A guide to EPC certificates for landlords, buyers and sellers

A guide to EPC certificates for landlords, buyers and sellers

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) might not look much, but it’s actually one of the most important documents any homeowner or landlord has in relation to their property.

An EPC can also be confusing, too, but understanding it, knowing how to get one and being aware of regulations surrounding them is essential when you’re selling your home or renting out a property to tenants.

In this guide, we’ll explain what an EPC is, how you can get one and all the legal aspects around why you need one.

We’ll also answer some common questions surrounding EPCs.


What is an EPC: Do you need one?

If you’re selling your property or you’re a landlord renting out a buy-to-let home, you’ll need an EPC if you want to stay on the right side of the law.

The EPC explains how a property is performing in terms of energy efficiency.

The document shows how energy efficient your property is, as well as providing an estimation of projected energy costs.

It also provides an energy efficiency rating, from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

The certificates were brought in to reduce energy consumption in buildings, which are responsible for around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

Sellers are legally obliged to provide a valid EPC to their buyers when selling, while landlords need to do the same with their tenants.

For landlords, it’s also illegal to rent out a property with an EPC rating below E and while this currently applies to all new tenancies, from 2020 it will be law on all tenancies.


What’s on an EPC?

The main section of an EPC shows a property’s performance rating, from A to G.

The certificate shows the property’s current rating and a projected rating that could be achieved through a series of recommendations, which are outlined on page three of the certificate.

The document also shows the estimated costs of running the property, including projected lighting, heating and hot water expenses.

Finally, an EPC breaks down the energy efficiency of a property according to different elements, such as windows, walls, the floor, roof and the heating and water system, providing a star rating for each element.


How long does an EPC last?

EPCs remain valid for 10 years, so if you’ve been in your property for some time but you’re now selling, there’s a chance you’ll need a new one.

EPCs were first brought in back in 2007, so many property owners will have one, but it’s worth checking before you start the sales process.


How to get an EPC

The best place to start when looking to renew your EPC is online.

The EPC Register website has a list of energy assessors and you can search by postcode to find the nearest to you.


How much is an EPC?

The cost of an EPC varies depending on the size of your property, but generally you can get one for less than £50.

An EPC assessment is the same process regardless of the person providing the assessment, so don’t be duped into paying more than you need to and shop around for the cheapest deal.


EPCs and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

For landlords, it’s not quite as simple as just ensuring you have a valid EPC before renting out a property.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were brought in in 2018 and, since then, renting a property with an EPC rating below E has been illegal.

Of course, you also have to actually supply a valid EPC to your tenants, too, in order to remain on the right side of regulations.


How to improve your property’s energy performance

Whether you’re a landlord or seller, there’s plenty you can do to improve your property’s energy performance.

For landlords whose property carries a rating below E, of course, making improvements is essential.

But for sellers, it’s important, too, as potential buyers could be put off by a property with a poor EPC rating.

Try some of the following steps to boost your property’s EPC rating:

  • Replacing thermostats
  • Wall insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Replacement windows
  • Underfloor heating
  • High performance doors
  • Loft insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Pipe insulation