Let property EPC
Energy performance certificates (EPCs) – you know what they are, and you know you need them for your buy-to-let properties. But are you fully up to speed with your obligations as a landlord, as well as with recent updates to minimum energy efficiency standards?
Whether you’ve just entered the rental market, or simply need to refresh your memory, this guide covers all you need to know about EPCs.
EPC requirements for landlords
As the gov.uk website states, an EPC is required whenever a property is built, sold or rented. A certificate must be ordered for potential tenants to view before the property is put on the rental market.
An EPC provides information about a property's energy use and typical energy costs, and rates the property from A to G (A being most efficient). It also includes handy tricks on how to reduce energy usage and save money, with the certificate valid for 10 years.
A good EPC rating for your property could really work in your favour, as potential tenants will be attracted by the prospect of lower energy bills. This could also help lower tenant turnover and maximise the rental values of your properties.
EPC register and energy assessors
If you’re just about to buy a property with the aim of letting it out, you can retrieve its EPC from the government’s retrieval site. Bear in mind that not all properties will be listed on here, as the current owners may have opted-out of sharing the information.
If you discover that the property doesn’t have an EPC, then you’ll need to get one from an approved energy assessor. Many estate and letting agents offer this service, but you’re pay a premium for the convenience. Instead, it may be best checking the government’s EPC register, containing an extensive list of accredited assessors who provide energy certificates for landlords.
Which? explains that EPCs can cost up to £120, though the price for the average property tends to be much lower than this. There’s no advantage in choosing a more expensive service, so use the register to compare price from reputable assessors.
Buildings that don’t require EPCs
There are certain types of building that don’t require an EPC. These include:
- Places of worship
- Temporary buildings that will be used for less than two years
- Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that use little energy
- Standalone buildings that have total useful floor space of less than 50m2
- Holiday accommodation rented for less than four months per year, or let under a licence to occupy
- Listed buildings – you should seek advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work to improve energy standards would change the character of the building
- Residential buildings used for less than four months each year
New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
Landlords EPC legislation changed on 1 April 2018, requiring them to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E on the properties they rent out. Non-compliance could land you with a penalty of up to £4,000, unless you’re able to prove an accepted exemption.
The new legislation forms part of the MEES, which applies to private-rented, non-domestic and residential properties in England and Wales. It’s aim is to encourage both landlords and property owners to enhance energy efficiency in their homes, with the benefits passed on to tenants in the form of lower energy bills.
The law currently applies to new lets and renewals but from April 2020, it will apply to all existing tenancies. So, if one of your existing let properties is rated F and G, you have two years to make improvements to meet these buy-to-let energy performance requirements. If not, you won’t be granted a certificate.
Let property EPC regulation also means that, as of April 2016, tenants can ask your permission to carry out energy efficiency measures on the property they rent from you.
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Ways to improve a let property EPC rating
- Ensure your loft insulation is at least 270mm in depth
- Make sure cavity walls are insulated
- Consider replacing old heating systems
- Upgrade single-glazed windows to double glazing