An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an overview of the energy efficiency of a property. It uses colour-coded ratings ranging from ‘A’ to ‘G’ to determine how efficient a building is. ‘A’ is marked green and represents properties that are the most energy efficient and decreases gradually to ‘G’ which is coloured red to represent being the least efficient.
An EPC provides a simple and clear way to understand how effectively a property is performing in terms of its energy output levels. The rating is looked at whenever a property is built or sold, and has also been important to landlords since 2018 when the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were introduced.
The MEES cuts off the lowest rating that a property can be rented for at ‘E’, meaning landlords are not allowed to rent out any properties ranked at ‘F’ or ‘G’. Further regulations are also predicted, with the minimum rating expected to rise from ‘E’ to ‘C’ in 2025 for new tenancies and by 2028 for all other rentals. However, landlords are only required to spend up to £3,500 on these improvements and can apply for an exemption if it costs more than this.
If you own buy-to-let properties with low ratings, it is important to work towards improving your score and this article will explain how to get your property reassessed once you have done so.
How do I get my property assessed for a new EPC?
To get an EPC, you will need to look at the EPC register to find a domestic energy assessor. This service can be used not only if you are wanting to check if your energy rating has improved, but if your EPC has expired or your property does not have a certificate.
You must complete a request for an assessor who will then visit your property to carry out a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) which will result in your EPC rating being given. The EPC is also designed to give an estimate of heating and lighting costs, as well as how much CO₂ the property emits.
If you would prefer to have the assessment arranged through a managing agent, they should be able to organise this for you.
Why should I get my rental property assessed for an EPC?
It is essential to get an EPC for your rental property as it is a legal requirement to do so every 10 years in England. EPCs are also extremely useful for determining how energy efficient a property is and whether it needs to be updated, which can also help the environment by highlighting any major changes that could end up saving significant amounts of energy.
A further bonus is that an EPC can help attract tenants if the rating is strong. The closer the property is to an ‘A’ rating’, the less tenants would have to pay for their energy bills so renters would be likely to see the financial benefits of moving into a property with a good energy rating.
What is examined during an EPC assessment?
The registered assessor will analyse all the factors that directly affect the efficiency of the property. Examples include energy usage of systems such as the boiler and insulation such as the level of glazing on the windows.
There will also be a report on CO2 emissions, as well as a list of potential savings that could be made if further steps towards energy efficiency were implemented. An estimated rating for your next assessment, should you carry out the measures suggested, will be included too.
How can landlords improve their EPC rating?
Landlords looking to boost their EPC rating should consider replacing older appliances with newer energy-efficient models. Approximately 13% of a home’s energy costs come from appliances so whilst it can be expensive to upgrade them, overall you could end up saving money around the house and spend far less on bills since they consume much less energy.
For instance, a more efficient fridge or dishwasher could all contribute towards lower bills each month. Likewise, newer light bulbs such as LED or fluorescent bulbs consume much less energy than typical halogen light bulbs.
This could all help to significantly improve a property’s energy efficiency and in turn increase the EPC rating. If you have already done an assessment, following the suggestions made will also be helpful.
*Disclaimer: please note this blog is only intended as a guide, and is not to be taken as legal advice*