Insiders guide to EPC for landlords – Energy Performance Certificate What Are They How Do They Work
EPC regulations and how they affect you as a landlord. What can you do to improve the energy efficiency of your rental properties without breaking the bank
00:00 – Intro
4:45 – How to up your performance
10:15 – how can a landlord help
14:45 – new builds
22:00 – final summary
Energy performance certificates are required by law for all properties being offered for rent or for sale. Although the grading system they use has become more stringent the rules on having a valid one during the pandemic have certainly relaxed. You can now market your property for rent or for sale provided you have an assessment booked in in the near future.
What is an EPC? They are essentially a calculation of a property’s volume and how much energy that property needs to heat and power it, as well as how quickly that heat is lost. Take for example a cardboard box with holes in the side and an opening at the top. As an assessor I am calculating how much energy that box needs for light and heat, where is the energy coming from? Is it clean energy? Is it using electricity or gas? And why does this matter?
Well its down to carbon emissions and cost, a big part of the governments push towards improved EPC grading across the UK’s property stock is affordability which is why its so important for landlords to be on board with the governments plan for reduced energy costs and reduced carbon emissions.
On Rightmove you get an indication of the entire running cost of a property and an EPC is giving you the same thing an indication of the fuel costs for that property as well as key features like windows, heating system, lighting and any improvements you might need to make. If a property has no recommendations for roof insulation you can pretty safely assume that the previous owner has taken good care of the roof and maintained it really well.
They are graded from G which is the lowest to A, and the minimum standard for an EPC as of 2020 is an E, letting a property with a grade anything below this could result in loss of Property Redress scheme membership, a fine of up to £5,000, repayment of tenants rent and even a place on the rogue landlords list.
EPC’s aren’t entirely affected by your property either, the Governments long term goal is to increase the affordability of energy and there are already 3 grant schemes in place for low income households to help them pay for energy.
For example gas is 3.4p per watt per hour and electricity is 12p. If you have 2 houses side by side and everything is the same, the only difference is one has gas as the fuel source and the other has electricity, the property using electricity is always going to rate much lower than its neighbour. This is of course until gas becomes more the more expensive fuel.
What are some of the things you can do to improve your property’s energy efficiency? The more inexpensive changes always relate to reducing heat loss rather than energy usage. Insulation in the attic, at the rafters or the joists, older windows can be replaced with new UVPC double glazing, low energy lighting can replace inefficient bulbs, temperature controls on radiators, room thermostats and heating programmers can also have a big impact on your rating.
On a larger scale the government have banned gas boilers being fitted on any new build builds as of 2025, the governments under major pressure, reduce carbon emissions 100% below what our carbon out put. So going forward biomass boilers, solar panels and air or ground source heat pumps will be fitted instead and gas boilers will become a thing of the past in the modern home.
Flats with no gas supply already have smaller electric panels heaters, which are a lot more easily programmed. They can also be easier to assess, for example more modern heating systems are inputted to the software using a PCDF search which means that an assessor can input the product code and every piece of data will be uploaded to the report automatically.
A domestic energy assessor is essentially just a data collector, and there are several different software providers for assessors to choose from, with ECMK, Quidos, and Stroma being some of the most well known.
For landlords one of the most time and money saving things you can do is work with an assessor to create an EPC document which the assessor can then tweak to give you as a landlord a report listing the grade that you will achieve if you make changes to your property before you have spent the money to install the changes. For example you may not need a boiler upgrade if you install a programmer and TRV’s. The certificate does not have to be lodged, this means it doesn’t go to the central register but you still get your recommendations. It might be that there are more inexpensive changes you can make to improve your grade before you make fundamental changes.
You could also go one step further and hire a retrofit assessor