What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
If you decide to sell or rent out a home in the UK, you will have to pay for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to offer potential buyers or tenants an idea of how energy efficient the property is.
It gives prospective buyers and tenants a picture of how expensive the home is likely to be to run – and where there is potentially room for improvement in terms of its energy efficiency and environmental impact.
Research by the Energy Saving Trust indicates that about two-thirds of potential buyers thought that a home with a high EPC rating should be worth more because it promised lower gas and electricity bills.
Factors considered when deciding an energy rating
Collating scores for all the various factors, each property is scored out of a total of 100, and placed into one of seven bands: A-G, which also takes into consideration your home's carbon emissions. The EPC covers various factors that contribute to your home's overall energy efficiency, including:
- Insulation: Does the home have cavity wall insulation? Are the windows double-glazed? How thick are the property's walls?
- Heating system: Is the home fitted with a modern, efficient boiler and central heating system? Is hot water stored, or heated on demand?
- Energy generation: Are there any means of generating your own energy (e.g. solar panels)?
- Energy saving: Are energy-saving (rather than conventional) lightbulbs in use, or any other energy-saving devices?
Risks of not providing an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
The EPC is a compulsory document if you are selling or letting a property, and must be commissioned (but not necessarily received) before you can start marketing the property. The duty to provide an EPC falls on either the seller, in the case of a building being sold, or the landlord, if it is being rented. In the case of brand new buildings, the duty to provide an EPC falls on the builder. In all of these cases, there is a penalty of £200 for not providing an EPC. EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as required within that time.
Arranging to get an EPC
An EPC has to be produced by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). Quite often your estate or lettings agent may be able to recommend a particular assessor, but it's up to you who you choose. Before you appoint an independent DEA make sure they are a current member of an accreditation scheme, as this makes sure they are operating to professional standards.The EPC Register provides details of accredited DEAs at hcrregister.com/searchAssessor.html.
Costs of an EPC
The cost of getting an EPC varies depending on the size and location of your property, and the DEA you choose – ranging from about £30 up to £100 – so it's well worth shopping around to find the best price.