Take action now to be compliant!
As of January 1, 2023, it is prohibited to put into use and occupy office space that does not have energy label C. This seems far away, but property owners only have one year left to make provisions. Below you will read about the labeling requirement, who it applies to, what the exceptions are, what enforcement looks like, and tips and tricks so you can make progress.
- as of January 1, 2023, it is prohibited to use office space that does not have energy label C. The Buildings Decree will be amended accordingly;
- Putting into use is also prohibited;
- Administrative enforcement (penalty payment/closure) will follow in the event of non-compliance; and
- in the case of renting or leasing: check who is responsible for the sustainability work.
What does the obligation entail?
Energy label C applies to an office building. But what does it cover? An office building is a building or part of a building with one or more office functions and additional functions. This means that an office building can be a separate building, but also a part of a larger building. Many buildings in the Netherlands are combination buildings, think of a hospitality/shop floor with offices above. The label requirement only applies to office spaces and ancillary functions (for example: a canteen or meeting room). An office function itself can also be a secondary function of another user function. This is for example the case with offices in schools, hospitals, stores, community centers or industrial buildings. In those cases there is no question of an office building and the label obligation does not apply.
Who does it apply to?
The obligation applies to both the property owner (landlord) and the tenant. It is not dependent on the transaction moment. The provisions must be taken by them on time. If not, enforcement follows.
What are the exceptions?
There are exceptions to the label requirement. These are:
- Usable area with less than 50% office functions, such as an industrial hall;
- buildings smaller than 100 m2;
- monuments; and
- temporary buildings.
What happens in the event of non-compliance?
The “competent authority” enforces the administrative regulations in the event of non-compliance with the labeling requirement. In practice, this will be the municipality or the environmental department. This means that the government will impose a penalty payment or close the office. The sanction will differ. The government will consider what is proportionate and has policy freedom. This can also lead to a warning first.
Tips and tricks
When buying a building or entering into a lease, check whether energy label C is required and if so, what energy label the building has (ask the seller or lessor or check the energy performance register).
Are you already a lessee or lessor of office space and the building does not meet the label requirements? Make agreements with the lessee or lessor about the work that must be carried out in order to comply with the obligation and check the lease agreement to see who will be responsible for the preservation work.
Are you planning to sign a lease with regard to office space and the building does not meet the label requirement? Before concluding the lease, make agreements about what work will be carried out, when it will be carried out and who will bear the costs. Record this in the lease agreement.
Conclusion and in practice
The conclusion is that office spaces must have an energy label C within half a year. As of next year, enforcement will take place by imposing penalties and closing the space. In practice this means that this year the provisions must be made. Make agreements with your tenant about what work will be done and when. Make any additional contractual arrangements.
Do you have any legal questions about the obligation to label, enforcement or contractual agreements? Or do you need drafting the (additional) contract? For those who want progress: please do not hesitate to contact us.
Amsterdam, July 25, 2022
Attorney at law, administrative law
Attorney at law, rent law