One could be forgiven for assuming that listed buildings, by their very nature, are automatically exempt from EPC restrictions. However, the issue is far from clear cut. A more in depth analysis is required due to the inconsistency between the statutory regulations and the government guidance.
There is an exemption for “buildings officially protected…because of their special architectural or historical merit” if compliance with the EPC requirements would “unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”
This exemption is supported by Historic England guidance which indicates that listed buildings are exempt from EPC restrictions.
Although the Government website also shares this view, it should be noted that individuals are instructed to seek advice from their local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.
One therefore has to consider whether or not any work to improve the building’s EPC rating would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the listed building. If the work would create unacceptable alterations, then you do not need to carry out the work.
However, one should be wary to jump to such a conclusion. There are severe consequences for anyone letting or selling a building without correctly complying with the EPC regulations. Landlords face penalties that could accumulate to over £150,000 for just one breach.
A landlord of a listed building should be absolutely certain before deciding that its building is exempt from the regulations, so as to not later fall foul of the consequences.
Unfortunately, the landlord’s task is made all the more difficult due to the lack of clarity over the identity of the individual who should be making the decision as to whether the listed building will be “unacceptably altered”.
It would therefore be wise to back up any decision with independent evidence before letting/selling the building.
If you feel your listed building is exempt, a report should be commissioned from an appropriately qualified surveyor or other professional. In the event that the outcome still remains uncertain, it would be prudent to obtain the opinion of the local authority conservation officer.
If you conclude that your listed building is not exempt, listed building consent may then be required in order to carry out the necessary works to improve the building’s energy performance
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