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Energy performance certificates

All you need to know about EPCs

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Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
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Reviewed by  Joe Minihane
5 min read
Updated: 09 Jun 2023

You’ll need an Energy Performance certificate to sell or rent your property

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate – or EPC – is a four-page document which sets out the energy efficiency of a property on a traffic light system of A to G – A being the most efficient.

An EPC provides an indication of how much it will cost to heat and power a property, as well as how much CO2 it emits. It also includes recommendations of energy-efficient improvements, the cost of carrying them out, and the potential savings in pounds and pence that each one could generate.

Ratings range from A to G. A is the score given to the most efficient homes and businesses, while G is the lowest, reserved for properties that incur the highest costs and emit the most CO2. Scores above 92 gain an A, while anything below 20 will score a G.

An EPC shows the numerical score for potential and current energy savings. These come with recommendations to boost energy efficiency, such as improving insulation or switching to modern light bulbs. The latter is something renters as well as owners can do, potentially saving money on their bills in the process.

EPCs are valid for 10 years.


What do EPC ratings mean?

It can be hard to understand what EPC ratings mean at first glance. Put simply, ratings are scored from 0-100 with categories from A to G.

The higher your score, the more energy efficient your property. All EPCs show you a simple graphic with A shaded green, grading all the way down to G in red, a rating reserved for the least energy efficient properties.

Higher ratings are for properties that have the best insulation, whether within flooring or wall cavities, use efficient heating systems and have windows and doors which do not cause too much heat to escape. Even small things, like the kind of lightbulbs that are used, are taken into consideration.

Certificates show the current score and the potential, with pointers for you to improve the rating.

When do I need an EPC?

You will need an EPC within seven days of a property being marketed for sale or for rent – although if you are using an estate agent or letting agent, they should do this on your behalf.

EPCs became a legal requirement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2008, and in Scotland in 2009.

Sellers and landlords who do not have an EPC can be fined up to £5,000.

You may also want to update your EPC if you’ve made major improvements to your property which boost its energy efficiency, improving your EPC rating in the process. If you are planning on making changes to your property, it’s also worth considering booking in an EPC assessment once the work is done. It could even increase the value of your home.

Do I need an EPC on commercial property?

If you own a commercial property, you will need an EPC in the following scenarios:

  • You rent out or sell your premises

  • A building under construction is completed

  • Changes are made to the parts of the building for separate occupation (such as additions to heating and ventilation systems

There are certain EPC exemptions for business premises, as laid out by the government. This includes:

  • Listed buildings where changes would make unacceptable alterations

  • A temporary building being used for two years or less

  • A place of worship

  • An industrial site that doesn’t use much energy

To find out more head to our Energy Performance Certificate for Business page.

How do I get an Energy Performance Certificate?

EPCs must be carried out by an accredited domestic energy assessor which you can source in your area at the government’s official EPC register.

However, if you are using an estate agent to sell your home or letting agent to rent it, it should be part of their job to ensure there is a valid EPC on the property.

Can you get an EPC online?

While you can book an EPC online, it requires a physical survey of your home by an accredited domestic energy assessor. 

What is the EPC register?

The EPC register lets you see all existing certificates for any property in the country. It also lets you find an accredited assessor in case you need to get a new EPC for your home or business.

You can easily find and download an EPC for your property for free. If it was undertaken within the last 10 years, you do not have to get a new one. You can find the EPC register here.

Can you fail an EPC?

An EPC is a survey which ranks your property on a scale of A to G – there is no pass or fail.

However, if you are renting out your home, the law requires the EPC to show a minimum rating of E for all new tenancies and – as from 2020 – all existing tenancies. This means you will need to request access to the property for the EPC to be carried out.

Can you let a property with an EPC rating of F?

No – if you are renting your property and the EPC returns a rating of F or below (G), the law says you must carry out the recommended works to a cost of up to £3,500 (inclusive of VAT).

The government has pledged to increase the minimum EPC score to C for privately rented homes by 2030.

Will I always need an EPC?

There are a handful of scenarios under which you would not require an EPC. For example, if your property is listed, protected, or in conservation area, some energy-efficient improvements could unacceptably alter the appearance of the property.

If you’re in doubt, check with the local authority’s conservation officer. 

A rented room within a house will not require an EPC either, although a self-contained flat within a larger house that has its own front door and facilities, will.

How much does an EPC cost?

There is no uniform fee for an EPC – it will depend on factors such as the size and type of property – but prices tend to start at around £60. 

It’s worth getting quotes from a few energy assessors in your area, which you can source from the EPC register.

How often do you need an EPC certificate?

The EPC relates to the property, not the person who commissioned it and – once completed – it is valid for 10 years.  EPCs can be reused multiple times during this period. 

Does my property have an Energy Performance Certificate?

It’s easy to find out if a property already has an EPC – just type your address in to the government register.  If it does have a valid EPC, you can download it as a PDF and save it for free.

What if I have a question about my EPC?

If you don’t understand something on your EPC, or it doesn’t seem right, first contact the energy assessor who carried out the report. Their details should be listed in the ‘about this document’ section.

If they can’t resolve your issue, you can contact the accreditation scheme – details of which will also be listed on your EPC.

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