How Do I Check Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) on a Property?

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When you are in the market for a new property, it is important to be aware of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). An EPC is a document that provides information on how energy efficient a property is. It will give you an idea of how much it will cost to heat and light the property and how environmentally friendly it is.

So what is an EPC, and why should every homeowner or landlord have one? Here’s all you need to know about Energy Performance Certificates.

What Is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Energy efficiency in homes plays a vital role in controlling energy use. To keep your utility bills at a minimum, upgrading your property’s energy efficiency is essential. For some residing in rental properties, the landlord must ensure the home’s energy efficiency meets a rating of A-E. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard was developed in 2018 to improve emergency efficiency in houses. The standards call upon all property owners and landlords to ensure their properties have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

An Energy Performance Certificate measures and reveals the energy use and cost of a property. The certificate is a legal mandate under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard and applies to commercial and private properties. An EPC will also provide information on improving energy efficiency and reducing energy use in the evaluated property.

How Long Does an EPC Certificate Last?

Generally, EPCs are valid for 10 years. If the EPC has a rating of E or above, you can reuse it multiple times during the period. However, you can obtain a new EPC if you plan to sell your property and you’ve had some energy upgrades that could increase its rating. If your EPC has a rating of E or above, your property’s value could increase and may appeal more to potential buyers.

Who Does EPC Certificates?

Accredited domestic energy assessors are responsible for carrying out EPC assessments on properties. You can find such assessors through an internet search or the government’s official EPC register. Alternatively, you can ask a real estate or letting agent to source one for you. You can also contact the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to help you find an assessor.

Notably, landlords and property owners should obtain EPCs for their properties. However, if an agency is in charge of letting or selling the property, they should ensure it has a valid EPC.

The length of assessment varies with both domestic and commercial properties. While domestic assessments may take 20-40 minutes, commercial assessments can go for 40 minutes or more. The assessment period is a factor of the property’s size and nature. Bigger properties may take longer to assess.

A typical EPC assessment involves a general walk through the property while inspecting different aspects that affect your energy use. The common areas assessors pay keen attention to are:

  • Lighting
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Primary heating systems
  • Possible renewable energy sources
  • Size, age and construction of the property

Assessors will require access to your home and may possibly take photographs. However, the photos are only meant for the assessment exercise and will not be shared with the public. After collecting all necessary data, the assessors can calculate your property’s energy efficiency, which will feature in a report.

How Do I Find My EPC Certificate?

If you’ve had an EPC assessment done for your property, you can access your certificate by visiting the EPC register website. But first, you will need a Report Reference Number (RRN) for the property. An RRN is a 24-digit reference given to a property once an EPC is initiated. If you’re unsure about your number, you can contact your EPC assessor for clarification.

Alternatively, you can retrieve your EPC using the property’s address. The EPC register website has a separate tab that says, “Retrieve Report Using Property Address.” Type in the property’s postcode. If you don’t have the postcode, you can use the property’s post town or street instead.

How Much Does an EPC Cost?

Obtaining an EPC is not free; however, the cost is flexible and affordable. Generally, the EPC assessment depends on the market and can also vary with the property size and location. The price of an EPC usually ranges from £60 to 120, but again, this can vary.

An EPC also has other fees and penalties that you should know about. For instance, if you fail to obtain an EPC for your property, you could receive a fine. Additionally, if your property has a rating lower than E, and you fail to upgrade it to an energy efficiency rating of E or above, you may be charged a penalty.

What If My Property Has a Lower Rating?

In the UK, the average rating for most houses is E. A low rating on your EPC certificate means two things: Your property attracts high energy costs, and it may not be appealing to potential homebuyers. A low rating could be a result of one of the following:

  • Poor insulation
  • Poor window quality
  • High energy-consuming heating or lighting systems

If your property has an EPC rating lower than E, your best bet is to make improvements to raise the rating to E or above. An EPC assessment can reveal areas that you need to improve on. A simple adjustment such as installing loft insulation can boost your property’s efficiency.

Notably, failure to make such improvements can attract a fine. Selling the property or transferring ownership rights may be ideal in cases in which the upgrades are more expensive. However, you may not know this until you get an EPC.

Is There a Situation Where an EPC Is Not Needed?

Yes. There are two possible situations in which you may not necessarily need an EPC. Some buildings are exempt from obtaining an EPC. These are:

  • Listed buildings
  • Holiday homes rented for four months or less in a year
  • Temporary structures that may last for two years or less
  • Buildings less than 50 square meters that are not used for residency
  • Workshops or industrial buildings with low energy consumption
  • Residential buildings with an occupancy of four months or less in a year
  • Edifices used for religious practices, such as churches, temples or mosques

Additionally, you do not need an EPC if you’re not planning to sell or rent your property or if the property you’re selling will be demolished.