From April 2018, new laws were introduced that stated any properties in the private rented sector must reach minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) of an EPC rating of E or higher.
To help you understand what this means for you, how to improve your rating and the benefits of doing so, we have put together a comprehensive guide detailing all you need to know about EPC’s and energy efficiency.
What is an EPC?
EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ and is a rating that a building is given based on its energy efficiency. This rating helps potential tenants work out rough energy costs for living there and determine whether your property is within their budget.
The ratings are graded on a scale from A-G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least. For landlords in the private rented sector, the property must meet a minimum standard of ‘E’ before a new tenant can move in, or you renew an existing tenancy agreement. If these standards aren’t met, then you can face a big fine from the Government.
EPC’s are a legal requirement and have been since 2008. This means all landlords must provide an EPC to all new and prospective tenants before letting out the property, at no extra cost to the tenant.
How do I get an EPC?
To get an EPC, you must instruct an accredited energy surveyor who will come to the property to assess it. They will look at the performance of:
- Loft insulation
- Hot water tanks
- Open fireplaces
- Solar panels
- Any other items of energy use
At Falcon Energy, we have years of experience providing landlords with EPC’s that are compliant with all relevant standards and regulations. To find out more about our EPC services, click here.
What the certificate means
Once you have had your EPC completed by an accredited professional, you will receive a certificate that will have the following information on it:
- How much energy the property uses
- Costs to heat the property based on estimated usage
- How to improve your rating
- Potential cost savings from improving the rating
- Energy efficiency rating
- Environmental impact rating
- Carbon dioxide emissions
- Details of the energy assessor
Once you have your certificate and it shows that your property meets MEES, then you can now rent this out to new tenants. If your property does not meet a minimum of an ‘E’ rating, then you will need to make some improvements to your property.
If you do not have the funds to do this yourself, there are some grants that are provided by the Government to help you make essential improvements, just visit the Government website to see if you are eligible.
How long does the EPC last?
The Energy Performance certificate will last 10 years, unless any major works are carried out.
If you have completed a lot of work to the property to help improve the EPC rating, then you can voluntarily undertake another energy assessment to gain a more up-to-date and accurate rating.
How to improve your rating
There are a range of fixes you can have done on your property to help improve the energy efficiency of it, some of these can be done by yourself but most of these will involve getting a qualified tradesman in:
- Change the lightbulbs to energy efficient LEDs
- Add cavity wall insulation
- Use thermostatic valves on radiators throughout the property
- Add loft insulation
- Get double glazed windows
- Replace your boiler
- Add renewable energy sources such as solar panels
- Add insulation to the hot water tank
Whilst some of these are a bit more involved, simple things such as replacing the lightbulbs and adding insulation to the hot water tank are relatively simple and easy, yet effective ways to improve your rating.
If you are struggling to find area in your property which you could improve on to get a better EPC rating, tests such as air tightness testing and thermographic testing are able to determine where heat and air is lost through the property, causing it to be inefficient. This can give you indications on where needs improvement and where to start when renovating.
Benefits to improving your rating
Improving your rating not only makes you compliant with Government regulations, it actually has a range of benefits to you.
The main benefit is the money you will save on the property. Implementing more energy efficient measures into the home will make it far cheaper to run. Further to this, newer appliances such as boilers and lightbulbs are far longer lasting than their older counterparts, meaning you will not need to replace them for a long time.
Another benefit is that potential tenants are becoming more and more interested in saving money, so they are far more likely to choose a property that is more energy efficient over one that isn’t.
Tenants, especially millennials, are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and their carbon footprint on the planet. So by ensuring your property is as energy efficient it can be, you will not only be helping the planet, but you will also attract a wider range of potential tenants to your property.
Are there any penalties for not complying?
For those who do not comply with the new rules, your property could be deemed unfit for rental, meaning you are unable to rent out your property until you have met the required standards.
You could also be fined up to £5000 for non compliance. Currently there is a scale for fines, which are as follows:
- £1000 fine for providing false information to the exemptions register
- £2000 fine for failing to comply with the notice from your Local Authority
- £4000 fine for renting out your property for less than three months with an EPC rating less than E
- £5000 fine for renting out your property for more than three months with an EPC rating less than E
Get an EPC for your property
Whilst these are the current rules regarding EPC’s there are some changes coming from April 2020. To find out more about the upcoming changes, see our blog.
If you require further information about EPC’s and whether your property needs one, or if you would like to book your property in for an EPC please get in touch with us on 01403 253439.