15 August 2014 by

Do I really need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

One of the main ways in which the EU and the Government propose to tackle climate change and reduce emissions is through greater energy efficiency. They hope to increase public awareness of such issues by making it a legal requirement for an EPC to be in place for both residential and commercial properties when being sold or placed for rent unless the building is exempt.

What is an EPC? 

An EPC shows how energy efficient your property is. It grades the property from A to G; A being the highest most efficient rating and G the lowest, it is exactly the same scale used on new fridges and freezers. If you have a brand new home it’s likely to have a higher rating, whereas if you have an older home it’s likely to be much lower.

The EPC will show the estimated energy usage and CO2 emissions as well as potential future readings should the recommended energy saving measures be implemented.  The report summarises the  current energy performance related features of the property, such as the windows, heating system, lighting, roof etc and  what action can be taken to save money and make the property more efficient. This could include installing double glazing, low energy lighting or loft, floor or wall insulation.

The theory is that the better the rating, the more attractive the property should be to potential buyers or tenants, as it indicates lower energy bills. Whilst the EPC will contain many suggestions for improvements a seller/landlord is not obliged to carry out any of these works.

When do I need an EPC? 

When selling or letting your property an EPC must be commissioned before the property is marketed, unless a valid EPC already exists. The seller/landlord may be fined if the EPC Regulations are not complied with. From a practical perspective it is advisable to ensure that an EPC is obtained before putting a property on the market – the front page of the EPC can then be included in the property particulars from the start of the marketing process and a full EPC given to potential purchasers/tenants before or at the time of viewing the property.

This will avoid the risk of the EPC requirements being overlooked in the course of the marketing process. You could face a hefty penalty if you do not comply with the EPC requirements, so be warned!

How long does an EPC last? 

An EPC and accompanying recommendation report lasts for 10 years unless another EPC has been produced within that time in which case only the latest one produced is valid.

Where can I get an EPC from and how much will it cost?

Visit the energy performance certificate register online here to find accredited energy assessors in your area and get a quote. You can also check whether an individual assessor is accredited on the site. Costs usually range between £60 and £150.

What exemptions are there?

A number of exemptions are available for particular buildings. This includes buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance – this includes listed buildings.

If you have any queries regarding selling or buying a property or obtaining an EPC please contact Sophie Shaladi 020 7288 4798 ResidentialProperty@boltburdon.co.uk

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