What is an EPC and why do I need one?

EPCIf you are looking to buy, sell or rent a place of worship or a residential building intended to be used less than four months a year, then an Energy Performance Certificate will not be a crucial part of your property marketing toolkit. For everybody else involved in property marketing an EPC is a legal requirement that can be used to promote your asset.

EPCs were introduced in 2007 to give potential buyers an upfront look at how energy efficient a property is, how it can be improved and how much money this could save.

They give a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and are valid for 10 years.

EPCs became a legal requirement for the rental market in 2008. Like sellers, landlords and agents marketing properties for rent must have an EPC available for prospective tenants to view or risk a fine.

Following the introduction of the Green Deal, the government’s initiative to help homeowners and tenants pay for improvements to property, EPCs have been updated to make it much clearer to consumers how much they might save from making eco-friendly home improvements.

In addition to providing information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, features of the new certificate include:

  • The potential costs of heating, lighting and hot water after home improvements are made.
  • Total potential savings, and the potential energy performance rating, you might receive after making improvements to your home.
  • Ways to improve the property’s rating, such as installing double glazing or loft, floor or wall insulation.
  • The potential cost of undertaking these improvements, and the typical saving over a three-year period.

When it comes to property marketing, the theory is that the better the rating your property gets, the more attractive it should be to a buyer or tenant because it indicates lower energy bills.

Not only that, with 27% of the UK’s CO2 emissions coming from residential homes EPCs offer an opportunity to identify the source of those emissions and reduce them.

How do I get an EPC?

The EPC is provided by an energy assessor who will charge a fee. Costs can range from around £60 to £120.

There are also costs if you don’t have a certificate and wish to let your property: £200 per dwelling. There’s a six month time limit for any enforcement action to be taken.

In Scotland, home reports can cost from £600 but there may be regional variations. If you are selling your home in Scotland, get a quote from your estate agent as well as from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for a survey and energy report.

Are there any exceptions?

As well as places of worship and residential buildings intended to be used less than four months a year, buildings that don’t need an EPC include temporary buildings that will be used for less than two years, standalone buildings with total useful floorspace of less than 50 square metres, industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy and holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than four months a year or is let under a licence to occupy.

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