Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a guide that would-be buyers or tenants get when they look at a property. It shows how efficiently a home uses energy, the cost of running a home and recommendations of how to improve the energy efficiency of the property.
When should you get an EPC?
As a general rule, an EPC is required every time a home is put up for sale or for rent. So, a newly constructed home will have one, a landlord will need one to show potential tenants, and a seller must have one to show to potential buyers.
There are a few exceptions. You don't need one for a room that's being rented out by a resident landlord and listed buildings may also be exempt as they can't have upgrades like double glazing.
The requirement for an EPC has been the law since 2008 (2009 in Scotland), meaning that if your home has been let or sold since then it should have one. They remain valid for 10 years.
There's a national register of EPCs, unless you've opted out, where you can take a look at your property's previous certificates (as well as viewing similar properties in your neighbourhood for a comparison of how energy efficient your home is).
Do I need to buy an EPC when buying or renting a property?
You should never be charged for an EPC when you're looking to buy or rent, it should be handed over free of charge - otherwise the seller or landlord could be fined £200.
If you're a landlord or seller, you'll need to at least get this certificate ordered before you put the property on the market (you may be able to use the EPC given to you when you bought the property if it's still valid).
If you own a commercial property that you want to sell or lease, you'll also need to get an EPC organised.
If you're interested in the energy performance of your existing home, and don't match the eligibility criteria mentioned above, there is nothing stopping you from getting one commissioned for your home for personal use - but you will have to pay for it.
How much does an EPC cost?
There's no fixed fee for an EPC, it depends on a number of factors including what kind of property you live in and how many bedrooms it has. The area you live in can also affect the price considerably.
EPC prices typically start at £35, but a certificate for a large house in an expensive city could easily cost several times that.
What information is displayed on an EPC?
An EPC is a relatively straightforward certificate. It will look a bit like the multi-coloured sticker that you get on new household appliances.
Here's a quick rundown of what's included:
Energy efficiency rating
A section of your EPC will be dedicated to how energy efficient your property is. It's graded from A to G, with A meaning an energy efficient, well-insulated, probably modern home, and G meaning a draughty old building where the wind rattles the walls.
Typically, you'll find an older property with no retrofitted energy-saving technology will be around a D grade.
There will also be a number from 1 - 100, where a higher number signifies that the home is more efficient and the fuel bills will cost less.
Estimated costs of running your home
Your EPC will give an indication of how much it will cost to heat and power your home. Details are also listed on potential savings that could be made should you improve the energy efficiency of your household running costs.
Summary of energy performance related features
This section of the EPC will give you an indication of how energy efficient different aspects of your home are. It can act as a useful guide to help you work out which areas to focus on first when improving your home's efficiency.
Changes to EPCs for landlords and tenants
From April 2018, landlords will be required to achieve a minimum rating of E on the EPC for their rental property. Unless there is an accepted exemption, landlords face a penalty of up to £4,000 for failure to meet the minimum efficiency requirement.
The information provided on EPCs is also helpful for tenants looking to improve the energy efficiency of their home. As of April 2016, tenants can now seek permission from their landlord to undertake energy efficiency measures on their privately rented property.
Who can carry out an EPC?
An accredited domestic energy assessor will need to issue you with your EPC, it's not something you can do by yourself.
You might be offered the services of one via an estate agent or letting agent, but you can find your own if you prefer or want to compare prices. You can also visit the EPC Register for recommendations.
What if I have a question about my EPC?
If you don't understand something on your certificate or you disagree with it, the first place to go is the energy assessor that carried out the EPC - their details should be available in the 'About this document' section.
But if they can't resolve your issue, you can contact their accreditation scheme, and the details will also be listed in the same section of the certificate.