A, B, C, D, E, F, G, how’s your property’s energy?
In this article, we are going to discuss :
No, we won’t be apologising for that use of rhyme, we just asked you a very serious question. Do you know your property’s energy performance and where you might find the information to see it? How long are energy performance certificates valid for and when do they need to be renewed?
If you’re a landlord then your EPC rating is becoming increasingly important. In 2025, the minimum requirement for an EPC rating (depending on building grade or listed status) will rise from E to C. If you have a tenant with an existing contract then the new rating won’t have to apply until 2028 but with a new tenant, this won’t be the case.
It is an awful lot of upheaval for many landlords and likely to be quite costly for some. However, we have to accept that despite the price to be paid, in the long-term, the positive impact this will have on reducing emissions and protecting the environment, is very important.
Like a great many things nowadays, energy performance is no exception to the property paper trail. Ever since the shift towards better performing and more efficient energy became a priority, your property’s energy efficiency is now subject to more scrutiny than ever before. You need an EPC for rental property as a requirement before a tenant moves in, otherwise, there can be consequences.
Fear not, Flex Living have the ultimate guide to EPC requirements for Landlords with everything you might ever need to know about these colourful certificates outlined and explained in this helpful little article! Although, if you would prefer to have someone else take care of all of these requirements for you, we can definitely help with that.
What Is An EPC?
An EPC or, Energy Performance Certificate, is a document for rating your property’s energy consumption and its output efficiency. EPCs take into account the amount of energy your property uses, including how efficiently the property uses energy for appliances and utilities (such as electricity and gas) on top of how well your property is insulated.
An EPC is designed to measure the energy efficiency of a property and ultimately, how much this costs a landlord or, a tenant living there. A higher rating on an EPC indicates that a property is more efficient and thus, less costly in terms of energy-related costs, whilst a lower-rated property would be less efficient and cost more to run.
EPCs measure energy performance based on:
- CO2 emissions from a property each year (measured by the ton)
- This is determined by gas and electrical appliances and their output such as the boiler, lights etc.
- The amount of energy used (measured per m²)
- This is determined by the energy usage of devices that are plugged in to a property as well as how well the property is insulated
As a result of these measurements and the applicable calculations for the energy costs of the building, buildings receive an energy rating from the EPC scale. However, as we mentioned at the start of this article, the minimum EPC rating is being raised from the current rating of E to C.
EPC Ratings Explained:
The EPC rating scale is ranked as follows:
- EPC rating A: for homes with an efficiency score of 92 or higher
- EPC rating B: for homes with an efficiency score between 81 and 91
- EPC rating C: for homes with an efficiency score between 69 and 80
- EPC rating D: for homes with an efficiency score between 55 and 68
- EPC rating E: for homes with an efficiency score between 39 and 54
- EPC rating F: for homes with an efficiency score between 21 and 38
- EPC rating G: for homes with an efficiency score between 1 and 20
An EPC rating of E or higher is a legal requirement now for homes in the UK (as of April 2018), with most UK homes having an average energy rating of D. The UK has a target of achieving an average rating in all homes of C or higher by 2025, so if your property ranks lower than this at the moment, you may want to start looking at how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency sooner rather than later!
There is very limited room to outmanoeuvre the new rises to EPC ratings with only certain listed properties available for any kind of exemption from the changes to the ratings.As such, with costs continuing to rise in the UK due to higher inflation, any delays you make to improving your property’s EPC rating are surely, only likely to cost you more in the long term and potentially, affect the time you can rent your property out for.
Depending on how major the work you have to carry out on your property is (and we have more on this later with examples of how to improve your EPC rating and performance) the property maintenance you could be forced to carry out could be disruptive to your plans to rent out your property. Major work can force tenants to temporarily move out whilst maintenance is completed and in some cases – lead to voided agreements!
If managing all of this sounds like too much of a headache for you at this point, then perhaps now is the time to find an expert proeprty managment service to take care of it for you, just like us at Flex Living!
Can I Check If My Property Has An EPC?
You can absolutely check if your property has an existing EPC! Even if you can’t find the hard copy of your EPC certificate at home you can still find a copy of it online.
We find it’s always best to use the gov.uk website for checking any existing energy performance certificates via their EPC register.
When checking an EPC, make sure you pay attention to how long the certificate is valid for, you don’t want to be caught with an out-of-date certificate if you’ve not seen yours for a while! But just how long does an EPC last for?
How Long Is An EPC Valid For
An EPC is valid for 10 years and a new one must be obtained upon expiry of the previous certificate. Failure to do so or, failing to make improvements to your home to keep its energy rating up to the current minimum requirement of ‘E’, can result in some very expensive fines!
How To Get An EPC Certificate
It may not surprise anyone reading by this point, that to acquire an EPC certificate, you first need to get your property rated to grade how energy efficient the building is! There are more than a few energy firms that will offer their services to provide EPCs and ratings but, not all might come at the same price.
Any good surveyor will provide you with suggestions to improve your home’s energy efficiency and performance. This can cover anything from improved loft or wall insulation to a boiler change. These changes might seem annoying and potentially, expensive to make but, do not make the mistake of thinking that spending any additional money on these changes is not worth your time.
