Energy Performance Certificates
From 1st October 2008, landlords have been required to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for their properties.
The requirement was introduced by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificate and Inspection) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations) and means that landlords and tenants have more information about how energy efficient their property is.
A landlord has to provide an EPC to a prospective tenant and any new tenant who moves into their property after 1st October 2008 (this does not apply to tenants who have been living at a property before this date whilst they continue to live at the same property) free of charge.
How do I get a certificate and what does it contain?
EPCs can only be produced by accredited assessors. These are often surveyors or managing agents who have undertaken relevant training. As a landlord you should check the accreditation of anyone who you commission to carry out an EPC for your property.
Only Domestic Energy Assessors who have completed around eight hours of 'top-up' training can continue to practise after April 2012.
You can look for an accredited assessor on the EPC Assessor website http://www.epcregister.com/.
An EPC lasts for 10 years – you don't need to get a new one for each new let unless you carry out changes to the property which may affect the energy performance such as an extension, loft conversion, installing extra installation, new double glazing etc.
Each EPC contains:
You're probably used to seeing energy efficiency ratings on household appliances such as fridges, freezers and washing machines and the EPC contains similar details. An 'A' rating is the most energy efficient and 'G' is the least energy efficient. The average at the moment is 'D'.
The certificate has changed since April 2012 and should now be simpler and easier to understand.
There are tax breaks available for landlords in certain circumstances where they install energy savings measures and you can read more information about these in the Energy Savings Trust leaflet 'Landlord's Energy Savings Allowance' to the right of this page.
There has been some confusion about whether HMO landlords need to provide EPCs.
The Government's Department of Communities and Local Government give case studies in their advice to landlords (see links to the right of this page).
If you rent an HMO to a number of tenants who each have their own bedroom, but share bathroom and/or kitchen facilities an EPC is not required, unless you sell the house or let it as one whole dwelling.
Letting houses to a group of sharers with just one contract, as many HMO landlords in Swansea do, is different. In this case you will need to provide an EPC for the whole property when you let to new tenants after 1st October 2008.
EPCs are required for self-contained flats (with their own kitchen and bathroom facilities).
The Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards Officers (or Building Control Officers for new build properties) and failure to provide an EPC where the Regulations apply may result in a fine.
What changes were introduced in April 2012?
Since April 2012 the certificate itself has been simplified following feedback from customer consultation in 2011 so that it should now be easier to understand.
All EPCs must now be logged on the National Energy Performance Certificate Register. This is a public register so that owners and tenants can check the energy efficiency of their home against that of others in an area.
There is now a requirement for a landlord or agent to attach a copy of the first page of the Energy Performance Certificate to any written particulars when advertising a property. Tenants can see the key recommendations attached to the EPC before agreeing to rent the property.
If the written particulars are available online then the first page of the EPC must also be available online.
An agent must make sure the landlord has an EPC before marketing the property.
There is more information for landlords in the leaflets to the right of this page and also from the Government's website http://campaigns.direct.gov.uk/epc/. Please refer to them for full details of the requirements relating to EPCs.