Law guide: Landlords

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Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Contents

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency rating of a building. Once produced, an EPC is valid for 10 years.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you must provide an EPC for all new tenancies, free of charge. In Scotland, while you must have an EPC available, it is only required that you give it to new tenants. It doesn't have to be provided where existing tenants renew their tenancy.

An Energy Assessor must carry out the assessment and produce the EPC. They'll also produce a report with recommendations about how the energy performance of the property could be improved. The assessor will charge a market-based fee to provide the EPC and report.

The assessor must be accredited to provide an EPC. You can find accredited assessors, or check whether an assessor is registered in England, Wales and Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

When to provide the EPC

You must have a valid EPC before you can let the property to prospective new tenants. You must make it available to them before you enter into a tenancy agreement. For example, you could give them the EPC and report during a viewing, or with other written information about the property.

However, you don't have to make the EPC and report available if you genuinely believe that:

  • The prospective tenant is unlikely to rent the property from you (or have sufficient funds to rent it).
  • You're unlikely to rent the property to the prospective tenant (although this doesn't authorise unlawful discrimination).

What the EPC shows

The EPC gives information about the energy efficiency of a building, and gives it a rating (on a scale similar to the rating system for white goods, such as fridges and washing machines). The rating gives an indication of how much it will cost to heat a property; this can help tenants to compare energy efficiency between properties and decide whether or not to rent a property.

The energy performance rating is based on the age, location, size and condition of the building and services, such as heating and lighting (rather than the domestic appliances within it). It shows 2 ratings:

  • Energy efficiency rating (a measure of a home's overall efficiency). The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.
  • Environmental impact rating (a measure of a home's impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions). The higher the rating, the less impact the home has on the environment.

Report and recommendations

The EPC is accompanied by a report, providing information and recommendations about how the energy efficiency of the building could be improved, including:

  • cost-effective improvements; and
  • further improvements (that could achieve higher standards but aren't necessarily cost effective).

For each recommendation, the level of cost, typical savings per year and the performance rating after the improvement are listed.

The potential energy efficiency rating shown on the EPC is based on all the cost-effective improvements being implemented. There's currently no requirement to implement the report's recommendations.

If you don't provide an EPC

If you don't provide an EPC, your local authority could issue a penalty notice. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you could be fined up to £5,000. You must still provide an EPC even if the fine is paid. In Scotland you could be fined £500.

In England for tenancies starting on or after 1 October 2015, failure to provide the EPC will mean that you cannot use the accelerated possession procedure. This is likely to be the case for tenancies before 1 October 2015, but the law is not definitive on this matter at present.