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An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be provided when a property is built, let, or sold. The EPC should always be available to potential tenants if you are planning to let a property, and to potential buyers when selling a property.  

What is an EPC?

An EPC is a document which records how energy efficient a property is and what its environmental impact is. The property will be given a grade between A to G. 'A' indicates a high level of energy efficiency, while 'G' marks the property as poor in terms of energy efficiency. The higher the rating, the more attractive the property will be in the eyes of potential buyers, or if you are letting the property, tenants.  

To obtain an EPC, you will need to have your property inspected by an accredited energy assessor, or you can ask the estate agent to arrange one for you. Once the inspection is carried out, a certificate will be produced – the EPC. This certificate will then be valid for ten years.

Why do I need an EPC when selling my property?

By law, an EPC is required when you sell a property. It is the vendor's responsibility to make sure the property is in possession of a valid EPC when it is marketed for sale. You will need to make sure that if the EPC has expired, you commission a new one before the property goes on the sales market. If you are selling your property through an estate agent, your agent will be able to help you obtain or renew an EPC.  
An EPC is important for potential buyers as it gives information about the property's general energy efficiency, how much energy it uses, and what energy costs are involved in the running of the property. The EPC also gives advice on how to improve the property's energy efficiency, helping to further reduce energy costs.

The buyer's solicitor will request that an EPC is produced, and if the EPC is not produced by the required deadline, the vendor can face a penalty fine.  

EPC regulation changes affecting landlords

An EPC will always need to be provided by the landlord prior to a property being let. However, the current regulations surrounding EPCs are due to change this year, affecting landlords and their rental properties. New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are coming into force in April. From 1st April 2018, any properties rented out in the private rented sector will need to have an EPC rating of at least 'E' - properties rated as 'F' and 'G' cannot lawfully be let out after this date. In the first instance, these changes will apply to new lets and tenancy renewals only. However, they will apply to all tenancies, new and existing, from 1st April 2020 onwards. 

Landlords can make improvements to their properties (should they fall into the F or G categories) at no cost of their own by calling on third party finance. It is in a landlord's best interests for their properties to be as energy efficient as possible, as this should will appeal to tenants. The prospect of lower energy bills and a warmer, better insulated property will always prove attractive to tenants. And if the landlord ever experiences a void period, and has to cover the energy bills, both the landlord and their tenants will benefit from the savings.

Both domestic and non-domestic landlords in the private rented sector can find full information on the EPC regulation changes here.

It is in the interests of both landlords and homeowners (especially those who plan to sell their property at some point) to continue to improve the energy efficiency of their properties to achieve a higher rating where necessary. While the minimum energy rating is currently E, this is likely to change in the coming years, as the government strives to reduce carbon emissions through improving the energy efficiency of properties.  

If you're planning to sell your property and need help obtaining or renewing an EPC, our team can help. Get in touch today.