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Energy performance certificates or EPC

If you are looking to sell or rent out your property it is important that you comply with the law relating to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and, if you are a landlord in England and Wales, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

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

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

An EPC applies to residential and commercial properties.

When a property is sold or rented out the seller or landlord must provide the buyer or tenant with a valid EPC free of charge before the property is marketed.

If you rent out individual rooms within a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), each individual room is not required to have their own EPC. The property will only have one EPC for the entire property.

There are certain situations where an EPC is not required. In England and Wales these are:

  • A building that is officially protected as being a Listed building on the Historic England (or Welsh equivalent).
  • A building used as a place of worship or religious activities
  • A temporary building with a planned time of use of two years or less
  • Industrial sites, workshops or non-residential agricultural buildings
  • Standalone buildings (other than dwellings) with a useful floor area of less than 50 meters squared

In Scotland, the buildings that do not require an EPC are:

  • Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less

  • Standalone buildings (other than dwellings) with a useful floor area of less than 50 meters squared

  • Workshops, non-residential agricultural buildings and other buildings with a low energy demand

  • Buildings sold for the purpose of demolition

EPCs are also not required if the property is let on a licence. Licences are not the same as tenancies and a licence is not considered to be a tenancy for the purposes of the energy regulations. A tenancy grants exclusive possession of the property, while a licence grants permission for a licensee to do something on the property. Holiday homes and lodger arrangements are let under a licence to occupy rather than a tenancy. If you're unsure what type of letting arrangement you have, Ask a lawyer.

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 when the property is sold, as long as the EPC is no more than ten years old.

An owner, landlord or tenant can commission a new EPC within the ten year period which will then replace the earlier EPC and become the current EPC for that property.

Once an EPC reaches the ten year expiry date, there is no automatic requirement for a new one to be commissioned. A further EPC is only needed when a 'trigger point' is reached. A 'trigger point' can be when the property is next sold, let to a new tenant or substantially modified.

As the EPC relates to the property, rather than the owner, it will remain valid even after the property is sold on to a new owner, as long as it is less than ten years old.

You can search for an accredited assessor to undertake a domestic EPC assessment on the EPC Register website. You can also search for a copy of the current EPC for your property using the EPC Register website.

Where a property is legally required to have an EPC, it is an offence and the owner can be subject to non-compliance penalties, including fines. Where a landlord hasn't provided an assured shorthold tenant with an EPC, they will not be able to evict the tenant using a section 21 notice. For further information read Repossessing property - section 21 notices.

From 1 April 2018, it will be illegal to let out any residential property in England and Wales with an EPC rating of band F or G (the least efficient bands). All residential properties must be of band E before being let out to tenants. This applies to all new tenancies granted on or after 1 April 2018. This doesn't apply to tenancies yet still within their fixed-term before 1 April 2020.

From 1 April 2020, it will be illegal to continue letting out residential property that doesn't have an EPC rating of band E or higher. This means that from 1 April 2020 all residential properties let out to tenants must have an EPC rating of E or higher.

In Scotland, there is currently no minimum EPC rating for residential properties, however legislation introducing a minimum rating is expected in October 2020.

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