EPC’s ( Energy Performance Certificates ) – A number of properties in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard will have expired EPC’s. Does yours need renewing?
EPCs were introduced in England and Wales on 1 August 2007 as part of Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties the requirement for HIPs was removed in May 2010 but the requirement for EPCs remained.
The requirement for rental properties to have an EPC was introduced on the 1st October 2008 and the certificates are valid for 10 years. This now means that EPC’s obtained from October 2008 may now need to be renewed as their 10 year anniversary arrives, but only if you are advertising the tenancy to re-let (or sell). If there are tenants in the property when the certificate runs out you do not have to renew until they leave and you advertise the property again.
What is an EPC
Energy performance certificates present the energy efficiency of dwellings on a scale of A to G. The most efficient homes – which should have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save money.
EPC’s are a result of a European Union Directive relating to the energy performance of buildings, as transposed into British law by the Housing Act 2004 and The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.
The energy survey needed to produce an EPC is performed by an assessor who visits the property, examines key items such as loft insulation, domestic boiler, hot water tank, radiators, windows for double glazing, and so on. The assessor then inputs the observations into a software program which performs the calculation of energy efficiency. The exercise is entirely non-invasive, so the software will make assumptions on the insulation properties of various elements of the property based on age and construction type. The assessor has the ability to over-ride these assumptions if visual or written evidence is provided to support the presence of insulation which may have been subsequently installed.
A further objection is often made concerning the quality of inspection made to produce the certificate. It cannot be invasive, so the inspector cannot drill walls or ceilings to determine the state or even existence of any insulation. The Energy Assessor can either assume the worst (no insulation present) or rely on the householder to produce documentary evidence on what may have been installed. This can produce uncertainty about the validity of the output from the assessor's analysis.
New regulations for F & G rated properties
As from the 1st April 2018 there was a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
For most landlords this will mean that they will no longer be able to rent out a property with a rating of F or G after April 1st 2018. As such landlords with properties in this EPC bracket.
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice