As a seller or a landlord, you are legally required to provide prospective buyers and tenants with an energy performance certificate (EPC). We explain what an EPC is and your responsibilities as a homeowner.
What is an EPC?
An EPC gives your property an energy efficiency rating between A and G, with A being the highest rating. Newly built properties tend to have high ratings, while older properties generally have ratings of D or E.
EPCs provide buyers and tenants with an upfront assessment of the energy efficiency of your property, as well as a list of suggested improvements and an estimate of the financial savings that could be made if these recommendations are undertaken.
Will fuel costs rising, a high energy efficiency rating should in theory make your property more attractive to buyers and tenants as it indicates lower energy bills.
The document is valid for ten years, although you should get a new one if you have made any significant changes to the property.
Whether selling or letting, you must have at least commission the EPC at the time you begin to market your property. However, it is advisable to so well in advance as if you are unable to provide one to a prospective buyer or tenant you could be fined a £200 fixed penalty by your local trading standards office.
From October 2012, EPCs will also indicate which improvements will be available under the Green Deal, a new government initiative that allows you to borrow money to make energy-saving improvements to your property which is then repaid through energy bills.
Landlords should be aware that from 2016, they will not be able to refuse a tenant’s request to make energy efficiency improvements to a property where funding is available under the Green Deal. Read our article The Green Deal – landlords be prepared! to see how this could affect you.
Arranging an EPC and costs
The cost of an EPC varies between providers, and usually range from £60 to £120 depending on the size and location of your property. You can arrange an EPC yourself or through a local estate agent or letting agent, but it is always wise to shop around – agents often have links with a specific provider, who may not be the cheapest in the area.
EPCs must be carried out by an accredited assessor in order to be valid. You can find an accredited EPC provider or check your assessor’s accreditations on the official register at www.epcregister.com.