What is an Energy Performance Certificate and when will one be required?

Energy Performance Certificate

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document which is required for all homes whenever they are built, rented or sold.

Therefore if an individual is buying or selling a home it is now a requirement set in stone by law that an Energy Performance Certificate is in place.

Are there any other circumstances when an Energy Performance Certificate is required?

Energy Performance certificates are also required upon the construction of a new home and are also needed for rental homes for the first time the property is let.

Why is it important that we have Energy Performance Certificates in the UK?

Energy Performance Certificates are important as currently half of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions occur due to the way are buildings are heated, lit or used. Even if we implement various changes which may appear minor will have a significant impact on reducing energy consumption.

What information is contained on the certificate?

The Energy Performance Certificate will provide a record of how energy efficient a property is as a building and will provide ratings on how energy efficient it is from A to G. These ratings are along the same lines as the labels which are currently provided with certain domestic appliances such as washing machines or fridges.

Will the same methods concerning energy consumption apply across all properties?

Energy Performance Certificates will be created using standard methods and assumptions concerning energy consumption which will apply across the board ensuring that one building can easily be compared with another building. This will ensure that the following people can make an informed decision regarding the efficiency and carbon emissions from the building as part of their investment:

  • Prospective buyers

  • Tenants

  • Owners

  • Occupiers

  • Purchasers

Recommendation Report

An Energy Performance Certificate is also accompanied by a recommendation report which lists various cost effective measures to improve the energy efficiency rating. Furthermore contained within the Energy Performance Certificate is another rating to reflect what the rating could be if these measures were implemented.

When is an Energy Performance Certificate Required?

Since October 2008 all homes when built or sold require an Energy Performance Certificate. In relation to rented properties an Energy Performance Certificate will be required when a self-contained property is let to a new tenant.

An Energy Performance Certificate will not be required, however, when a tenant rents out a room and shares facilities in the situation where the tenant has a separate contract with the landlord.

Who has the responsibility in ensuring the Energy Performance Certificate is in place?

It is the responsibility of the individual selling or renting the property to ensure there is a valid Energy Performance Certificate in place and that it is shown to prospective buyers and tenants.  Once someone has bought the property or agreed to rent it the Energy Performance Certificate must be passed on to the eventual buyer or tenant.

As a landlord or a seller of a property when should I make an Energy Performance Certificate available?

A landlord or an individual selling the property should make an Energy Performance Certificate available to a prospective tenant or buyer at the earliest opportunity and no later than one of the following:

  • At the time when any written information about the building is provided in response to a request for information from the prospective tenant or buyer

  • When a viewing is conducted

If neither of the above situations occurs the Energy Performance Certificate should be provided before entering into the contract to let or sell the property.

For how long will an Energy Performance Certificate last?

An Energy Performance Certificate will be valid for a period of ten years. However, this does not apply to homes which are subject to the Home Information Pack Regulations 2007. In a case where a Home Information Pack was required the Energy Performance Certificate cannot be more than three years old at the time when the property is first marketed.  

How can I go about obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate?

The only way which an Energy Performance Certificate can be produced is through an accredited agency assessor or a home inspector.

When you are tasking an individual with the job of creating an Energy Performance Certificate it is imperative to ensure that the individual operates as part of a Government approved accreditation or certification scheme.  This is an appropriate requirement as it will ensure that the individual creating the Energy Performance Certificate will be doing so according to the required professional standards.

What is the potential penalty for not having an Energy Performance Certificate in place?

If an Energy Performance Certificate is not in place for a domestic property the individual who was required to comply will be issued with a penalty of £200 for non compliance. Furthermore, following the penalty the Energy Performance Certificate must still be produced.

Which body is required to ensure that buildings have the requisite Energy Performance Certificate in place?

It is the job of the building control and trading standards section of the local authority for the area where the property is contained to ensure that the requisite Energy Performance Certificate has been put in place.