On 6 April, changes were made to the way landlords and letting agents deal with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Before looking at what this means for landlords, let’s recap what an EPC actually is…
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
EPCs were introduced in 2007 as a way of making properties and households more energy efficient. They give detailed information on how a home can be made more energy efficient and the steps occupiers can take to help reduce wasted energy and carbon dioxide emissions.
Energy Performance Certificates are a compulsory requirement for all homes on the property market, this includes rental properties and, by law, a landlord is required to provide his potential tenants with an EPC before they move into the property in question.
An Energy Assessment Survey: This is the first step in producing an Energy Performance Certificate. The assessment is undertaken by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor who will need to carry out both internal and external inspections of the property.
A Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Energy Usage Grade: An EPC shows the current energy efficiency of a property and the possible achievable level when the tenant makes certain energy saving improvements to the home. The energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of a property are measured using an A to G grading system where G is the least efficient rating and A is the most efficient rating.
A Recommendation Report: This provides advice on how to run a more energy efficient home and how to cut down on their carbon dioxide emissions, including details on the potential savings that an individual could make if the suggested improvements are followed.
What happened on 6 April 2012?
Two main changes occurred affecting:
2. Definition of written particulars
Let’s deal with each one in turn and how they apply to private rentals:
The amendment to the Regulations has tightened up and redefined when an EPC has to be commissioned. Prior to 6 April, the timeframe was not specific enough. Since 6 April, an agent must use ‘all reasonable efforts’ to ensure that an EPC is obtained for a rental property within 7 days of the property coming to market. If the agent is unable to obtain the EPC within the 7 day period, they must make sure they get it before the end of another 21 days. If they then fail to do so they will potentially be liable for a fine
2. Definition of written particulars
When agents provide ‘written particulars’ to a person (i.e. a specific individual) who may be interested in renting the property, the ‘written particulars’ must have attached the front page of the EPC. An EPC does not need to be attached to ‘advertising material’ i.e. a newspaper advert.
Since 6 April, ‘written particulars’ for a property is considered to be particulars which includes two of the following:
- A photograph of the property, or any room within
- A floor plan of the property
- A description of the size of the rooms
- The measured area of the property
- The proposed rent
Is there anything else landlords should know?
Nothing has changed in terms of procedure: Northwood will still manage the EPC process as before. However, it is worth noting that an EPC applies to individual rental units. For example, if you are a landlord of a house which has been split into three flats, you will need to obtain an EPC for each flat.
The recommendations in the EPC Recommendation Report are not compulsory. But, if landlords do decide to act on them it could make their property more attractive for rental by making it more energy efficient.
There is also talk about introducing legislation whereby rental properties will need to meet a certain energy efficiency standard. If this is introduced it will be phased in slowly over the next five years so the more energy efficient properties are now, the easier it will be later on.
What does this mean for your tenants?
If recommendations from the EPC report are undertaken, tenants can rest assured that the property they are renting will be energy efficient and as a result they may benefit from savings to their electricity and gas bills.