After the assessment, the Energy Performance Certificate will show the energy efficiency of your home based on a score from A to G. It’s not the sort of thing people frame and put on the wall, but it does contain some useful information for homeowners.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
It’s been a legal requirement since 2007 and is used to assess your property’s energy efficiency and approximate energy costs. The certificate also suggests recommended upgrades specific to your property that could help you reduce energy use and save money, along with ballpark cost estimates for these improvements.
Much like school grades, the ratings range from A to G. The most efficient rating is A and the least efficient rating is G. The only difference is that your property can’t fail an EPC, and the assessment isn’t carried out in complete silence (because, well, that would be weird).
In the case of EPCs, a higher rating simply means that your property is probably better insulated and more energy efficient. Several things are taken into consideration:
- Loft insulation and wall insulation.
- Double glazing.
- Age and condition of the boiler.
- Heating controls.
- Energy-saving lightbulbs.
But some buildings don’t even need an EPC
Most freehold and leasehold properties in the UK need an EPC. Although there are a few exceptions, the reality is that most properties let within the private rented sector will need to comply. Some exclusions and exemptions are:
- Residential buildings intended to be used for less than 4 months a year.
- Temporary buildings with a planned timed use of 2 years or less.
- ‘Stand-alone’ buildings with a total usable floor area of less than 50 sq. metres.
- Certain protected or listed buildings and monuments.
- If a property does not have an EPC, or the EPC has expired without there being a further trigger requiring one to be obtained, the property will fall outside the scope of the regulations.
Under certain circumstances, landlords may qualify for an exemption, which must be registered on the Public Exemptions Register. Examples of possible exemptions include:
- If a tenant refuses to give consent for improvement works to be carried out
- If carrying out the necessary works would devalue the property by more than 5%.
- In addition, the requirement to comply only extends to ‘appropriate, permissible and cost-effective’ improvements.
It’s also worth noting that, if you rent out rooms in your house, you don’t need an EPC because it’s not classed as an individual dwelling.
To double-check if your property needs an EPC, read up on the full list of exemptions here.
EPC regulations for landlords
If you’re renting out a property, new energy efficiency standards came into force from 1 April 2018 requiring rental properties to have an EPC rating of E or above. From this date, landlords will not be able to let or renew the tenancy on a property rated F or G. For existing tenancies, the property must meet standards by 1 April 2020.
Tighter regulations mean that, even though you can legally live in an F-rated or G-rated property as a homeowner, you can’t rent it to tenants. This helps tenants to enjoy a better living environment and lower heating bills, while also avoiding unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year, the government estimated that one in ten rented properties had an energy efficiency rating of F or G. These properties could soon become impossible to let unless landlords have taken steps to bring these ratings to E or above. If your property falls within that 10%, read our recommendations below for the best energy efficiency improvements you can make.
How to get an EPC
Now you’ve figured out whether you need one or not, here’s how to get your hands on an EPC – whether you’re thinking about renting or selling your property, or you’re simply curious to know how the energy efficiency of your home stacks up against the average.
The first step is to find a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). You have to be accredited to carry out an EPC. You can find an assessor through the EPC register or contact your local estate agents.
You can even check the EPC rating on your neighbour’s property to give you an idea of how your home compares to others in the street. If you don’t want your property to appear in EPC search results, you can opt out of the list here.
How much does an EPC cost?
As a rough guide, you should budget around £60–£120 for an EPC certificate. The exact cost depends on factors such as the size of the property, and the assessment itself should take around an hour to complete (with a bit of waiting time for the report to come through afterwards).
EPC certificates are valid for 10 years. For landlords, the fines can be up to £5,000 for breaking the rules, so it’s worth making sure you have a valid EPC certificate and that your property meets the minimum energy efficiency requirements to rent out.
Energy Performance Certificates are easy enough to sort out when it comes to selling or renting your home. Whether you book one directly with a Domestic Energy Assessor or arrange the assessment through your estate agent, the certificate will give you a good handle on the energy efficiency of your home and ways that you can save money. If you have any questions about arranging an EPC certificate for properties in East London, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our full list of property advice articles in our Knowledge Centre.
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