An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating determines how energy efficient a house or building is, and certification often comes with a set of advisories on how a building owner or landlord may improve the EPC rating. Renting out a property with bad insulation, bad heating, etc. (i.e. a bad EPC rating) has been prohibited since April 2018, and yet some landlords have let this fact go over their heads. They may be renting out houses right now that do not have a sufficient EPC rating, and there is very little chance of them getting caught.
Can People Simply Ignore Rules About EPC Rating?
Yes, people can ignore them and people are ignoring them. The truth is that investigating houses to see if they are “Sub Standard” is expensive, and actually costs more than the £4000 fine that is levied against landlords that ignore the rules.
In fact, only reporters are bothering to check EPC ratings because they are the only ones making money from it. News websites are showing cases where landlords are fraudulently claiming EPC ratings that are not true, and there are even some websites showing heat-radar images that display how much energy a supposedly A-rated building is letting out.
Is It Worth Risking The £5,000 Fine?
It is not worth risking the £5,000 fine, and you should probably get a new EPC that is dated post 2018, and here are three good reasons why you shouldn’t risk it.
- Upgrading your house/building is expensive, but it is necessary and will have to happen at some point in the future, so why not do it now, plus it is an investment in your asset that will help increase the value of your asset, so it is money well invested.
- Finding good tenants and keeping them is a dream come true for landlords, and yet your tenants are less likely to stay if they are wasting money on energy all the time. Finding new tenants that are not going to let you down is difficult, so keep hold of the ones you have and keep them comfortable.
- Being caught puts you on a register. The register is pitifully small because the EPC rating rules are scarcely being policed. However, if you are caught once, you are harassed for proof of energy ratings on a yearly basis (unless you give up your property). It is almost like the authorities are taking the lazy route and are simply harassing people who have already been caught.
London Landlords Need a new EPC
If your house was built in or after 2008, then it already has an EPC rating. If the rating is band F or G, then you are prohibited from renting out the property. “F” is a score of 22-38 and “G” is a score of 1-20.
Dragging yourself out of these bands is easy, but you need a new EPC rating so that you can be sure you are not in the lowest bands. Also, once making the changes, you need a new EPC in order to see if your changes made a difference.
Why Aren’t The Authorities Policing EPC Rules Correctly
If your property is in band F or G, then you can avoid the fine if you make changes that are at “No cost to yourself”. In short, there is fine print that allows you to get out of being fined or prohibited if you can show you made changes, even if those changes cost you nothing.
Plus, not only is checking for fraudulent EPC ratings expensive, it is also a crime that is rarely reported. It is not in the interest of the letting agent to check EPC ratings, and tenants are mostly unaware that landlords can be fined for having substandard housing and/or fraudulent EPC ratings. In fact, the Guardian news website also found that most people do not report their landlords because they are afraid of losing their deposit. They are also afraid of revenge evictions, which people in the UK are not protected from because the landlord may simply lie and say the tenant was a nuisance.
Are Some Tenants Taking Action?
Thanks to the internet, people are learning how to strike back at their landlord, which is another reason why you should get an EPC, why you should fix up your building/house, and why you shouldn’t lie when giving out EPC ratings to letting agents or on classified adverts.
Tenants can check to see what their EPC says via this website: https://www.epcregister.com/ and they can see if you are already an EPC offender on this register: https://prsregister.beis.gov.uk/NdsBeisUi/register-search-penalties
An angry tenant with the correct know-how may report you for renting out a house with sub-standard EPC ratings, and/or report you for advertising an EPC rating that isn’t true. It will land you on the PRS register, which is a public record.
If you are a landlord in London and looking for an EPC, please get in touch to book an EPC in London today.