Since 2008 it has been a legal requirement for domestic properties up for let or to be sold to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) produced by a Domestic Energy Assessor.
An EPC will provide a rating for the energy efficiency of a property in terms of average consumption costs, the environmental impact and list recommendations as to how this can be improved. A Domestic Energy Assessor will examine all aspects of property such as age, size, construction, heating and water systems, glazing, insulation etc.
The EPC is valid for 10 years unless any significant changes are made to the property that would affect its rating.
What are the advantages?
An EPC enables a prospective tenant or purchaser to compare the energy efficiency of a property in comparison with others they may be thinking of renting or buying. Properties with a high EPC rating will have lower energy bills than a similar property with a lower EPC rating. A high EPC rating will therefore make a property more appealing.
Greenhouse Gases (which contribute towards climate change) associated with the UK’s domestic carbon footprint are increasing every year. A low EPC rating should encourage property owners to make necessary alterations to their properties (e.g. loft/wall insulation, double glazing, fuel efficient heating systems, etc) to not only reduce these emissions, but also to make their homes more comfortable, less costly to run and more attractive to let or sell.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
Until very recently although an EPC was a legal requirement and gave obvious advantage to properties with a higher rating, there was no legal requirement for a Landlord to make any improvements on lower rated properties.
As of April 2016 this has changed with The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. This will bring into force Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in the residential and commercial private rented sector.
- 1st April 2016 – Residential tenants have a legal right to request energy efficiency improvements on their homes. Landlords are unable to refuse consent as long as there is no cost to the Landlord
- 1st April 2018 – It will be illegal to grant a new tenancy for a residential or commercial property with an EPC rating below an E
- 1st April 2020 – It will be illegal to let a residential property with an EPC rating below an EPC rating of E (i.e. this will include any excising tenancies)
- 1st April 2023 – These standards will be extended to cover all commercial lets
The Government is considering raising these standards even further in the future. At presant it is anticipated that the minimum rating will be increased to D in 2025 and C by 2030.