do is apply to get the EPC deleted from the register. That doesn't help you as as they won't have any requirement to produce a free EPC for your flat.

    Should be simple to remedy though - get a new EPC produced, and this will overwrite the incorrect one on the system, as there can only be one EPC per address. Worth checking that there are two separate addresses on the EPC register for your flat and the flat below before proceeding with this - wouldn't be the first time that an address is missing, and the assessor selects the wrong one. Your assessor would just have to apply to the register to get the addresses added before lodging, simple task.
    Originally posted by ComicGeek
    I think the issue that makes it difficult to remedy is simply if the EPC rating does end up too low and effectively impossible to improve - that would certainly have given us pause for thought before we purchased.
    • Bex123456
    • By Bex123456 6th Dec 17, 12:40 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Bex123456
    So an update - turns out the EPC assessor was talking nonsense, and you guys were right - the grade has come out as a 'D' (60), so crisis averted!

    Thanks for all your replies.
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