Landlords' Energy Performance Certificats (EPCs)
What are EPC's?
An Energy Performance Certificate shows information on your property's energy efficiency and environmental impact (carbon dioxide emissions). It is similar to the certifcates provided with domestic appliances such as washing machines and fridges. The data are shown on a scale of A - G alongside the potential energy efficiency and emissions if various recommendations were implemented. The Certificate itself comes with a report containing recommended suggestions for reducing running costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
Who needs an EPC?
Since 1 October 2008, landlords letting a residential property are legally required to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate. The requirement applies to all self-contained properties. It does not currently apply where someone is letting a room in their own home.
Estate agents and letting agents must ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before they can market a property for sale or rent.
An EPC is not required where a property was occupied by a tenant prior to 1 October 2008 and continues to be occupied by the same tenant.
What exactly are the requirements?
A landlord must obtain an EPC before letting a dwelling. The full EPC (including the recommendation section) must be made available to any potential tenant or tenants free of charge "at the earliest opportunity". This means when they come to view the property or when they request written information about it. It is not stictly necessary to provide them with a copy at this stage; it sufficient to show them a copy and give them an opportunity to read it.
Additionally, once an agreement has been reached to let the property, but before the tenancy agreement is signed, a full copy of the EPC must be provided to the incoming tenant(s). The Landlord is not permitted to make a charge for this either. The copy can be provided electronically.
From 9 January 2013, all sales or lettings advertisements in the commercial media must show the EPC rating of the property being advertised. There is no requirement to provide the full EPC certificate, but where there is adequate space, the advertisement should show the A-G graph. Where this is not possible (for example, because of space constraints) the actual rating (eg "C") must be stated. A fine of £200 can be imposed on any landlord or letting agent who fails to comply.
How long does an EPC last?An EPC is valid for 10 years and can be re-used as many times as required during that period.
Are there any penalties for failing to comply?
The law is enforced by the local authority trading standards department. If they receive a complaint that an EPC has not been provided, they can impose a fine on you of £200 for each breach. Additionally, the government is currently considering whether to enforce a minimum energy efficiency rating for privately rented properties. Potentially, this could mean that landlords are barred from renting out any property with a rating below the minimum level (expected to be E) from April 2018. See our blog article here for more information.
Where can I get an EPC?
Energy Performance Certificates must be provided by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. There are many individuals and companies able to provide EPC's. We do not currently offer any recommendations but typing 'Landlord EPC' or 'Landlord Energy Peformance Certificate' into a search engine should provide you with a range of competing suppliers. Alternatively, have a look at the ads on the right of this page.
How much does an EPC cost?
Prices vary but typical cost is between £40 and £60.