Many Northern Ireland householders selling their home face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to get an Energy Performance Certificate, it was claimed today.
Six weeks after it became a legal requirement for sellers to have an EPC, which rates the energy efficiency of a home, it has emerged many home-owners have not got the message that they need the certificate before they get a buyer.
And the Department of Finance and Personnel has written to local estate agents urging them to remind sellers of their responsibility in a bid to drive the message home.
Failure to get an EPC in place at the beginning of the selling process could be costly, especially for homes in a popular location, with a fine of £200 imposed for each breach of the legislation. And an industry spokesman has warned producing the necessary paperwork at the eleventh hour could also risk a sale or price agreed.
Michael Rodgers, managing director of Energy Performance Certificates (Northern Ireland), said: “People selling their homes need an EPC before they have a buyer, but the vast majority are under the illusion that they don’t need one.
“An EPC should be available from the get-go. If there are two or three similar houses, a seller may not appreciate finding out during negotiations that there is more to do there than they initially thought. It has the potential for renegotiation.”
Meanwhile, EPC NI has warned householders to beware of bogus inspectors, following complaints from sellers.
“Some home-owners have told us people have called at their door saying they can carry out an EPC inspection,” said Mr Rodgers.
“This has all the hallmarks of a scam and I would suggest to home-owners not to invite these people into their home never mind give them money. They will probably never see the EPC.”
To counteract the fraudsters, EPC NI has bolstered security by emailing householders in advance of an inspector calling with their details.
Pictures of the inspectors are also available on EPC NI’s website (www.epcni.com) to confirm the identity of whoever is calling out.