FROM 1st January 2010 landlords have been required to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to new tenants as part of the lettings process. Each EPC will last for 10 years.
Also home owners that are planning to put their house for sale must also provide the potential buyer an EPC. The government requires an EPC to be carried out on all homes that are built, sold or rented after January 1st 2010.
The idea by introducing Energy Performance Certificates is that they will help prospective buyers, tenants, owners and occupiers to easily compare the energy efficiency of one building with another building of the same type, so that they can consider fuel costs and energy efficiency as part of their investment.
What does this mean in practice?
The landlord (or someone acting on their behalf, such as an estate agent) must make available an EPC free of charge for the home you are interested in renting as early as possible. This should be when you are first given written information about the home or when you view it, and before you enter into any contract to pay rent to the landlord.
If you are already renting a home on 1 January 2010 and carry on living there after that date, your landlord does not need to provide you with an EPC.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
An EPC is similar to the energy performance certificates now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. The EPC provides a rating for the energy performance of a home from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient. The EPC shows two things about the house:
the energy-efficiency rating (this is based on how much the home would cost to run); and
the environmental impact rating (this is based on how much carbon dioxide is released into the environment because of the home).
The rating is based on factors such as age, property layout, construction, heating, lighting, and insulation. The ratings are standard so you can compare the energy efficiency of one home easily with another. The typical rating for a home is D or E.
A recommendation report forms part of the certificate. This is a list of ways in which the energy efficiency of the home could be improved.
Why do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?
The EPC and the recommendations that come with it give you important information about your home’s energy efficiency. The certificate will provide you with information about how much it is likely to cost to run the home you are interested in renting. Bear in mind that the estimated running costs are based on:
- standard assumptions about a property, including how many people will live there and how long it is heated each day; and
- average fuel prices when the EPC was produced – these could be up to 10 years old.
The actual energy you will use in running a property will depend on how you use the property, for example how long you have the heating turned on for, and whether lights and appliances are left on.
What does the Recommendation Report contain?
The report includes cost-effective recommendations split into low-cost and high-cost improvements. The report also includes more advanced energy improvements that your landlord could make to a home to help it reach the highest possible energy efficiency standards. Many of these improvements are expensive and will take much longer to pay for themselves.
Cost-effective recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of a home could include:
- using low-energy light bulbs;
- adding loft insulation;
- installing double glazing; or
- installing a condensing boiler.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for grants to carry out these recommendations.
About the author
Xenios Chr. Sofianos
SKYY Consulting Limited
Accredited Expert for Building Energy Performance (EPC’s)
Residential properties (existing and new) by law are to be certified from the 1st of January 2010 and after, while non residential from the 1st of September of 2010. SKYY Consulting Limited provides certificates for all types of buildings.