Ten years after the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) was introduced, solicitors and agents see them on almost every sale, purchase or lease transaction. But why are they needed and what do they mean for property owners and prospective purchasers?
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
EPCs were originally introduced on 1 August 2007 as part of the Home Buyer’s Information Pack. They were required when selling a home. The rules have since expanded and EPCs must be obtained for all properties. The certificate gives an energy efficiency rating between A and G; A being most efficient. It also gives information on a property’s energy use and typical costs, together with recommendations to improve energy use and save money. An EPC is required when a new property is built, sold or rented and is valid for ten years.
As a purchaser, you should always check a property’s EPC rating when considering whether to purchase it. If a property has a low EPC rating, it could attract high energy bills and may cost a considerable amount to improve the efficiency rating.
Energy efficiency rules
The government is concerned with saving energy and improving energy efficiency. As a result, new regulations have started to come into effect in attempt to improve properties across the UK. It may not affect you directly, however.
By April 2018, landlords of both residential and commercial properties will be required to keep those properties at an energy efficiency rating of an E grade or higher. If you are considering letting out a property at some point in the future you will need to review its EPC. While the new rules apply to rentals, rather than sales, properties with low energy efficiency ratings are becoming less attractive. This could, in turn, affect its market value.
If an EPC was obtained on your property when they were first introduced ten years ago, it is likely to be expiring any time soon! There is an online register you can check if you are not sure whether you have an EPC.
If your EPC has expired, you will need to obtain one before selling or letting out your property. There are many approved inspectors who can carry out the checks and issue a certificate.
If you fail to obtain an EPC when you are required to do so, you may be fined.