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  • Sam Crozier

What is an EPC? Understanding the Energy Performance Certificate

An EPC is a necessary document both in property transactions and more generally in energy efficiency conversations relating to the property market. EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate and is a requirement that you may have come across if you are selling, buying or letting a home.

Today we're taking a closer look at what the EPC is, and any implications for you.

What is the Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate is designed to confirm how energy efficient a building is by determining how much energy it produces compared to any energy it wastes unnecessarily. It uses a ratings system from A (the best rating and one that it is rare to achieve) to G (inefficient, and a fail grade in the case of rental properties which must achieve E or above).

EPCs also gives a good idea of how costly it could be to heat and light the property, as well as important information on the carbon dioxide emissions it is likely to generate. An EPC is required before the home goes on the market, whether that is for sale or to rent.

Additionally, they provide some further insight in the form of recommended improvements and what impact they could have, and what could be done to get a better rating in future. In some cases, these could be things as simple as energy efficient light bulbs!

Assessments for the Energy Performance Certificate should be conducted by a DEA inspector, which stands for Domestic Energy Assessor - a status that requires training and expertise.

Is your property legally required to have an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate is a legal requirement for domestic and commercial buildings in the UK that are available to rent or buy. There are only a handful of exceptions to this, such as in the case of temporary or listed buildings and several others, which do not require an EPC.

Energy Performance Certificates became compulsory in 2008. From April 2023, it was made an offence to continue to rent out a property with an EPC rating below E.

An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years, and must be renewed once it has expired. Of course, work may have been carried out in that 10 years in order to improve its energy efficiency, so it is worth getting a new assessment in order that your new certificate reflects this.

Who is responsible for EPCs?

Depending on the situation, it is the responsibility of the current owner of the property to make an valid EPC certificate available for it. If a property is being sold, for example, it is the responsibility of the seller; if a property if being leased, it is the responsibility of the landlord.

If you live in a rented property, you may encounter your landlord having an EPC completed while you are living there. It is one of their responsibilities to ensure that their property is only rented out if it has an EPC and that the rating is E or above, so when their current certificate is due to expire, they will be having a new one created. As a tenant, you should not be paying for an EPC; however, should a tenant wish to conduct energy efficiency improvements, the landlord does not need to fund these unless it is to ensure that the E rating is met.

Can I calculate my own EPC rating?

You cannot perform an EPC on your own house or calculate a rating for yourself. The EPC assessment must be conducted by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor, who will have a thorough understanding of the intricacies of energy use in properties and can ensure that the assessment meets the right criteria.

They will carry out a number of checks and take dimensions in order to identify any areas that heat could be lost and calculate roughly how much it will cost to power the property. This will involve examining any heaters or boilers, fuel usage, construction types, insulation, glazing and any low energy measures currently being used (such as lighting). It is not something that can be done by someone who is not an accredited energy assessor.

How much does an EPC cost?

There is no one fixed fee for an EPC, and instead the cost varies depending on the type and size of property (for example, how many bedrooms it has) as well as your provider. You can expect it to cost in the region of £35 to £120 - with the lower end of that range being for very small residential properties and scaling upwards from there.

The cost includes the survey by the DEA inspector that needs to take place in order to issue the certificate, as well as the Energy Performance Certificate document itself.

You cannot get an EPC for free, although you can check whether a property has one for no cost.

At Lease Planners, we aim to price our EPC services competitively and discuss costs transparently with you; generally, prices will range from X to Y.

Remember that the EPC may recommend some actions, especially if the rating is low, so there are situations where additional cost may be involved if you wish to implement any recommendations put forward.

How long does an EPC check take?

Getting an EPC check is a relatively speedy process; generally, the assessment itself will take between 30 and 60 minutes, although of course this depends on the size and type of property. For example, a three bedroom residential property would likely take around the 30 minute mark.

You can expect to receive the certificate a few days after the assessment.

However, when considering how quickly you can get an EPC certificate, keep in mind that the start to finish process from contacting a provider to having the certificate back will depend on both parties' availability for them to visit your home and perform the assessment.

At Lease Planners, we are generally able to have an assessor out to you within a couple of days, and you can expect your certificate a couple of days following their visit.

Get an EPC with one of our DEA inspectors

At Lease Planners, our DEA inspectors are fully accredited and deeply experienced in producing Energy Performance Certificates to accurately measure the energy efficiency of your home. We estimate the cost effectiveness of your energy consumption over a forecast period, and make sure to do it all with great customer service.

If you need advice on the Energy Performance Certificate or would like to discuss one for your property, get in touch today.

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