Everything you need to know about EPCs

Everything you need to know about EPCs

You may have heard the term ‘EPC’ when it comes to property.

But what is an EPC, do you need one and if you do, how can you get one?

We’ll explain everything you need to know about EPCs here…

 

What is an EPC?

EPC is short for Energy Performance Certificate.

Your EPC shows how energy efficient your property is and outlines what the energy bills in that property might cost.

 

What you’ll find on your EPC

The main section of an EPC shows a property’s performance rating, from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

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.

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.

 

Is an EPC a legal requirement?

While having a valid Energy Performance Certificate isn’t always a legal requirement, there are two occasions when they are required:

 

1. Selling your property

If you’re selling your home, you’ll need to ensure you have a valid EPC and this must be in place within seven days of the property going on the market.

The fine for selling a property without a valid EPC is up to £5,000.

 

2. Renting out your property

To legally rent out your property, you must have a valid EPC in place within seven days of the property being advertised.

Under Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), the property must have an EPC rating of at least ‘E’ to be let out legally.

 

How long does an EPC last?

Energy Performance Certificates remain valid for 10 years, so if you’ve been in your property for some time but you’re now selling, or renting it out, 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 or rental process.

 

Can I do my own EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate assessment must be carried out by a registered energy assessor and property owners, or landlords can’t carry out the assessments themselves.

 

Who issues EPCs?

Your Energy Performance Certificate and assessment will be issued by an accredited domestic energy assessor.

The assessment can either be booked by you, through the government’s official EPC Register, or your estate or letting agent if you’re selling or renting your property out.

 

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.

 

How long does it take to get an EPC?

Once you’ve booked an energy assessor to come to your property and issue an EPC, the assessment itself will only take between 45 minutes and an hour in most cases.

 

How does the EPC assessment work?

Your EPC assessor will need access to all the rooms in your property, including the loft and any extensions.

 

During the assessment, they’ll look at: 

  • The age of your property
  • The materials used to build it
  • The thickness of the walls
  • Wall and loft insulation
  • Heating systems and controls
  • The hot water cylinder and any insulation
  • Any other heating systems
  • The windows frames and glass
  • The construction of the floor
  • All lighting

 

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
  • Adding wall insulation
  • Adding cavity wall insulation
  • Replacing windows
  • Adding underfloor heating
  • Using high performance doors
  • Adding loft insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Insulating pipes

 

Further reading…

Top energy saving tips for tenants

Seven things estate agents look for when valuing your property