What is an EPC and when do I need one?

Written on 7 March 2016 by Alistair Boscawen in Property News


How energy efficient is your property? Everybody involved in the buying, selling, letting or renting of homes in Belgravia has a head start when it comes to lowering their home’s carbon footprint.   

It became a legal requirement for vendors and landlords to provide an Energy Performance Certificate free of charge to prospective buyers or tenants on 9 January 2013. A copy of the EPC must also be handed over to the eventual buyers or tenants.

What is an EPC and when do I need oneEPCs are not just a powerful marketing tool for homes that are already energy-efficient. Obtaining an EPC is the first step property owners should take if they want to be eco-friendly and save hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills.

What is an EPC?

Energy Performance Certificates were introduced in England and Wales as part of Home Information Packs for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms on 1 August 2007 – a time when the average price of a home in Belgravia was under £1.5m.

The requirement to produce a HIP was suspended in May 2010, but the EPC element remains in force. It’s a five-page document that…

  • Uses a scale of A to G to rate a property’s current energy efficiency and carbon footprint
  • Provides recommendations about how to achieve a higher rating
  • Estimates a property’s energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and fuel costs if the recommendations are put in place
  • Puts forward additional ideas to help bill payers save money and reduce the impact of the property on the environment

What’s checked during an EPC site visit?

It takes less than one hour to carry out an internal and external inspection of most domestic properties. During that time a qualified assessor will inspect or measure the property’s…

  • Exterior walls
  • Roof insulation
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Open fireplaces
  • Boiler
  • Lighting
  • Heating system
  • Heating controls
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Ventilation system
  • Conservatory and extensions

While homeowners can recoup many of the costs of improving their property’s EPC rating through its rise in value and lower fuel bills, landlords have an extra incentive to improve the carbon footprint of a buy-to-let investment.

From 1 April, tenants will have the right to request landlord consent to carry out energy-efficiency improvements. Under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, this consent cannot be unreasonably withheld unless the landlord proposes implementing alternative energy efficient measures.

And from April 2018 it will be unlawful to grant new residential or commercial leases unless the property has a minimum EPC rating of E. This ruling will apply to all new and existing residential lettings from April 2020 and extended to commercial lettings in April 2023.

Ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

The good news for landlords is the vast majority of properties in the UK do not require any improvement to achieve an EPC rating of E.

The ratings are based on the number of Standard Assessment Procedure points a property scores during the EPC inspection.

For a property to achieve an A rating, it needs 92-100 SAP points. Homes with a B rating have 81-91 SAP points, C-rated homes have 69-80 SAP points, while E-rated homes need to score only 39-54 SAP points.

Extra SAP points are earned by making energy-efficient improvements. Fitting a modern condensing boiler, for example, will earn a property 47 SAP points and elevate it into the E-rating band immediately.

However, other forms of energy-efficient improvements do not carry as much weight when it comes to a property’s EPC rating. Installing double glazing is worth only 4 SAP points, upgrading roof insulation earns 10 SAP points, while cavity wall insulation adds 13 to a home’s SAP points total.

In Belgravia properties with an EPC rating of C are typically worth 15% more than a similar property with an EPC rating of E – the minimum standard landlords will have to achieve in April 2018.

For an up to date valuation of the rental and sale value of your property in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Pimlico, South Kensington or Westminster, contact Best Gapp today.

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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