Why Do I Need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Energy Performance Certificate green buildings

Just in case you didn’t know, an Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC, is a document, in the form of a multi-coloured sticker, that sets how energy efficient a building is. EPCs are a legal requirement and are useful to anyone buying a property. They show how much it will cost to heat and light a building and also what the carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be. An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years and is required for all newly-built properties and properties being sold or rented.

What information is displayed on an EPC?

A portion of the certificate is dedicated to the energy efficiency of a building. It has a grading from A to G, with A meaning most efficient and G least efficient. There are also numbers from 1-100 – a higher number means that the home is more efficient and the fuel bills will cost less.

Who can process an EPC?

An accredited energy assessor visits properties to assess the energy efficiency rating and provide the owners with the EPC certificate. An estate agent may offer you this service but if you prefer, or want to compare prices, you can find your own. The government’s EPC Register has a recommended list of assessors.

Note: There’s a national register of EPCs, and you can look up, for free, the EPCs of other properties. In this way, you can compare your home’s energy performance with others. You can search this register by using the property address or the EPCs report reference number.

Buildings that are exempt from an EPC

Some buildings do not require an EPC and these include:

  • listed buildings
  • temporary buildings used for no more than 2 years
  • agricultural buildings, industrial sites and workshops
  • churches, synagogues and other places of worship
  • stand-alone buildings with less than 50 square metres of floor space
  • buildings due for demolishment
  • holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year

Do I have to pay for an EPC when buying or renting a property?

You should never have to pay for an EPC when you’re buying or renting a property. An EPC must be handed over free of charge, otherwise a fine of £200 could be imposed on the seller or your landlord.

Do I need an EPC when I sell or rent a property?

If you’re selling a property or renting one out, you’ll need to have a certificate before you put the property on the market. However, you can use the EPC you acquired when you bought the property if it’s still valid i.e. within the 10-year period. If you own a commercial property that you want to sell or lease, you’re still required by law to obtain an EPC.

Note: If you’re interested in the energy efficiency of your home or the building you own, but don’t match the eligibility criteria above, you can still go ahead and have an EPC commissioned for your personal use. But in this case, you’ll have to pay for it.

How much does an assessor charge for an EPC?

There’s no set fee for an EPC. The price charged depends on the type of building you live in, its size and the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and so on. The area you live in also affects the price, sometimes considerably. Typically, EPC prices start at around £35, but the certificate for a large house in, say, Central London, could easily cost considerably more than that.

Estimated heating and power costs of running your home

Your EPC is a very good guide to what you’ll need to spend in order to heat and power your home. The EPC also helpfully suggests a number of ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home and thus help you cut the costs of your fuel bills.

There’s a section of the Energy Performance Certificate that tells you how energy efficient different areas of your home are. This can be a very useful to help you work out which areas to work on first when you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Changes to EPCs that affect tenants and landlords

The data provided on Energy Performance Certificates can help tenants improve the energy efficiency of their rented homes or flats. In April 2016, EPC regulations were amended so that tenants now have the right to seek permission from their landlords to undertake energy efficiency measures on their privately rented property.

And from the 1st April 2018, landlords will have to achieve a minimum rating of E on the EPC for all their rental properties, and could face penalties of up to £4,000 if they fail to meet this minimum efficiency requirement.

This article was written by Dakota Murphey, independent content writer for Alan Rance Surveyors and passionate about raising awareness of environmental issues. See what Dakota is up to on Twitter here, @Dakota_Murphey.

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