As we mentioned, the government has set an improved average rating by 2025 for all homes, and it will only increase higher from there. Changes you make to improve your home’s energy efficiency are vital steps to improving your property’s livability and as such, its marketability to a future tenant or owner. No one wants to break their bank balance every month for a hot shower at a time when the average price of energy bills has already increased by 80%! Some banks and lenders have even stopped offering mortgages on buildings with a poor EPC rating!
The average price of an EPC certificate should be between £35 and £120 depending on your area and the size of the property but, it is always advisable to look around a bit and get a few quotes from different providers (also note that you shouldn’t book an appointment for an energy assessment until you’ve been quoted a price!). We would recommend using our friends over at My Constructor for the best rates on EPC certificates on the market!
But if dealing with all of this doesn’t really appeal to you or, you’re short on time to properly manage your property, you could always turn to an expert property management service to take over managing your property’s energy performance instead!
Along with the latest set of minimum EPC requirements, the list of exemptions to these changes has also been updated. Some of these exemptions include the following:
- Properties with a higher cost of making improvements to their EPC rating can find themselves exempt from the new rules. If the cost of a single improvement or the total works required to improve an EPC rating at a property exceed £3500, that property can apply for an exemption from the new minimum rating requirements.
- Any property that has completed all applicable works to improve its EPC rating but still isn’t able to reach the new minimum requirement, can also apply for an exemption.
- Any work that you carry out to improve an EPC rating on a property that could potentially devalue it, such as carpeting over wooden floors or installing solar panels on the roof, could be seen to devalue the property and allow it to qualify for an exemption. If any changes you make may devalue the property, then calling out a surveyor and getting, a report to demonstrate this, will help with qualifying for an exemption
- Additionally, if you don’t own the entire building your property is in and if the owner or managing company is likely to refuse you permission to carry out works on the property to improve its EPC rating – you can qualify for an exemption under the “Consent” exemption as part of the updated list of exemptions.
- Listed buildings are a common exception to EPCs, as they are typically restricted from making major changes to the property’s existing work that would help improve its energy efficiency (such as replacing single-pane wooden windows with double-glazed UPVC ones). You can check with your local council to see whether or not your property is listed on their buildings registry.
For a full list of exemptions, see the latest information from the UK government for more information.
How To Improve An EPC Rating
Improving your EPC rating is all about achieving a more energy-efficient and sustainable home. There are multiple ways to go about this and you can even turn to a professional property managment service like ours to do it for you but, take caution, the process can be expensive depending on how many improvements you decide to make!
However, in the long run, any improvements to your house or home’s energy efficiency, are only going to end up saving you money on energy bills and utilities.
It is vital to remember that you need to keep proof of all work carried out on your property, so do take pictures before and after the work. Keep a log of all works carried out including a schedule of works, receipts and plans. Better still, use the same surveyor who gave you the suggestions to carry out improvements to your property’s EPC rating both before and after, the work has been done!
Some of the more common suggestions for improving your EPC rating include:
- Reduce Your Energy Output With Smart Devices: Companies like Nest and Hive have great gadgets and appliances for reducing your energy output and costs to ensure your property’s energy is as efficient as possible. Installing a smart meter is also a great idea for tracking your energy usage at a property!
- Update Your Electrics: Have you got a faulty plug socket or a kettle that keeps sparking out? Updating your sockets and devices more regularly can actually save you a lot of money over time.
- Installing Double Glazing; having better windows that prevent both drafts, as well as heat from escaping through them, is incredibly handy in keeping your home warmer, and saving on heating bills during the colder months!
- Loft Insulation; government-backed schemes for free insulation installation may have wound down, but loft insulation is still a fantastic method for improving the energy efficiency of your home by preventing heat from escaping and once again, cutting down on those bills!
- Wall Insulation; again, insulating your home more (or at all) is quite the energy saver. Old and poorly insulated walls do not trap heat very well, meaning far more energy is wasted from heating your home. Get some insulation stuck into those walls and keep the heating down!
- Replacing Your Boiler; an ageing or dysfunctional boiler is the enemy of an energy-efficient house. Upgrading and maintaining your boiler is an essential step in reducing your property’s energy bills and maintaining more efficient energy usage.
Solar Panels; solar panels might have an off-putting installation cost, but they’re great at producing cleaner, cheaper and most importantly, more efficient energy. Remember. Solar panels can have an impact on your property’s value and potentially complicate any mortgage applications as some banks and lenders are not keen on the finance arrangements used to acquire them!
Now that you know what an EPC certificate and rating is, check your EPC rating for your property, make sure it’s valid and in-date and if you’re not happy with it, why not start making some steps to improve?
Or better yet, why not have an expert property management company take this whole situation, as well as any other property management queries, out of your hands?
Working with Flex Living can see all your property energy puzzles solved with our fantastic hands-on property management, solving your property’s problems at incredible prices. Speak to one of our fantastic team members today or start the process of becoming a Flex Living landlord now!