Holiday Cottages - Update

21st November 2011:

We have received additional guidance from DCLG regarding the Holiday Lets EPC in the last few days. DCLG has stated that:

Under the terms of the Directive, the trigger for requiring an EPC is the sale, rent or construction of a property.  In the case of holiday lets, the Directive permits an exemption from the requirement to have an EPC where either:

  • The property is rented out for less than a cumulative period of 4 months in a 12 month period, or
  • It is let under a licence to occupy – regardless of the amount of time it is occupied

A licence to occupy is an arrangement where the holiday maker does not have exclusive use of the property for example, where the property owner or their representative has the right to access the premises during the period of the booking.

DCLG will be publishing detailed guidance on this issue shortly. They will also be making appropriate amendments to the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations.

We will continue to publish any news or information as soon as this is received and although we may not currently be in a position to answer any further questions, please email any queries to registration@nesltd.co.uk and we will collate these to pose to DCLG.

25th October 2011:

We have had several “robust” discussions with DCLG on the holiday cottage issue.  DCLG are adamant ( and have taken legal advice to support this) that the existing legislation does cover holiday lets due to the previous Government not seeking an exemption when the Directive was adopted.  As far as DCLG are concerned, any property owner planning to let a dwelling for four months of the year or longer requires an EPC.

However, other bodies are equally adamant in holding an opposing opinion.  As it was described to Brian Scannell, the MD of NES, the conflicts boil down to differences in interpretation of the legislation, in particular what constitutes “renting out a property”.  For example, chalet holiday camps (such as Centre Parcs) assert that they sell “holidays” and as such they aren’t “renting out a property”. 

In normal circumstances, such questions of interpretation would be resolved in court, with the precedent of each case gradually refining the interpretation until the requirements become unambiguous.  Unfortunately, NES considers it unlikely that any TSO is going to incur the trouble and cost of taking a case to court.  We did suggest to DCLG that they should actively work with a TSO and underwrite their costs in order to remove the ambiguity but, unfortunately, this was not a suggestion that they welcomed.

However, we understand that DCLG has agreed to review whether there is anything more they can do with their guidance to try to provide clarification.  We do not have a timetable for this.

The implementation of the recast of the EPBD will provide an opportunity to sort this out once and for all.  The consultation is due out this autumn and NES will definitely be engaging with members in producing a response.  However, given the current Government's aversion to all things European there is concern that the recast implementation will be delayed until the latest possible date, which phases through 2013.