What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An Energy Performance Certificate is intended to give an estimate of the comparative energy efficiency of a property. The certificates are commissioned by the seller/landlord (or their agent) from an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA), who visits the property to collect the relevant data and creates the certificate. This data includes the date of construction of the property, heating systems, insulation, and double glazing, etc. and factors in the Building Regulations in force at the time of construction of the main building and any extensions.
Energy Performance Certificates tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A.
The Certificate also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings. The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save you money and help the environment.
The energy rating charts (example above) are included in an Energy Performance Certificate, which explains about the property's assessment in more detail.
What does the Government hope to achieve by this new regulation?
The EPC is part of the Government's strategy to meet its published targets for reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Residential housing accounts for 27% of all emissions of carbon dioxide in the UK. The intention is that house buyers and those seeking homes for let will be influenced by the ratings and choose homes with good energy efficiency ratings. This in turn will encourage sellers, landlords, and developers to build the relevant improvements into their
properties and thus improve the energy efficiency of the nation's housing stock.
How long is an Energy Performance Certificate valid for?
An Energy Performance Certificate, in theory, is valid for 10 years. However, since February 2008, legislation dictates that if an existing Energy Performance Certificate is more than a year old when the property is put back on the market, then a new one is required.
If a property owner has improved the energy efficiency (e.g. by insulating the loft) he/she can then commission another Energy Performance Certificate, which may obtain a better "energy efficiency rating".
For a rental property, there is no need for another inspection before the 10 years are up unless improvements are made to the property.
Who needs an Energy Performance Certificate?
Almost every property in England and Wales now requires an Energy Performance Certificate if it is marketed for sale. This is a legal requirement. A sale cannot occur without an Energy Performance Certificate in place.
Almost every rental property in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland now requires an Energy Performance Certificate as soon as it is marketed to let. If you are a buy to let landlord renting a property which is not a House In Multiple Occupation (HIMO) then you will need an Energy Performance Certificate. This is a legal requirement.
The Landlord is now obliged to provide an EPC as part of the marketing details and failure to comply could attract a fine.
I am a landlord, what are the benefits to me?
The energy rating can help rent out your property. They indicate to a prospective buyer or tenant how energy efficient your home is. It should also provide information that may help to reduce the running cost of the property.