Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in England and Wales back in 2007 as part of Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms. This requirement has since extended and having a valid EPC is now a requirement if you are a selling, renting or building a property in the UK. Given the current status of the planet in terms of conserving resources this is no bad thing. Environmental issues aside, it is also a wise move for us financially. One of the biggest financial drains over the course of your tenancy or your home’s lifetime is energy bills. This is exacerbated by ever increasing energy costs. In this post, we explain why people need EPCs and what they are used for.
What do EPCs measure?
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) provide an estimate on how energy efficient a building is, giving it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They can act as an indicator of how costly the building will be to heat and light, and what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be. The EPC will also highlight ways to achieve a better rating and state what the energy-efficiency rating could be if the suggested improvements are made. Even if you rent your home or are a landlord not currently looking to sell any time soon – it is worth considering the suggestions highlighted on your EPC certificate. Doing so could reduce your utility bills and make the house more desirable to both renters and future buyers.
To summarise, an EPC will state your property’s:
- Energy efficiency rating
- Estimated costs of running your home
- Summary of energy performance related features
There is a lot of information online about how this is displayed and what it means.
Why are they required?
From April 2018, landlords have been legally required to achieve a minimum rating of E on the EPC for any rental property. And they can face penalties of up to £4,000 if they do not meet this minimum efficiency requirement! In addition, tenants can seek permission from their landlord to undertake energy efficiency measures on their privately rented property.
You also need to be able to provide a valid EPC to potential buyers as soon as you start to market your property for sale or rent. If you are looking to sell or rent your property, you absolutely need one. The only exceptions are specialised buildings, such as churches, temporary buildings and listed properties (check the government’s dedicated EPC site). If you implement any of the energy efficiency recommendations outlined in your EPC, you may wish to get a fresh EPC done to include these improvements.
If you really are an ‘eco warrior’, can now apply to receive payments from your energy supplier through the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) when you generate your own electricity, such as with solar panels or wind turbines. To receive FITs at the standard rate, you need to prove your home has an EPC rating of band D or above (and generates its own electricity). If this is something you are implementing or working towards, you will need an EPC.
Who completes and regulates them?
EPCs are valid for 10 years from when issued and only accredited Domestic Energy Assessors can produce valid EPCs. You must get an approved Domestic Energy Assessor to produce the EPC. Visit Landmark to view the energy performance certificate register (all approved EPC organisations in England and Wales). If selling or renting your home through an estate agent, they may be able to help arrange for the EPC to be completed for you.
How much does it cost to get an EPC certificate?
The fee for an EPC depends on property type, location and how many bedrooms it has. Prices typically start at £35, but can vary from £35 to £120. A certificate for a large house in an expensive area can cost more. If you are a tenant or potential buyer, you should not be charged for an EPC – this should be provided free of charge. If it is not, the seller or landlord could be fined £200. The EPC register stores existing certificates and allows homeowners to find a registered domestic energy assessor to conduct a review of their property.
Since costs vary, it is worth shopping around and comparing a few different quotes — as long as you make sure your assessor is registered. Find an assessor in your area by checking on the EPD register.
If you are looking to obtain an EPC for your property in South West London, get in touch with James Anderson. We are the longest established, independent estate agents in this area. Our professional and friendly team would be happy to provide advice whether you are a potential buyer or current tenant.