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What do you think of Energy Performance Certificates?

Are Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) effective? We want to know what you think.

Politicians love a good consultation. It seems like every other week they’re calling for evidence on one thing or another. However, every now and again a particularly interesting one pops up and the current consultation on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) is one such example.

What do EPCs do now and what is being proposed?

The government is calling for evidence on EPCs and how they can be more effective.

At present EPCs simply let us know how energy efficient a property is but, short of that, they don’t do a lot else. One possibility is that the government could apply the same rules for sellers as they imposed on landlords earlier this year. Under the new buy-to-let regulation, landlords can’t let a property unless it has a rating of A to E. If the same rules were introduced for house sellers they’d be unable to sell a property with an F or G rating, meaning many properties will need to be upgraded before selling.

Green mortgages for green homes?

It’s also possible that EPCs could be linked to so-called ‘green mortgages’. The idea is that buyers looking to purchase a more energy efficient property could benefit from more generous mortgage offers. The concept was first suggested in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy.

“We’ve already seen some evidence of lenders using the energy efficiency of new build property as an eligibility factor in access to a particular deal that can offer a preferential rate,” says David Hollingworth, mortgage expert at London and Country mortgage brokers. “Barclays already has a green home mortgage available on applicable properties built by certain developers.  There’s no reason that other lenders wouldn’t look to develop green mortgages in a similar fashion, appealing to those that value the energy efficiency of new homes but also raising awareness of the EPC rating.”

But Hollingworth says since new homes are generally much more efficient than existing properties, it would be important to see incentives extending to products that may be aimed at those seeking to improve and upgrade the energy efficiency of their existing property.

“Lenders will be able to support the release of equity for home improvements but perhaps we could see an uprating in the EPC rating being used to offer improvements to the mortgage rate,” he adds.  “That presents its own challenges and administration of course and ‘before and after’ EPC reports will come with a cost but this kind of approach could help owners of older property take on the costs of making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.”

What do you think?

The HomeOwners Alliance plans to submit a response to the EPC consultation and, to add your views, we’d love to know what you think.

Tell us:

  • How useful do you think EPCs are for homebuyers? Has an EPC ever influenced your purchase?
  • Have you ever used an EPC to negotiate the price of a property?
  • Did you consult the EPC for renovation recommendations?
  • Would you support the idea of properties coming with a building logbook, containing information on works that have been done?
  • Have you bought a new build and found the EPC  is not accurate? Please do comment below as we hear about this from our users but would like to give evidence to government of it.
  • How would you feel about having to get an EPC after key home improvements?

The deadline for consultation responses is October 7th. Tell us what you think and we’ll feed your comments through – by either emailing us at hello@hoa.org.uk or leaving a comment below.

If you’re not sure whether or not your property has an EPC or you can’t find it, you can search using the government register by postcode here.

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