Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in October 2008, and since then they have been an essential document for landlords and tenants.
But what do you have to know about these when you are letting a property? Here is a guide to everything you need to know.
An EPC Displays the Efficiency of Your Property
The role of the EPC is to quickly and clearly display the energy efficiency of your property. The property will be assessed and given a rating from A to G. A is the top rating you can achieve, which is the most energy efficient, and G is the lowest rating.
The rating instantly shows tenants how energy efficient the property is, which will affect how much they will spend on energy bills. It also shows the property's overall impact on the environment through its CO2 emissions.
Rules Surrounding EPCs
There are a number of rules regarding EPCs when you let a property. These include:
- EPCs last for 10 years
- you must ensure you provide one free of charge to your tenants
- if you invest in a property that already has an EPC, you can keep on using this for as long as it is valid
- if you own multiple self-contained flats in one building, you need one EPC for each flat
- only one EPC is needed if you own a shared house
- if your tenant moves out, you can continue to use the existing EPC
You must also display the current EPC when you advertise your property to tenants. It must be clearly displayed on adverts for your property and in any marketing materials both online and offline.
Also, there are some situations when an EPC may not be required. For example, different rules apply if your building is listed.
Arranging Your EPC
EPCs are easy to arrange. Simply contact your nearest Domestic Energy Assessor to carry out the assessment, and pay them the required fee. There are different types of assessors, and you will need to choose one based on the type of property you own and the features it has. Start your search at this page on the Gov.uk site.
Failing to provide your tenants with an up-to-date EPC, or failing to use it when you market the property, can have serious repercussions.
The penalty comes in the form of a fine, which is currently £200 per dwelling if you do not have an EPC. For adverts, the fine is £200 per advert if you don't display the EPC, and this means the total fine can be significant.
Changes Being Introduced in 2018
The rules surrounding EPCs change regularly, making it essential to keep up to date with the latest legislation.
One large change will be introduced on April 1st, 2018. From this date, you will be required to have a minimum EPC rating for your property of E for new tenancies or when you renew a tenancy. For existing tenancies, it becomes law exactly two years later in 2020.
Failing to do this could lead to a £4,000 penalty. So now is the time to start looking into how you can improve a property to make it more efficient if you fall into categories F or G.
Section 21 Changes
Now there is even more need to provide tenants with an EPC, and it regards changes made to Section 21 notices. You probably already know that these are the notices that you use as a landlord to evict a tenant without giving a specific reason.
The new legislation came into force at the beginning of October 2015. It states that if you do not provide an EPC to your tenants (along with a Gas Safety certificate and the 'how to rent' booklet created by the government), you may not be able to evict tenants using Section 21 notices.
Know Your Obligations
Keep up to date with the latest laws regarding the EPC. Getting an EPC is affordable and easy to arrange, and it lasts for 10 years, so there is no excuse for ignoring it. Arrange yours today if you do not have one yet, remember to use it with your marketing materials, and don't forget to provide it free of charge to your tenants.