Paying the price for a home with character?

Posted: Thursday, 3 July 2008 @ 16:57

Many of us love living in a 'character' property but with energy costs rising exponentially, many of us could be paying a heavy price for the privilege.

The problem with many older properties is twofold: they tend to be very poorly insulated and the method of heating them can be very inefficient. The extreme example would be heating an old farmhouse with an oil-fired Aga but even the traditional gas-fired boiler is desperately inefficient compared to some of the alternatives now on the market.

The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) has really brought this home to buyers. The first thing I check when I see a property on Rightmove is its energy efficiency rating - invariably the rating is no better than 'E' for a period property (the range goes from 'A' being the most efficient to 'G' for the least efficient) and frequently the rating is rooted to the bottom of the chart. The EPC also shows the property's potential rating if certain energy saving suggestions are implemented but I've rarely seen a potential rating much above the existing one.

A newly constructed home is likely to have a better rating on the EPC but there is another, little known, way to assess a new home - the Code for Sustainable Homes.

It is compulsory for the sellers of all newly constructed homes not only to provide an EPC for the property but also a certificate either measuring the home against the Code or confirming that the property has not been measured against the code. What is the point of the latter? The wording on the 'nil-rated' certificate is clearly designed to deter buyers. It states 'As this home is not assessed the Code for Sustainable Homes it can not be certified to meet the enhanced environmental performance standards set out in the Code' . Any housebuilder trying to set its product apart from the competition would do well to ensure its properties are not only assessed against the Code but are going to achieve a good rating.

If the property is assessed against the Code then it will be given a 1 to 6 star rating. The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use at each level. The Code also gives new homebuyers better information about the environmental impact of their new home and its potential running costs, and offer builders a tool with which to differentiate themselves in sustainability terms.

If you are considering buying a new home or if you are a developer about to construct a new home, the Code for Sustainable Homes will become increasingly important.

Contact commercial property lawyer, Steve Petty, on 01926 629005 for more information on the Code For Sustainable Homes.

Steve Petty, Commercial Property Lawyer

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

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Thank you. Your response is great, very straight to the point! Hopefully this will bring an end to the matter. I will certainly be recommending your services as I am very impressed with the prompt dealing of this matter.
Janet Burbidge

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