Do I need an EPC?
Do I need an EPC - Energy Performance Certificate - to sell or rent my home? Or am I exempt? How much do they cost? How quickly can I get one? And why are they so important? We've got all the answers...
Do I need an EPC?
Yes, if you’re selling or renting a property in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Sellers in Scotland have to provide a more extensive “home report”, which includes an EPC, as well as a survey and a property questionnaire.
An EPC must be commissioned before the property is put on the market and it must be available to be shown to prospective buyers or tenants if requested. However there are some exemptions.
What is an EPC?
An EPC – or Energy Performance Certificate – ranks properties in terms of energy efficiency. The most energy efficient homes are rated A while the lowest are rated G.
EPCs also include information about the property’s energy use and costs as well as recommendations about how to make your home more energy efficient and cheaper to run. These could include everything from installing insulation to switching to energy-saving lightbulbs. An Energy Performance Certificate will give an indication of how much these measures may cost to install as well as how much you can expect to save on your energy bills after you’ve made the upgrades.
Do I need an EPC for a listed building?
No. EPCs are not required for listed buildings. This is because improvements such as installing double glazing are often prohibited on these types of buildings might alter original features of the building.
When is an Energy Performance Certificate not required?
As well as listed buildings, EPCs are not required for:
- Holiday accommodation and residential buildings used less than 4 months a year
- Industrial sites and workshops
- Buildings that are to be demolished
- Buildings intended to be used for less than 2 years
- Stand-alone buildings with less than 50 square metres of useful floor space
- Places of worship
How do I check if I already have an Energy Performance Certificate?
The requirement to have an EPC has been the law since 2008 so if you’re asking do I need an EPC it may be the property already has one. Although bear in mind once completed the EPC is only valid for 10 years.
It’s easy to find out if your property already has a valid EPC by checking the government’s EPC register in England and Wales. For properties in Scotland check the Scottish EPC register and similarly the Northern Ireland EPC register.
What if I don’t get an Energy Performance Certificate?
If you’re selling or you’re a landlord and you do not have an EPC you could be fined up to £5,000. And under new government proposals this would be increased to £30,000 from 2025.
How to get an Energy Performance Certificate
So if your property doesn’t already have an EPC you’ll need to get one before you can sell it or let it out. Many people choose to get an EPC through their estate agent for convenience. But this is generally the pricier option. Don’t forget to negotiate or save yourself the hassle by arranging your own EPC independently; you can do this by finding local Energy Assessors in your area.
Can I get an EPC online?
Yes, you can book your EPC online but having one carried out requires a physical survey of your home.
How much does an Energy Performance Certificate cost?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) costs between £60 and £120. The cost will vary depending on:
- the size of your property
- location of your property
- the type of building.
There isn’t a set price so you should compare quotes from energy assessors to get the best deal.
For more information read our guide How much does an EPC cost
How long will my EPC assessment take?
Around 1 hour, although it will depend on the size of the property.
How long does it take to get an Energy Performance Certificate?
Within a week. Although this varies depending on the firm you use and how busy they are. You should be able to book a visit for the assessment within the week and get the report back in a matter of hours to a few days. But check this with the company before you commission them.
What happens during an EPC assessment?
The accredited domestic energy assessor will visit your property and consider a number of factors when establishing how energy efficient your house is. Their checks will include:
- The overall size of the property
- The type of insulation used and how much of it is used
- What heating system the property uses
- Whether the windows are single, double or triple-glazed.
- The type of lighting used
Does my EPC rating matter?
If you’re letting out your property it must have a minimum EPC rating of E unless you qualify for certain exemptions.
However under the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill the government wants to increase this to a minimum EPC rating of C for new tenancies from 2025 and for all rental properties by 2028, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. However these proposals have yet to become law so this could change. Under the current rules the amount landlords need to spend in order to get properties up to EPC band E is £3,500. Then they can register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption. But under the proposed changes this threshold would increase to £10,000.
So it’s fair to say that if you’re a landlord the EPC rating of your property is very important.
What homeowners need to know
Arguably, EPC ratings are important for homeowners too. While you live in your home there are no rules on the minimum EPC rating you have to have. But the lower the band your property is in the more you’re likely to have to spend on your energy bills. Analysis by property consultancy JLL found a typical household living in a home with a rating of G would pay a staggering £3250 a year more for their energy than those in properties in Bands A, B and C.
And plans are afoot to try to encourage homeowners to increase their EPC rating too. In the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill the government says it wants all homes to achieve at least an EPC band C by 2035 ‘where practical, cost-effective and affordable’. And in order to help it get there the government wants all mortgage lenders to have an average EPC rating C by 2030 across their portfolios.
Get fee free mortgage advice from our partners at L&C. Use the online mortgage finder or speak to an advisor today.
I think my new EPC is wrong – who can I turn to?
If you want to challenge your EPC rating or your certificate contains an error you should contact the energy assessor who carried out the report first. You’ll find their details on the energy performance certificate and you can ask them to re-assess your home based on your concerns. For example if you think they recorded the wrong appliances on your EPC or that they missed off an important factor. But if you’re not happy with the response you can appeal to the accreditation scheme the assessor is licensed by. You should also find the details on your certificate.
Similarly if you have any queries your first point of contact should be the energy assessor who carried out the report. And if they can’t help, contact the accreditation scheme.
Do I need an EPC after undertaking energy efficiency improvements?
You don’t have to, no. But if you’re aiming to improve your rating, then we would recommend getting an energy performance certificate before (If you don’t have a valid one) and after the changes. This will allow you to track the impact of your improvements. To do this, we advise using the same assessor or firm to avoid the risk that even after improvements are made, a discrepancy in approach or equipment used in the assessment means you don’t get a higher rating. You could also ask the assessor’s advice on your home improvements before you invest.