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What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate or EPC is a document that contains information about the energy efficiency of a property. It also contains information about the property's energy use and typical energy costs, as well as recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

When is an EPC required?

An EPC may be required for residential or commercial properties.

When a property is built, sold, or rented out, or it undergoes certain significant modifications, the owner, seller, or landlord must generally provide any buyers or tenants with a valid EPC free of charge when the property is marketed.

When a property is rented out as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), each individual room is not required to have its own EPC. The property only needs to have one EPC for the entire property. A property may be rented out as a HMO if each room is rented by separate individuals or groups who don’t form a single household, often under separate rental agreements, and the occupants share some facilities (eg a kitchen and bathroom). 

In Scotland, an EPC must be displayed somewhere within the property (eg in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler).

Circumstances where an EPC may not be required

In England and Wales, The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 set out certain buildings or situations for which an EPC is not required. These include:

  • buildings that are officially protected as listed buildings with Historic England or Historic Wales, which may be exempt if necessary energy improvements could damage the building or its character

  • buildings used as places of worship or for religious activities

  • temporary buildings with planned times of use of 2 years or less

  • industrial sites, workshops, or non-residential agricultural buildings that do not use a lot of energy

  • standalone buildings with useful floor areas of less than 50 square metres 

  • holiday accommodation that is rented out for 4 months or less per year and which has a low expected energy consumption (ie less than 25% of what would be expected from year-round use)

  • residential buildings only intended to be used for 4 months or less per year

In Scotland, an EPC may not be required for buildings that are:

  • temporary buildings with planned times of use of 2 years or less

  • standalone buildings (other than homes) that have a useful floor area of less than 50 square metres

  • workshops or non-residential agricultural buildings with a low energy demand

  • buildings sold for the purpose of demolition

An EPC is also not required when a property is let under a licence rather than a tenancy (ie lease). A licence is a right to occupy a space, which offers an occupier less rights than if they were occupying the space under a lease. Occupations of holiday lets or of homes as a lodger are often occupations under licences. For more information on the difference between leases and licences, read Leases, licences, and tenancies.   

How long is an EPC valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date it is issued. A new EPC is not required each time there is a change in tenancy, or each time a property is sold, as long as the property has an EPC that is no more than 10 years old and so long as the rating on the EPC is within the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

An owner, landlord, or tenant of a property can choose to commission a new EPC within the 10-year period. A newly commissioned EPC will replace an earlier EPC and become the current EPC for that property.

Once an EPC reaches the 10-year expiry date, there is no automatic requirement for a new one to be commissioned. A new EPC is only needed when a new EPC would usually be required (eg when the property is next sold, let to a new tenant, or substantially modified).

An EPC relates to a property rather than the property’s owner, so it will remain valid even after the property is sold to a new owner, as long as it is less than 10 years old.

How do I get an EPC?

In England and Wales, you can search for an accredited assessor using the EPC Register website. They can carry out an EPC assessment. You can also use this website to search for a copy of the current EPC for your property.

In Scotland, you can use the Scottish Energy Performance Certificate Register to find an accredited assessor and to search for your property’s EPC.

What if I don’t get an EPC when I need one?

If a property is legally required to have an EPC, the property’s owner may be subject to non-compliance penalties, including fines, if they do not have one. 

Further, if a landlord in England hasn't provided a tenant with a valid EPC when necessary, they will not be able to evict the tenant using a Section 21 notice until a valid EPC has been given to the tenant. For more information, read Repossessing property - section 21 notices.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

England and Wales

Since 1 April 2018, it has been illegal to create new tenancies of a residential or commercial property in England or Wales with an EPC rating of band E or worse

Since 1 April 2020, it has been illegal to let out residential property that doesn't have an EPC rating of band E or better. This means that, from 1 April 2020, all residential properties let out to tenants must have an EPC rating of band E or better even if the tenancy started before this date. These required ratings are subject to certain exemptions.

For commercial property, since 1 April 2023 the requirement to have an EPC rating of band E or better has applied to all tenancies, new and existing. This requirement is also subject to exemptions.  


Scotland has plans to raise the required EPC standards over the next few years. Different thresholds are likely to be imposed on different dates for different types of properties and tenancies. For example, a minimum requirement of band C is planned for private rental properties by 2028, where feasible and cost-effective. 

For more information, read Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for residential properties.

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