An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a key part of meeting your legal responsibilities as a landlord.
Landlords are required by law to have an EPC before marketing their properties for rent, and all rental properties must meet minimum energy efficiency standards. With significant penalties for non-compliance, all landlords must understand the EPC regulations. In this article, we answer our most frequently asked questions on energy performance certificates for rental properties.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An energy performance certificate shows how energy efficient a property is. The property is given a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Properties with better ratings can be expected to have lower energy bills and smaller environmental footprint. The EPC also includes a list of recommendations on how to improve the property’s EPC rating.
At the top of an EPC is a chart, like the one above, that shows both the current energy efficiency rating and the rating that could be achieved if the recommendations are implemented.
Prospective tenants can view this information and compare the relative running costs and environmental impact of rental properties.
When do I need an EPC?
An EPC needs to be available to prospective tenants as soon as you begin marketing the property to rent. Landlords and letting agents should ensure that the marketing advertising the property includes the building’s EPC rating.
Legislation requires that you provide your tenants with a valid EPC at the beginning of the tenancy. Failure to do this will prevent landlords from serving a section 21 notice to evict their tenants.
How do I get an EPC?
Your Energy Performance Certificate must be produced by an accredited energy assessor. Find one in your local area from the government register. If you use a letting agent, they will be able to arrange one for you.
What does an EPC inspection involve?
The energy assessor will visit your property and assess key areas that determine the property’s energy efficiency. This includes:
- wall, floor and loft insulation
- the boiler, heating system and heating controls
- the hot water tank
- the windows
- the lighting
The assessor inputs their observations into a software program that calculates the energy efficiency rating and produces a certificate. The procedure is non-invasive, so the assessor may have to make assumptions based on the age and type of property.
How much does an EPC cost?
There is no fixed cost for an EPC; it depends on the size and type of your rental property. Expect to pay between £75 and £100 for a four-bedroom house. As prices will vary between assessors, you may find you can save money by getting several quotes.
Do I have to improve the EPC rating of my rental property?
It is a legal requirement that all residential landlords ensure that their properties achieve a minimum EPC rating of E.
If your property is in band F or G, you must improve the property’s rating to E or register an exemption. You will only be able to register an exemption if you have made all suggested improvements up to the cost cap of £3,500 or your EPC says there are no improvements that can be made. The exception will last five years, after which you must try again to improve the property’s rating to E or register another exception.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Landlords can face a £200 fine for failing to supply an energy performance certificate. Landlords found renting a property with an EPC rating of F or G (without a valid exception) face penalty charges of up to £4,000 per property.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
The good news for Wimbledon landlords is that most properties in the area do not require any improvement to achieve an EPC rating of E.
Landlords who do make improvements to enhance their properties energy efficiency usually recoup much of the costs as the property will be more attractive to potential tenants, reducing the likelihood of void periods and enabling the property to command higher rents.
Improve your rating by making energy-efficient improvements, such as:
- Adding cavity wall or loft insulation
- Upgrading to double glazing
- Replacing an old boiler
- Installing radiators with thermostatic valves
- Using low energy light bulbs
When should I renew my rental property’s EPC?
You must renew your rental property’s EPC every 10 years. You may want to renew earlier than this if you have undertaken work that would improve your rating.
How can I get a copy of my EPC?
For properties in England and Wales, you can retrieve your property’s energy performance certificate from the government’s online database.
There are separate registers for properties in Scotland and Northern Ireland:
Are any changes expected in the future?
The government have proposed that the minimum energy efficiency standard should be increased to band B by 2030. This is planned to be implemented in two phases; by April 2027 all rental properties will be required to have an EPC rating of C then in April 2030 the minimum level will be band B.
For properties that cannot meet this standard, landlords must make all cost-effective improvements possible and register a valid exemption.
For an up to date valuation of the rental value of your property in Wimbledon, Southfields, Kingston Hill or Coombe Hill, contact Robert Holmes & Co today.