Energy Performance Certificates and Selling Your House
By law, if you’re building, renting out a property or selling your house, you’ll need a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, introduced in phases from 2015, make it unlawful to sell, let or build properties with an energy performance rating of F or G.
There are a few exceptions. You do not need an EPC if the building is:
- A place of worship
- An Industrial and non-residential building that consumes little energy
- A listed building
- Temporary (used for no longer than 2 years)
- Small (less than 50 square metres)
- Scheduled for demolition
- Holiday let (rented out for less than 4 months per year or is let under a license to occupy)
- A residential building used for less than 4 months a year
Purpose of an EPC
An EPC basically sets out how energy efficient a building is. Using a coloured graph (similar to those attached to electrical appliances) the certificate will grade the property according to a scale. From very efficient (grade A) through to G, the lowest rating.
The system is designed to make it much easier for potential buyers and tenants to compare the energy efficiency of one property with another. A more scientific way of assessing how much fuel bills could be.
An EPC assessor will look at light fittings, the heating system, insulation, windows, use of solar energy and the size of the property. Where appropriate, they’ll offer advice as to how improvements can be made to improve the rating assessment.
An EPC is issued for the property (not the owner) and is valid for 10 years.
Implications for Domestic and Non-domestic Landlords
From 1 April 2020, landlords of a domestic, private, rented property with an EPC rating of F or G, can’t continue to let the property until works have been carried out to improve the energy efficiency rating to an E or above. However, if a valid exemption has been obtained, or the property was let before 1 October 2008, this will not apply.
From 1 April 2023, further restrictions will come into play for those landlords of a non-domestic, private, rented property with an EPC rating of F or G.
To be clear, penalties for landlords who fail to comply are significant, so it’s well worth taking steps to make improvements to the energy efficiently of the property as soon as you can. Further information about exemptions, improvement grants, what’s involved can be found on the government website.
EPCs & Selling Your House
As a homeowner, before you sell your property, you’ll need a valid EPC. The average cost will range from £50-£100. If you don’t already have one or it’s out of date, you will need to commission an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor to carry one out. If you’re using an estate agent, they will be able to help. Alternatively, consult the EPC Register for a list of local accredited Domestic Energy Assessors.
Once you have your EPC, it’s uploaded to the national EPC Register. Potential buyers can then check your property ratings and compare them with similar properties in the area.
Technically, you can sell your property without an EPC, provided that you’ve ordered it before the property has been put on the market. If you fail to comply with the regulations, financial penalties can apply.
As you might expect, plan ahead. Make sure you have an EPC in place before you put your property on the market. Equally, if necessary, make any improvements you can to achieve a high-efficiency rating. Potential buyers will see a benefit in buying a house with lower running costs.
Please note that all views, comments or opinions expressed are for information only and do not constitute and should not be interpreted as being comprehensive or as giving legal advice. No one should seek to rely or act upon, or refrain from acting upon, the views, comments or opinions expressed herein without first obtaining specialist, professional or independent advice. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Curtis Parkinson cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies.