Last month the DCLG published ‘a guide to energy performance certificates for the marketing, sale and let of dwellings.’ The necessity of a further guide at this stage is unclear especially when the guide makes little reference to the minimum EPC rating coming into force this April. However, we have taken the liberty of summarising the guide for the letting market.
The guidance is intended to help landlords understand their responsibilities for making an EPC available when renting out a property, what tenants should expect when looking at renting a property and when an EPC is required. The EPC will provide new tenants with information on the energy performance of the property and any recommended improvements which the landlord or tenant may elect to implement. At the very minimum the EPC must contain:
- Asset rating of the property;
- A reference value;
- A recommendation report;
- A reference number;
- Address of the property;
- An estimate of the building’s total useful floor area, and;
- Date the EPC was issued.
The EPC is valid for 10 years and must be supplied free of charge to any new tenant. The EPC should be commissioned prior to any marketing and carried out by an accredited energy assessor. The marketing should then include the energy performance indicator but does not need to include the complete EPC. Once commissioned the EPC should be obtained within 7 days but this can be extended by 21 days.
An EPC is not necessary for properties:
– protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architecture merit;
– temporary buildings;
– residential buildings which are to be used for less than 4 months in the year or where the annual energy consumption will be less than 25%;
– stand-alone property with a floor area of less than 50m2
– room lets.
There is also an exemption where a landlord is proposing to redevelop the site of the property and has already obtained the necessary consents. Holiday lets may need an EPC if they are a furnished letting of less than 31 days per tenant, the holiday lettings total 4 months or more in each a 12-month period, and the tenant is responsible for paying the energy costs. This will mean that most holiday lets will require an EPC.
Complaints about the availability of accuracy of an EPC should be directed to Trading Standards. Trading Standards can request that the landlord or agent makes the EPC available where they have failed to. Failure to comply with a request from Trading Standards can result in a fixed penalty charge of £200.
The new guidance is welcome but does not add much to the current knowledge. Given that the guidance does not mention the minimum energy efficiency standards and that the government has now suggested that they will be revising the EPC regulations altogether it seems likely that this guidance will have a short lifespan.