What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
EPCs tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G.
The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A. The Certificate also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings. The Certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save you money and help the environment. EPCs apply also to commercial buildings and are rated only by Carbon Dioxide emission ratings on a scale of A-G
What is involved
If you have the report reference number (RRN) or an address, you can easily retrieve an EPC by going to the appropriate register.
For properties in England and Wales
For properties in Scotland
For properties in Northern Ireland
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
Did you know that there are new laws coming into effect over the next few years that will affect private landlords?
The first will be introduced on 1st April 2016 where all domestic tenants will be given the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties.
Moreover, from 1st April 2018, private rental properties must achieve an energy efficiency rating of at least E on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will initially only apply upon the granting of a new tenancy to a new or existing tenant. However, from 2020 the regulations will apply to ALL privately rented property which is required to have an EPC.
The good news is that you have some time to get to grips with the legislation as landlords are not expected to improve their property if it means incurring an upfront cost. However, the Government is expected to launch a new Scheme in spring enabling landlords to improve the efficiency of their properties without the need for upfront costs.
1 April 2016
Domestic tenants in properties let under a long-term assured or regulated tenancy have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties.
1 April 2018
Private rental properties must achieve an energy efficiency rating of at least an E on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will initially only apply upon the granting of a new tenancy to a new or existing tenant.
1 April 2020
ALL private rental properties will be required to meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and must achieve an energy efficiency rating of E or above.
An EPC is already required to let or market a property legally, but the new laws around Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards mean that an EPC of rating F and G is not sufficient for compliance. If your property does not meet the minimum standard, you cannot let or market that property within the law, and rent reviews could also be affected.
Penalties for non-compliance
If a tenant considers that the landlord has not complied with the Energy Efficiency Improvement regulations, they can take the case to a First-tierTribunal General Regulatory Chamber.
Moreover, Financial penalties for not meeting MEES in 2018 could be as much as £5000 in the domestic sector.
Don't forget there is a new Scheme coming in 2016 which will replace the now discontinued, Green Deal and will be the final piece in the jigsaw to set the framework for energy efficiency compliance.
Landlords have some time to improve their properties but at the very least should commission an Energy Performance Certificate now to find out where they stand.
For further information please feel free to download our guide to 'Energy Efficiency in the Private Rental Sector'
Do HMO landlords need to provide an EPC for room rentals
In our opinion the answer is Yes. HMO Landlords and many professionals have found this to be a complex matter. Therefore we have taken time to follow the legislation trial in order to come to answer.
We first need to look at the Deregulation Act, which is where it all starts.
s38 of the Deregulation Act 2015:
38 Compliance with prescribed legal requirements After section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 insert—
“21A Compliance with prescribed legal requirements (1)A notice under subsection (1) or (4) of section 21 may not be given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England at a time when the landlord is in breach of a prescribed requirement.
(2)The requirements that may be prescribed are requirements imposed on landlords by any enactment and which relate to—
(a)the condition of dwelling-houses or their common parts,
(b)the health and safety of occupiers of dwelling-houses, or
(c)the energy performance of dwelling-houses.
So what that is doing is saying that section 21 is amended to introduce various new requirements. The detail of which are set out in regulations – in this case, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015
This says as follows:
Compliance with prescribed legal requirements 2. —
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the requirements prescribed for the purposes of section 21A of the Act are the1 requirements contained in—
(a) regulation 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (requirement to provide an energy performance certificate to a tenant or buyer free of charge);
So with specific reference to EPCs, the regulations are saying that the obligation to provide an EPC contained in reg 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings etc regs is now required in order to serve a valid section 21 notice.
So finally, we need to take a look at those regulations.
What 6(5) (the section we are referred to) actually says is:
(5) The relevant person must ensure that a valid energy performance certificate has been given free of charge to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant.
As you can see, there is nothing there about making an exception for HMO properties.
This is why some people are saying that the EPC should be provided, even if it is an HMO. It may well be that for the purposes of the s21 requirements as there is no exception.
Landlords have quoted "Surely it is possible to ask someone, either the Government office responsible for the Guide to Renting, or the DCLG, to provide clarification?"
However this isn’t going to help – only a Judge can create a legal precedent on the interpretation of legislation and a Judge is only going to be bound by the wording of the statute, not by what an official at the DCLG says.