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Energy Performance Certificates

1.4 Energy Performance Certificates

Since 1st October 2008, landlords have been required to have an Energy
Performance Certificate (EPC) when a property is let to a new tenant. The
purpose of the EPC is to show prospective tenants the energy performance
of the dwelling they are considering renting.

The EPC shows two things; the energy efficiency rating (relating to running
costs) and the environmental impact rating (relating to the carbon dioxide
emissions) of a dwelling. It is shown as coloured graphs similar to those
found on, for example, fridges and other domestic appliances. The rating is
also accompanied by a recommendation report that shows how to improve
the dwelling’s energy efficiency.

Once an EPC is obtained it is valid for 10 years unless the property is sold
and a new EPC must be obtained at that point.

The EPC should be arranged before the property is advertised and a copy
must be available to tenants, free of charge, before they are given written
details, arrange a viewing or agree a letting. The actual tenant who takes
the property should be given a full copy of the EPC including the assessor’s
recommendations.

It is a requirement to provide an EPC when the property is let as a separate
(or self-contained) dwelling. This also applies if a whole house or flat is
being let to a group of sharers on one contract. It is not a requirement to
provide an EPC if only a single room in a house is being let or if a house is
let room by room on separate contracts.

Advertising a property without a valid EPC can result in a potential £200
fixed penalty notice from trading standards.

EPCs are completed by registered Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs). An
assessor can be found at www.hcrregister.com/searchAssessor.html or
seek recommendations from friends and contacts. Once commissioned, the
EPC is valid for 10 years or until a new EPC is produced.

Two guides are available on CLG’s website, Energy performance certificates
for dwellings in the social and private rented sectors: A guide for landlords
and Energy performance certificates for dwellings in the social and private
rented sectors: A guide for landlords and can be downloaded from www.
communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/epclandlordguide
and www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/
epcsrentingtenants

Although the EPC may suggest a number of improvements that could be
made there is no legal obligation to undertake any of these works, but it is
advisable to discuss with prospective tenants which (if any) of the energy-
saving recommendations might be carried out or might already have been
carried out. By being transparent about this and managing the tenant’s
expectations a potential complaint may be avoided