What are EPCs?
Energy Performance Certificates were introduced in England and Wales on 1st August 2007. These are surveys that show if a property is energy efficient, and a rating is produced from A to G, with A being the most efficient, and this rating shows if energy efficient improvements need to be carried out on the property to improve the rating. It was announced in 2015 that, after checks, changes to Energy Performance Certificates would be implemented from 1st April 2018.
As the rating gets higher, the fuel bills will be lower, so a high rating is ideal. The same scale is used for environmental impact of the property. The average property in the UK is D – E. When the rating is produced, the survey includes bespoke recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save money.
How is the survey carried out?
The assessor carrying out the survey visits the property, and looks at aspects of the property that could affect energy usage, for example the loft insulation, the domestic boiler, the hot water tank, the radiators, and the windows for double glazing. When they have gathered this information, they input the information into a software program, which then performs a calculation of energy efficiency for the particular property. This calculation gives a single figure for energy efficiency, and also the recommended value of potential for improvement. The program also produces similar figures for environmental impact, and a table of estimated energy bills per annum. The householder pays for the survey.
How are EPCs changing?
From 2018, it will be unlawful to newly let or lease a residential or commercial property with an EPC rating below E within the privately rented sector. The changes will apply to both flats and houses, and affects any property with an EPC or that requires an EPC. The EPC must be no more than 10 years old. For domestic properties, the surveys will be based on fuel costs rather than CO2 emissions. These changes were instated after the Government had taken into account views from both individuals and organisations. From April 2020, all existing tenancies will be subject to the new minimum standard.
Will I be affected?
Landlords nationwide will be affected, as if the property being let does not have an EPC rating at E or above, eligible properties will need to be improved to a minimum standard to comply with the new law. There will be a penalty in place for those who do not comply, which could be up to £4000. If the property requires improvement, the energy efficient improvements must be carried out.
There are exemptions in place for the changes, due to the variety of properties available. Landlords are required to notify a body of enforcement called the PRS Exemptions Register, in order to be eligible for a property to be below a rating of E. Landlords will be able to do this from October 2016, in order to be added to the list before April next year. The list will take the form of a database available for public consumption. When making the claim for exemptions, landlords will be required to provide evidence on request to support their claim. If granted, exemptions from EPCs below the rating of E will count for 5 years. After this period, the exemption will be reviewed to see if the situation has changed. Failure to register exemption will count as failure to comply with regulations, and the landlord could be subject to penalties.
If you have any queries regarding the new legislation, then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Taylor Clarke for clarification.