EPC: How to understand an energy efficiency rating

EPC: How to understand an energy efficiency rating
Energy performance and efficiency has arguably never been more important - particularly for landlords and tenants renting.

But dissecting the amount of information on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), means many tenants in particular don't fully understand the benefits of knowing how energy efficient their rental property is.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC is a document that is shown to tenants or buyers by a landlord or a seller.

The requirement for landlords and sellers to have an EPC became law in 2008 in England and a certificate remains valid for 10 years.

How much does an EPC cost?

Tenants or buyers should never be charged for an EPC and landlords or sellers who do charge can be fined up to £200.

If a landlord or seller's property does not have a valid EPC, then one is required before the property can be sold.

Generally, EPCs cost between £30 and £50, although the final cost will depend on the size of the property.

Information on an EPC

An EPC can look much like the multi-coloured stickers you see on new electrical appliances.

It contains lots of useful information and suggestions about a property's energy efficiency.

So, landlords and tenants should study it as there could be savings to be made.

Here's the most important information to look out for...

1. Energy efficiency rating

The multi-coloured bars running left to right on the EPC show how energy efficient a property is.

Scored from A to G, A is the most energy efficient and G is the least.

This part of the EPC also shows a property's potential rating, should certificate recommendations be undertaken.

Since 2018, it has been illegal for landlords to rent out properties with an EPC rating below E.

Currently the legislation applies to new tenancies that began or are beginning after April 2018, but from 2020, the E rating rules will apply to ALL tenancies in the UK.

2. Estimated costs of running the home

The second part of the EPC outlines some estimated costs, including lighting, heating and hot water, based on the assessment of the property.

This can help the landlord or tenant consider various improvements to bring those costs down, many of which are also outlined in this section of the certificate.

Tenants should look closely at this section and consider if the projected energy costs are affordable and if the asking rent is aligned with the property's energy efficiency.

3. Summary of energy performance

This part of the EPC breaks down the performance of the property into separate elements.

So, the EPC will outline the efficiency of:

  *  Walls
  *  Roof
  *  Floor
  *  Windows
  *  Main Heating
  *  Main Heating Controls
  *  Secondary Heating
  *  Hot Water
  *  Lighting

Each element is scored out of five stars and this can help landlords or tenants focus on the property's biggest energy efficiency priorities.

Improving a property's energy efficiency

While each EPC will outline specific suggested remedies for an individual property to improve its energy efficiency, landlords should consider the following to boost their rental property's performance:

  *  Cavity wall insulation
  *  Replacement thermostats
  *  Solid wall insulation
  *  Replacement glazing
  *  Underfloor heating
  *  Secondary glazing
  *  High performance external doors
  *  Internal wall insulation
  *  Loft insulation
  *  Pipe insulation
  *  Draught proofing

If you have any questions about the property your renting, contact your local office for more information. You can find all our properties to rent here.