What is an EPC?

Valid for ten years, an Environmental Performance Certificate (EPC) is a guide given to possible new tenants of a property that provides them with information about its efficiency. It involves details on energy consumption, estimated costs of running the home and a summary of energy performance related features. It’s particularly useful if the new tenants wish to improve the current energy efficiency of the house and, with permission from their landlord, they can now undertake measures on rented properties. The higher the energy rating, the more marketable the building will be as it’s less costly to run.

Who issues an EPC?

The certificate is to be issued by an accredited energy assessor. This energy assessor must be able to produce the certificate for the category of building concerned. A builder is only responsible for the issuing of an EPC if the building is newly constructed. They must provide the certificate to the person who commissioned the building’s construction within five days of finishing the build.

How much does an EPC cost?

The cost of an EPC really depends on the type of building, its size and where it is located. Generally, the price is determined by the market.

How long does it take to get an EPC?

Again, this depends on the size of the property, but, on average, a three bedroom semi-detached house would take about two hours to complete.

Exempt buildings

There are some buildings that are exempt from getting an Environmental Performance Certificate, however. These buildings include, listed buildings, places of worship and religious activities, industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand and temporary buildings with a planned time of use two years or less.

Fines and changes to the law

As of April 2007, all homeowners and landlords must have an up-to-date Environmental Performance Certificate for their properties that have over 50m2 of floor space.

It is important for a property owner to perform an EPC survey before renting out their building because if they fail to meet this regulation, it could result in penalties and fines of £200.

From April 2018, the owner of a property will have to make sure that its energy efficiency rating is at least an E on a scale to A (the best) to G (the worst). Otherwise, it could mean a fine of up to £4,000 charged to the landlord. Two years after that, in April 2020, if a property has a rating lower than E, it will be illegal for landlords to continue to let their property. Buy to let landlords must have an agreeable rating, otherwise mortgage applications could be denied.

Other disadvantages of not having an EPC

Property surveyors may down-value properties if they do not have a sufficient energy efficiency rating and, on top of this, maintaining a certificate could also be written into the landlord’s mortgage contract conditions as well.

Not assessing a building’s energy efficiency could result in higher bill costs. Identifying where the property lacks in efficiency (for example, only having single-glazed windows) means that certain measures can be taken to improve this problem (installing double-glazing) and therefore result in lower energy bill costs.

My energy rating is poor, what can I do?

To improve the efficiency of your home and boost its energy rating on an EPC, you can:

  • use energy efficient light bulbs, for example, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • install an up-to-date boiler to ensure sufficient heating of the home
  • put in double glazed windows
  • ensure sufficient insulation of the home to allow less heat loss
  • seal all window edges and cracks to make sure heat loss is at a minimum
  • install a convection oven; they use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ones

If you are looking for a long-term investment, you can also install solar panels, which converts natural light into renewable energy for the home.

Carrying out these measures can significantly improve the energy efficiency rating of a property, making it more sellable and desirable for potential buyers. Now that it is essential to provide an EPC in order to sell a house. Mortgage providers have to check whether applicants have met their legal requirements, so it is important for landlords to have an energy efficiency rating carried out on their property in order to secure a legal sale.