Do I really need an Energy Performance Certificate to sell my property?

I have accepted an offer on a property I inherited without using an estate agent but now my solicitor says I need an Energy Performance Certificate. How do I get one and is it essential?

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Question: I recently inherited a property from my grandmother. It is in a poor state of repair, but several of her neighbours have shown interest in it and one has made an offer, which I’ve accepted — all without an estate agent.
However, my solicitor is now going on about an Energy Performance Certificate and sneers that if I had used an estate agent, I wouldn’t have to trouble myself with this. What do I have to do to get one of these certificates? Is it essential?
Answer: Whether you have an estate agent or not, you must provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property. It is true that an estate agent would have done this for you, but as a private seller you can still organise it yourself.
The certificate must be issued by an energy assessor who is accredited to produce them for the category of building concerned.
It contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and includes recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money. It provides an energy efficiency rating from A to G, with G being the least efficient. The certificate will then be valid for 10 years.
Your buyer’s solicitor will ask you to produce an Energy Performance Certificate and indeed, you can be fined if you do not produce one. Visit the Government website to find a domestic energy assessor.
There are some exemptions and for certain buildings you do not need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate — for instance, if your property is listed.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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