Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are now essential for any property being built, sold or let. With the new changes brought in during April 2020, many sellers and landlords have lots of questions about EPC. We aim to provide simple answers to questions like “How long does an EPC last?” and all the other most searched-for queries online. Whether you’re letting or selling, stay informed with this essential guide.
What is an EPC and why do I need one?
An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate. You need a current, valid EPC to demonstrate how energy-efficient your home is. This lets potential buyers understand how much they are likely to have to pay in energy bills.
After assessing your property, a qualified assessor will award it a rating from “A” to “G”. “A” is the highest rating, and “G” is the lowest.
Is an EPC a legal requirement?
In the UK, if you want to rent or sell your property, having a valid EPC is a legal requirement. Since April 2020, it became mandatory to achieve at least an “E” rating. If a property has an “F” or “G” rating, the owner must improve it until it can be reassessed and achieve at least an “E” rating.
Failing to do this leaves the owner open to a fine of up to £5,000.
Who is responsible for obtaining an EPC?
If a property is on the market for rent or sale, the owner is responsible for obtaining an EPC. If the building is newly constructed, the developer is responsible. They must get an EPC for the property within 5 days of finishing construction.
How do you get an EPC certificate?
You can get an EPC certificate by booking an accredited domestic energy assessor. You can find assessors in your area through the government’s official EPC register.
How long does an EPC last?
An EPC lasts for 10 years in the UK. The EPC shows the energy efficiency of your property, rated from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
In Scotland, it is a legal requirement to display your EPC physically within the property. This might be in the boiler cupboard or close to the meter.
Do I need to renew an EPC during a tenancy?
Yes, you need to renew your EPC during a tenancy if it has expired. As of 1 April 2020, any rental property must have a valid EPC showing that the property achieves the minimum EPC rating of E.
To renew your EPC you’ll need to find an accredited assessor. They will assess the property and provide you with a new EPC that will be valid for 10 years.
What happens when EPC expires?
When your EPC expires you must renew it if you have a tenant letting the property, or if you are marketing the property to let or sell. The link to accredited assessors above provides information on finding someone to renew your expired EPC.
How do I know if my EPC is valid?
To find out if your EPC is valid, you can use the checker at www.epcregister.com. For a domestic EPC, follow the link to access domestic EPC registers. This page will then allow you to view your report by using either your Report Reference Number or your property address.
Can you fail an EPC?
Although you cannot technically ‘fail’ an EPC, if your home does not achieve a minimum rating of E, it cannot be let out to tenants. It can be sold, but buyers will not be able to get a buy-to-let mortgage on a property with a rating of F or G.
Some exemptions do apply – for period properties or holiday homes for example – but this claim must be registered by the landlord. You’ll find Government guidance on exemptions here.
How often does EPC need to be done?
An EPC is valid for a period of ten years. You will need to hold a valid EPC for your property if you are letting it to tenants, or plan to market the property as for let or for sale.
If you make improvements to your property in order to improve its EPC rating you may wish to order an updated EPC. This can be done at any time.
What is a bad EPC rating?
The lowest possible EPC ratings are F and G, while the highest are A and B. The average EPC rating for a UK home is D.
More modern properties are likely to achieve ratings of B or C. Meanwhile, older homes are more likely to be rated at D or E. E is the minimum requirement if you wish to let out the property.
What are the new EPC regulations?
The new EPC regulations state that, since 1 April 2020 it is not lawful for a landlord to let, or market a property to let, without a minimum EPC rating of E for that property. This also applies to renewals and the continuation of existing tenancies.
How are EPC calculated?
A property’s EPC rating is calculated by a qualified assessor who surveys your property and compiles a score for its energy efficiency and impact on the environment. The assessor will look at where your property might lose energy or heat, checking insulation and the efficiency of the heating/water system.
They will also look at the type of glazing you have and how energy efficient fixtures like light bulbs are. These will be added up as a points system to give an EPC grading for the property as follows:
A: 92-100 SAP pointsB: 81-91 SAP pointsC: 69-80 SAP pointsD: 55-68 SAP pointsE: 39-54 SAP pointsF: 21-38 SAP pointsG: 1-20 SAP points
Do I need a new EPC to sell my house?
Yes, you will need a valid EPC to sell your house. An existing EPC can be used if it is still valid (they last for ten years), but if you do not have an EPC for the property this must be obtained within seven days of marketing the property.
How can you improve your EPC rating?
You can improve your EPC rating by improving the energy efficiency of your property. Common ways to achieve this include installing double glazing, improving or installing loft installation, switching to energy-saving lightbulbs, adding wall insulation and renewing your boiler.
Can I sell a property with an EPC rating of F?
Yes, you can sell a property with an EPC rating of F or G. However it may be tough to find a buyer as they will likely have to consider the added cost of modernising the property to improve its energy efficiency.
Buyers who are looking for a buy-to-let property will not buy a property with an EPC rating of F or G. They will not be able to get a buy-to-let mortgage for this type of property as it would be illegal to let it out with that EPC rating.
Why is my EPC rating so low?
Your EPC rating can be dragged down lower than you expected by just one major factor. Common culprits include no or electric heating, poorly insulated walls that cause heat loss, and insufficient loft insulation.
You also need to prove that you have certain types of insulation. If a feature is not obvious to the assessor and you don’t have documents for it, they will not take it into account when assessing your property. Your EPC will include ideas for improving your rating.
Do I need a new EPC if I change my boiler?
If you want the benefit of the new boiler to be shown in your EPC then yes, you will need to commission a new EPC, including a survey. it is not possible to update or amend an existing EPC – a brand new certificate will be needed.
How much does an EPC cost in the UK?
An EPC will generally start at around £60 in the UK, but this will vary greatly depending on the size and location of your property. It’s a good idea to shop around and get some quotes from different energy assessors – you’ll find these on the EPC register.
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