The EPC Scheme
All rental properties in the UK have been required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) since 2008.
As of 2018, a property must have an energy score of at least E in order to legally be let out in England and Wales, as stated by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (EES).
New legislation is being introduced that will mean all rental properties will need a rating of at least C by 2025.
EPC Information for Landlords
When buildings are to be rented out, the landlord is legally responsible for ensuring a valid certificate is made available to all prospective tenants. The EPC report must be made available to all tenants at the earliest opportunity possible, with all costs being covered by the landlord.
Prospective tenants are to receive the EPC free of charge and no later than:
If neither of those occur, the EPC will need to be made available before entering into a contract to sell or let.
Landlords are not obliged to make the EPC available where:
The landlord doesn’t believe there is a genuine interest from the prospective tenant or feels they are unlikely to have sufficient funds to rent the property
The landlord is not prepared to rent out the property to the prospective tenant (although this does not authorise unlawful discrimination)
Energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 years, but you can get a new one at any point if you believe you have improved your score..
Energy Saving Changes
Landlords can implement new energy saving measures before under taking the EPC to help improve its rating. There are simple yet effective ways to ensure the property is as energy efficient as possible ahead of the EPC.
These changes can range from installation of double glazing to cavity wall and loft installation. Landlords could even replace old boilers which, when older than 15 years old, prove to be less energy efficient.
Energy Performance Certificates
EPCs not only tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G but also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the property has on the environment. The average property in the UK currently has a rating in bands ‘D-E’, with rating ‘A’ being the ideal target. An ‘A’ rated home will be the most energy efficient and should have the lowest fuel bills.
The EPC also gives you recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency rating, not only to benefit the effect on the environment but to help save money on energy bills.
Factors such as age, size, location and condition of the property will all affect its rating. The recommendations made in the EPC will also consider these factors before tailoring suitable energy saving suggestions to each property.
In 2012, a number of changes were made to improve and update Energy Performance Certificates. The main changes were:
Increased amount of images and white space
A graph outlining energy efficiency on the front page
Reduced amount of text
Prominent references to The Green Deal
- Emphasis on the potential savings if recommendations are implemented.
As of April 2018, there may be a penalty given where properties do not meet the minimum energy efficiency standard of an ‘E’ EPC rating. The new regulations came into force on 1 April 2018 and affected both the commercial EPCs and residential EPCs within the private rented sector.
Getting an EPC
EPCs are only available from accredited Energy Assessors with the appropriate level of training and qualifications. They usually costs between £35 and £120 (including VAT).
Make sure to compare quotes for Energy Performance Certificates from accredited Domestic Energy Assessors.
There are some exemptions for buildings that do not require an EPC:
- Places of worship or buildings used for religious activities
- Holiday accommodation and residential buildings that are used for less than 4 months a year
- Workshops and industrial sites
- Buildings that are to be demolished
- Buildings that are intended to be used for less than 2 years
- Detached buildings with less than 50 square metres of floor space.
For more information about getting an EPC for your Buy-to-Let property, take a look at our article, How to get an Energy Performance Certificate.
Updated July 2022