I continue to be surprised by the number of Landlords and tenants who are still unsure what an EPC is.

There are a wide range of Energy Performance Certificates covering new build and established residential dwellings, commercial buildings, public buildings etc. Accredited assessors can only undertake these, each qualified specifically in their ability to assess one or more particular types of property.

An Energy Performance Certificate is mandatory on all properties, which are being offered for sale or to let. The EPC is designed to give an energy rating based on usage by an “average” family. The results are shown in the form of a graph; similar to those you see on domestic white goods and appliances which rate the energy efficiency of the product, in this case, the dwelling. This certificate will assist you in identifying ways in which you can improve the energy efficiency of your home by making improvements such as replacing an old boiler, increasing loft insulation, replacing old windows with double glazing, adding room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves, increasing low energy lighting, thus make the home cheaper to run and more comfortable to live in. If you are a buyer or prospective tenant you will get an indication of how reasonable or costly it will be to heat and light the home prior to buying or taking a new tenancy. However everyone uses energy in a different way and dependent on how many people occupy a home or how warm you like to keep the house the costs may vary significantly from the figure in the energy report.

The government recently introduced minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) for properties being let out on new agreements. A residential dwelling being let now has to meet a minimum standard of rating “E” if it does not reach that standard the landlord can, in certain circumstances, apply for an exception which will allow the property to be let at below the required MEES rating of “E”

If the subject property is a listed building the dwelling could be exempt from requiring an EPC. However Listed buildings are exempt only “in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”. From this it could be assumed that the property is not automatically exempt and therefore it would be prudent for a landlord to have an energy report undertaken in order to ascertain how and where energy improvements can be made within the property.

The landlord, or his agent, is obliged to give the tenant a copy of this EPC at the start of a tenancy.