Selling a business is no simple feat; there are numerous regulations to negotiate and financial issues to tie-up.
But it is important to get everything in place to ensure a smooth sale. So those looking to sell their business in the near future need to be aware of recent changes to the law regarding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).
From 6 April 2012, anyone selling a business is required by statutory law to provide an EPC, demonstrating the energy efficiency and predicted CO2 emissions. The document will provide a rating from 'A' (the most efficient) through to 'G', as well as offering recommendations for improving the business's energy efficiency in the future.
In practical terms, both business sellers and agents are required by law to make “all reasonable efforts” to obtain the EPC within seven days of putting a business up for sale. The document is then valid for ten years and it may be that it will cover more than one sale.
Ultimately there is some flexibility within the time scale if a seller needs to obtain a new EPC. If all reasonable efforts are exhausted within the seven-day period, sellers have a further 21 days to obtain the certificate before they are at risk of falling foul of the law.
It is also possible to obtain the certificate before putting the business up for sale and there are no legal time requirements covering this course of action.
Whenever you choose to organise an EPC for your business, be sure to do it within the new legal requirements as the penalties are not light. The penalty fee for not having the certificate ready for prospective buyers to see is equivalent to 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the relevant building. This fixed penalty can be anything from £500 to £5,000.
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