When you become a landlord, there’s so many things you need to think about. Deposit protection schemes, contracts, notice periods and EPC certificates.
EPC certificates sound scary and complicated. There’s conflicting advice to be found on the internet as to when you need one and how to get away with not having one, but we’d encourage you not to trust anything unless it was written by someone who knows what they’re talking about. Not having appropriate energy documentation when you need it can have serious consequences.
To help you, we’ve compiled this easy guide to EPC certificates.
What is an EPC Certificate?
Energy Performance Certificates are a legal requirement for any building you’re looking to sell, let or construct. You must be able to produce it for anyone looking to buy or rent your property.
You’ll need a proper energy assessor to complete your assessment and record your data, which they can do on site or at home. You can find a registered assessor here.
The results of your EPC will be stored on the central register.
Do I need one?
It is likely that you do. In 2018, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards were introduced, and it is now a legal requirement for all privately-owned properties to have an EPC rating of at least E before being sold or let.
This applies to both domestic and commercial properties.
You can be fined up to £150,000 if you try to let or sell a commercial property and you don’t have an EPC. For domestic properties, fines can be as high as £5,000.
What is the point of an EPC assessment?
An EPC assessment rates your property based on its ability to save energy. Your home will be inspected and graded from A to G. Grade A buildings are well-insulated and probably modern. Properties graded G are likely to be older and draughty. It is probable that someone who purchases or rents a building graded G will need to spend more money on heating and powering the property than they would if they bought or rented a building graded A.
Your EPC certificate will indicate the average costs required to heat and power a home based on its grade.
Finally, EPC certificates break down the energy saving performance of individual aspects of your building, such as the walls, the roof, the floors and the windows. This will give you a good idea of how you can improve the EPC rating of your property. A good EPC grade is going to be attractive to potential buyers or letters, so take this advice seriously.
EPC certificates help renters and buyers make informed decisions.
What happens during an EPC assessment?
Energy assessors will access all rooms in your property, including your loft and basement. They’ll have a good look around, inspecting your heating systems and controls. They’re professionals and will be able to assess your property based on what they see visually.
How long do Energy Performance Certificates last?
Once completed, your EPC is valid for 10 years. If you recently acquired a property, you might find that a previous owner obtained an EPC very recently. You can use this EPC to present to potential buyers or renters until it runs out, but you must have it available before you put your property on the market.
What if I don’t get an EPC?
You can be fined if you don’t get an EPC when you need one. The fine is 12.5% of the relatable value of the building, with a fixed penalty of £750 when a value cannot be applied.
Are there any exceptions?
As a rule, you won’t need an EPC if you’re a resident landlord and you’re renting out a room. Listed buildings are also often exempt because they can’t have upgrades that cause structural changes but would improve the energy efficiency of the property, for example double glazing.
These aren’t the only exemptive circumstances. You won’t need an EPC if:
- Your building is a place of worship
- Your building is temporary and will be used for less than two years.
- Your building is stand-alone and has a total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres.
- You own an industrial site, workshop or non-residential agricultural building that doesn’t use a lot of energy.
- Some of the buildings on your site are due to be demolished.
- Your buildings are holiday accommodation and are let for less than 4 months a year or under a licence to occupy.
- Your building is residential and is intended to be used less than 4 months a year.
Where can I find a copy of the EPC for my property?
If you have the report reference number (RRN) you can retrieve a copy of your EPC by checking the appropriate register.
If you’re in England and Wales, you’ll find it here.
In Scotland? It’s here.
For properties in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to click this link.
If you’re not sure if you need an EPC, JMR Solicitors can help you. Call us on 0161 491 3933 or use our contact form to get in touch for expert advice around Energy Performance Certificates.