Energy Performance Certificates
Since 1 October 2008, landlords have been required to make an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available to interested parties when a property is being advertised for sale or let. The purpose of the EPC is to show the energy performance of the dwelling.
The certificates show the energy efficiency rating, compare the home's energy performance-related features with the average ratings, and draw specific attention to improving the performance.
An energy performance certificate, which includes a recommendation report, lasts for ten years unless another EPC has been produced. Only the latest one is valid.
An EPC must be commissioned before advertising, and you should use all reasonable efforts to ensure that an energy performance certificate is obtained within seven days of marketing. If it was simply impossible to get the EPC within seven days, an additional 21 days is allowed, but this extra 21 days is only allowed if all reasonable efforts were made to obtain the EPC in the first seven days.
As shown in the energy performance certificate, the energy performance indicator must be displayed in any advertisement on the internet, in newspapers, magazines, in written particulars, or in any other ad. The ad should include the numerical score or letter representing the energy usage shown on the EPC.
The EPC must be available to prospective occupiers, free of charge, before they are given written details, arrange a viewing or agree to a letting. The EPC does not have to be given at this stage but is available if they ask. A copy of the EPC is acceptable.
The actual occupier who takes the property must have been given a full copy of the EPC, including the assessor's recommendation report.
It is required to provide an EPC when the property is to be let as a separate (or self-contained) dwelling. This also applies if a whole house or flat is being let to sharers on only one contract.
With the letting of individual rooms, the guidance relating to when an EPC is required states:
An EPC is not required for an individual room when rented out, as it is not a building or a building unit designed or altered for separate use. The whole building will require an EPC if sold or rented out.
However, a landlord cannot serve a no-reason notice if they haven't given the contract-holder an EPC.
It is submitted that it's better to have one done for the whole building and give each room a copy of the EPC for the entire house when a new contract is granted. That way, there is no arguing over possession with the court.
Furthermore, the accelerated possession claim form asks has the contract-holder been given an EPC- it doesn't have an option in the form for "an EPC is not required". An explanation would need to be added if no EPC is given.
Breaking the EPC rules can result in a £200 fixed penalty notice from Trading Standards.
The EPC rating must be E or better unless an exemption is registered - see the next section, "Energy Efficiency Improvements", for more information. Interestingly, if you rent individual rooms and there is no requirement to supply an EPC, if there is a valid EPC, perhaps from a purchase, the same minimum applies to the room rental.
EPCs are completed by registered Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs). An existing EPC can be found here.
Although the EPC may suggest several improvements you could make, provided the rating is E or above, there is no legal obligation to undertake any of these works. Still, it is advisable to discuss with prospective occupiers which (if any) of the energy-saving recommendations might be carried out or already have been carried out. You may avoid a potential complaint by being transparent and managing the occupier's expectations.