An up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) is legally required to be provided when new tenants move into a rental property. It is the responsibility of the landlord to supply this. An EPC is a document that is produced following an assessment that has been carried out on a property by a qualified assessor, who investigates its energy efficiency.
An EPC will provide a rating of how energy efficient a property is, giving future tenants a reasonable idea of how much their energy bills are likely to cost them, as well as giving owners recommendations relating to how the property can be made more energy-efficient.
As the government looks to move towards their net-zero target, they are looking to encourage more and more people to make their homes more energy-efficient, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and lowering the impact of the country on the environment.
Minimum EPC Requirements for Rental Properties
The energy efficiency rating that is given on an EPC, ranges from ‘A’ to ‘G’ – with ‘A’ being granted to properties that are the most energy-efficient and ‘G’ to those that are the least. At the moment landlords must ensure that their properties are sufficiently energy-efficient to earn a rating of an ‘E’ or above.
New laws that are going through parliament at the moment, however, are looking to increase this to a ‘C’ rating. The new law stipulates that this must be in place for properties with new tenants by 31 December 2025, and those with existing tenants by 31 December 2028.
Is the EPC ‘C’ Rating a Minimum?
It is important to note that the ‘C’ rating is the minimum standard that is set through this change in the law. Although it is not always possible with every property, it is, of course, even better if a rating of higher than a ‘C’ is achieved.
Is there Financial Support to Meet New Standards?
There have been a number of government initiatives and grants available to people over the past few years to help to bring housing up to acceptable energy-efficient levels. At present, there are no specific government schemes in place to help landlords to bring their properties up to a ‘C’ rating, but there it is possible that something may be introduced soon.
At present, there is a maximum limit on the amount of money that landlords must spend on energy-saving measures – meaning that some rental properties are still below the mandatory ‘E’ rating. There has been no indication, however, whether this will apply with the rule change.
What is the Cost to Reach a ‘C’ Standard?
The cost of reaching a ‘C’ rating, of course, depends on where the property is starting from. It may be that your property is not far off a ‘C’ already, or it might be that there is lots of work that needs to be done.
Logically, it depends on what work needs doing, but it is estimated that to bring a property up from a ‘D’ rating to a ‘C’, it would cost roughly £10,000.
What if I Don’t Meet ‘C’ Rating?
If you have had an EPC survey carried out and the property has not met the requirements for a ‘C’ rating, the certificate will give you some recommendations as to what work can be done on your property to bring it up to improve its energy efficiency. Some of the measures include:
Insulating the walls and loft of the property can have a massive impact on the amount of heat that is lost from the house. It might be the case that you already have insulation in the loft but it needs to be topped up to meet current government recommendations. Some people also look to insulate their floor.
A great deal of heat can also be lost through single-glazed windows. It is, therefore, recommended that you double-glaze – or even triple-glaze – as many of your windows as possible.
The difference between having a modern, efficient boiler and heating system compared to an old, inefficient one is massive. The EPC might, therefore, also recommend that you update this.
Old-style, energy-guzzling lightbulbs can also be detrimental to the energy efficiency of a property. By replacing the old-type lightbulbs with energy-efficient ones, you can also help to raise the property’s energy rating.
It is important to remember that the criteria for the energy rating on an EPC can change. This means that if you had one done a few years ago, the rating may not be the same as it is now.
How to Prepare for an EPC
If you are going to have an EPC survey carried out, there is not much that you need to do in preparation. You should know details such as when the property was built – including any other work that has been carried out. You should also have details of any structural or insulation work that has already been carried out on the property.
The assessor will look at the property and they will need to have access to all areas – if you are renting out your property, make sure that you inform the tenants that they will be visiting.