Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) were introduced as part of the governments aim to reduce carbon emissions. There are many schemes available to property owners and occupiers to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Many of these schemes rely on EPCs to operate. 


What is an EPC? 

An Energy Performance Certificate or EPC is a certificate that shows how energy efficient a property is. The certificate gives a property a rating on a sliding scale from A-G, A being very energy efficient and G not very energy efficient. The rating is not an exact measure of the properties energy efficiency, as it will depend on the actual use of the property. 

The EPC should also include a recommendation report. This provides property owners with a guide to cost-effective ways they can make the property more energy efficient. For example, it may recommend that low energy lightbulbs are fitted or the installation of a new boiler. 

It was hoped that the EPC would be taken into consideration by buyers when deciding on whether or not to buy a property. Whether or not the property EPC rating has actually been a consideration for buyers when purchasing a property is unclear however, it will soon be a far more relevant and important matter for most property owners who rent out or lease their property. 


When do you need an EPC? 

There are many situations when an EPC is required. Generally, an EPC is required in order to market for sale, sell or rent a property. There are exceptions for some properties, for example: properties that do not have a roof or walls, properties which use no energy to condition the indoor climate, religious buildings.


How long do EPCs last? 

EPCs generally last for 10 years and so many properties, that already have an EPC, will need to be re-assessed in the next few years. The regulations on the assessment criteria has changed over the years and so, when buying a property with an old EPC, you should consider if the property would have the same rating by today’s standards. 


How do I know if my property has an EPC? 

There is a central database of EPCs at Find an energy certificate – Find an energy certificate – GOV.UK (communities.gov.uk)


New rules for EPCs 

On 1 April 2018 new rules affecting EPCs came into effect. One of the changes means that a property, whether commercial or residential, with an energy rating of “F” or “G” can no longer legally be let until improvements have been made to the property to bring the rating to a minimum of “E”. 
It is further sets out that any property already let on or after 1 April 2020 for residential properties and 1 April 2023 for commercial properties, unless exempt from the EPC rules altogether, will be required to have a minimum asset rating of “F”. This means even if there is to be no sale, re-letting etc. action will need to be taken to comply with the legislation. 

There are exceptions to the new rules when a property may be allowed to have an EPC rating that does not meet the above criteria, such as when consent to carry out the works cannot legally be obtained, but, these are limited. 

Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate and correct, the information provided does not constitute any form of advice.

Related services.

Related articles.