All You Need to Know about EPCs
Being a landlord comes with a host of responsibilities and legalities to abide by, one of the most important being the legal requirement to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for any future or existing buy-to-let properties.
An EPC shows how energy efficient a building is on a scale of A-G. This rating gives an indication of how much the energy bills are likely to be, whilst also highlighting areas where the property can be improved.
EPC requirements have changed for landlords twice in recent years, the first time in 2018 and then again in 2020.So as part of our goal here at ZFA Group to take the stress out of being a landlord, we figured it was time for a refresher.
In this blog, we’ll explore everything you need to know about EPCs, the latest updates and what your responsibilities are as a landlord.
An EPC aims to establish the energy efficiency of a property, taking into account numerous factors from heating to lighting to carbon dioxide emissions. They’ll also consider the building measurements, the year the property was built, and everything from the roof to the windows and walls. Once your property has been thoroughly inspected, you’ll receive a grade for your property’s energy performance: ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the property is and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. The EPC also shows how much impact the building has on the environment.
The point of an EPC is to highlight how much money it will cost to power a property on average. These certificates should also point out where there is room for improvement, how much these improvements would cost, and the potential savings.
Rental properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have required an EPC since 2008. The rules are slightly different for landlords or homeowners in Scotland, who are required to obtain a ‘Home Report’ which includes an EPC known as an ‘Energy Report’. As such, the information in this article doesn’t focus on properties in Scotland.
In April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force. This required all properties being let or sold to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ or above. The most recent change came into effect on 1st April 2020 and so the MEES now apply to all existing tenancies, not just new ones or renewals. This means if your property didn’t have a valid EPC rating of ‘E’ or above by this date, it could not legally be let and all properties going forward must maintain the ‘E’ rating as a minimum.
The law states that the owner or landlord of a property that will be sold or rented out is responsible for obtaining an EPC. Your property cannot be legally let if it doesn’t have a valid EPC and if you are found without one, you may be fined up to £5,000.
If you’re not sure of the status of your EPC you can check by searching the EPC register, the government’s online database of every EPC in the UK. If you do need to order a new EPC, you can use this to search for an accredited domestic energy assessor.
The inspection itself will only take around 45 minutes, but if your property doesn’t meet the EPC requirements of an ‘E’ rating or above, the suggested improvements made by your assessor could take far longer and you do have a legal responsibility to carry out the changes suggested in your EPC.
Once your EPC has been issued, it is then valid for ten years. Once it runs out, you don’t need to get a new one unless you are entering a new tenancy with new tenants or selling the property.
An EPC is a legal requirement so making sure that you obtain a certificate for your property, which is valid and up to date, this is a simple step to avoid fines and ensure that you’re abiding by all of the necessary regulations.
In today’s world, living in an environmentally friendly property is a huge selling point when it comes to offering out your property and a good EPC rating is the easiest way to convey this to potential tenants. It can also help to attract the right kind of tenant, as a prospective tenant who enquires about energy efficiency is the sort of tenant who is planning for a long term stay and who is prepared to take responsibility for their tenancy.
By improving the energy efficiency of your property, will help to reduce costs which can also make your property even more attractive to potential tenants.
In a crowded rental market, it’s imperative to know who you can rely on to maximise your return on property rental. If you choose ZFA Group, we will handle the management of your property with expertise and experience to offer you the highest quality property management service.
If you’re interested in upgrading your buy-to-let property, chat to one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee and property management, estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.
Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.
I have been working with ZFA for 4 years and they manage my full portfolio. I don't need to worry about a thing, they manage every aspect of my properties - highly recommended.
Mr Stephen Jones