Although in recent days the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced plans to make the amendment less stringent, ignoring its requirements could cost you dear.
The obligation to obtain an EPC, i.e. a document stating the amount of energy needed to operate the building, including heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water, lighting etc., applies to:
- building contractors, building owners, and apartment owners’ associations in the case of new buildings or renovations of existing buildings;
- building owners or apartment owners’ associations in the case of a sale or lease; and
- apartment owners in the case of a sale or lease.
An EPC is not required for buildings with an area smaller than 50 m2, buildings used for religious purposes, family recreational buildings, buildings used for industrial and manufacturing operations and workshops and agricultural buildings with energy consumption up to 700 GJ per year.
The Act, however, postpones the obligation in some instances, in part depending on a building’s size and use and also with regard to its future purpose. This includes the obligation show an EPC to a potential tenant of an apartment or part of a building, which owners will have to do only from 1 January 2016.
Further, under certain conditions apartment owners may use their energy statements (electricity, gas and heat) for the past three years instead on an EPC. An EPC is not enough
Apartment and home owners have other obligations besides simply having an EPC. In the case of new buildings or renovations of existing buildings, the Ministry of Industry and Trade must also be notified that the certificate was obtained. As for buildings used by public power authorities, the certificate must be displayed on or inside the building (specifically, on the external wall of the building next to the public entrance or on a wall in the entrance area inside the building). Last but not least, EPCs must be shown to the Ministry or the State Energy Inspectorate upon request.
There are further obligations concerning sales and leases. Potential buyers or tenants must be shown an EPC or a certified copy prior to concluding the purchase or lease agreement, and actual purchasers or tenants must be given the EPC or certified copy, at the latest, when signing the purchase or lease agreement. Moreover, pursuant to the new amendment the data contained in the EPC must also be included in informational and advertising materials.
Home or apartment owners who do not take the necessary steps to obtain an EPC and show or provide it to a purchaser or tenant may be penalized up to CZK 200,000. Thus, building, selling or leasing a house or apartment without an EPC could be very expensive. And if you are an energy specialist, you could be penalized up to CZK 5,000,000 if an EPC that you prepared is in any way biased, false or incomplete.
Building owners may, however, also be penalized in other ways. Despite the Ministry’s promises to make the amendment less stringent for owners of, in particular, small family homes (by allowing them to show prior year energy statements instead of an EPC), it should noted that the buyer of a building or apartment is still entitled to an EPC under the current legislation.