In this article
- The landlord’s responsibilities related to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- The law related to EPCs
- The benefits of an energy efficient property
An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate which is produced by a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). An EPC gives a property a rating based its energy efficiency and its carbon dioxide emissions. The ratings for an EPC go from A which is the most efficient to G which is the least efficient and once an EPC has been created it will remain valid for a period of ten years. An EPC rating is calculated based on the construction of a property, the type of dwelling, the type of boiler, insulation, double glazing and heating systems that are in place.
EPCs do not only contain efficiency and emissions ratings, they also have recommendations on how to make a property more energy efficient and information on the estimated fuel costs for a property.
EPCs were first mentioned in the Energy Performance of Buildings Certificate of Inspection (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and state that “An EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent” – the full legislation can be found here.
This EPC law has been in force since the 1st October 2008 and it means that all letting agents and landlords must have an EPC for all of their rental properties. If they do not they are breaking the law and if they are caught attempting to rent a property without one, they can face penalties.
The public can check out an EPC for a property using the EPC Register which can be found on the Landmark website. This is very easy to search – just type in the postcode and all EPCs recorded for that street will be shown; to find the relevant EPC just click onto the house number. If there is no EPC in place you need to know why.
What the law means
If you are interested in renting a property from a landlord or letting agent they must show you an EPC that is valid. It is against the law to advertise a property for rent without an EPC. If you didn’t know you had to see an EPC before you signed a tenancy agreement, and you have learned that your home does not have one, you can make a complaint to your local Trading Standards office.
Trading Standards will advise the landlord or letting agents that an EPC needs to be produced for the property in question and if they do not comply they can be fined £200.
Benefits of an energy efficient property
On the surface many tenants may think that an EPC is just another piece of red tape, but it isn’t. An EPC can actually help tenants in the following ways:
- You can see how energy efficient a property is before signing a tenancy agreement. If the property has a lower rating tenants can try to agree on a discount in rent until alterations are made to increase its rating
- EPCs can help you to budget as you will have an idea of how much you can afford to spend on rent, when you have an idea of how much your utilities will be
- EPCs will also show the carbon dioxide emissions that a property is responsible for, so if you are concerned about the environmental impact you have the EPC comprises information that can help you reduce your carbon footprint
- EPCs will contain information on how to make a property more energy efficient; this in theory, means that your landlord or letting agent should have made these changes to make the property more appealing to tenants
To get a clearer indication of the money you will save if your rental home is A rated compared with one that is G rated, take a look at these figures based on the yearly costs of using a boiler:
|Detached home||Semi detached home||Flat||Bungalow||Terrace|
|A rated boiler||£1142||£842||£587||£731||£756|
|G rated boiler||£1773||£1288||£875||£1109||£1150|
Other savings include
- Switching light bulbs to energy efficient versions – £35 per year.
- Insulating the loft of a property with mineral wool to a depth of 270mm will save you, on average £185 compared with a property with no insulation
- Cavity wall insulation can create savings of up to £140 per year
- Wall insulation can save anything from £400 – £500 per year. If the property has internal and external insulation this figure can be doubled
- Double glazing can save you up to £170 per year
- All rental properties must have a valid EPC
- EPCs can only be produced by a Domestic Energy Assessor
- A rated properties are the most energy efficient and can offer excellent savings each year in terms of utilities
- You can contact your local Trading Standards office if a landlord or agent will not provide an EPC for a rental property that you are interested in
- You can check out if a property has an EPC by using the Landmark website