EPC – 5 things you need to know
In light of the EPC celebrating its 10th birthday this Autumn, we thought we’d share with you our thoughts on the significance of this event, as well as some important information on EPC’s and what the future holds for energy standards and regulations.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a guide that is used to score the efficiency of a property, often used by buyers when looking at a property. The certificate will tell you three key bits of information: a grade from A-G for the efficiency of the property (A being the most efficient, and G being the least); some suggestions for improving the property’s efficiency – this could be anything from installing double glazing to replacing regular light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs; and it will give an indication to what rating the property has the potential to achieve based on the suggested improvements. These main points are just a guideline, but they do indicate how much it costs to run the property and by following the suggestions you set yourself up to save you money as well as making the property look more attractive down the line if/when you decide to sell it.
Why do I need an EPC?
A property (domestic or commercial) is required to have an EPC before it can be sold or leased. If the EPC that was given to you is still valid you will be able to use that, but as a seller or landlord you must be able to show prospective tenants/buyers an up to date EPC. There are some exceptions to this, for example if you’re a resident landlord renting out a room it’s not required. The same goes for any listed buildings, industrial sites and places of worship. From the 1st April 2018, new ‘Minimum Energy Efficient Standards’ (MEES) will take effect, meaning a landlord cannot grant a new tenancy of the property with an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating below an E, furthermore from April 2020 all rented properties must have an efficiency rating of E or better.
How can I improve my rating?
When a property receives an EPC certificate, it will come with a set of recommendations on how to improve your rating. These alterations may include activities such as:
• Increasing loft insulation
• Replacing lighting
• Changing your boiler
• Draught proofing
Completing any of the recommendations will help to improve the EPC rating of a property. The certificate will also provide information on the estimated costs of these activities, and the predicted savings from making these changes.
Failure to have an EPC
Simply put, it is against the law to advertise a property without having a valid EPC. As a landlord or seller, you must get the certificate before the property can go on the market otherwise you will face penalties. As a seller, having the EPC allows you to make your property more marketable if you are able to make it more efficient. Even if you are not selling or letting, it is still in your favour to get an EPC, as you can look at ways of making your home cheaper to run! More than a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from domestic properties, so there is plenty of room for improvement there even with small changes such as changing the light bulbs or getting insulation.
Why is the EPC’s 10th birthday important?
It means that the earliest EPC’s are now expired, therefore we can no longer assume that an EPC is valid simply because it exists. Buyers and renters need to be more careful and vigilant when looking at a prospective property – an extra check should be done to make sure that the date is within the last 10 years. Fortunately, the implementation of the new MEES in England and Wales from April 2018 is well timed as it will not only encourage landlords to update their EPC’s, but also force many to improve their current standards – something that can only be seen as beneficial in the eyes of families and businesses. On top of this, no longer being able to assume validity will hopefully ensure that there is a drive to improve understanding of energy efficiency and improve enforcement of standards and regulations.
We hope this article has given you some helpful insight into EPC’s. If you are looking to buy or rent a property, you now need to be extra careful when inspecting a certificate. Remember – you have the right to ask to see a certificate, and make sure that it’s less than ten years old! For sellers or landlords, now is the time to make sure your certificate is not only up to scratch, but also that it will meet the new MEES requirements when they take effect in April 2018. Even if you aren’t buying or selling, it’s still important to check your energy efficiency rating – we can all do our bit for the environment and we should all try to be as energy efficient as possible! If you want more information about EPC’s, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to chat with you about this.