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  1. Guides
  2. EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
House Selling Process
House Selling Process
Last Updated 30 September 2021

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

Rosie Hamilton
Head of Communications
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An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient, and environmentally friendly a property is.

They're pretty useful for buyers and renters interested in a property, because they give an idea of how much you'd have to pay in utility bills if you lived there - and what improvements you could make to the property to make it more energy efficient.

What is an EPC?

EPC stands for ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. These certificates are a requirement if you decide to put your home up for sale, or if you want to rent your property out.

Energy performance certificates include two main charts.

  • One chart will show your home's ‘energy efficiency rating’
  • The other, its ‘environmental impact rating’

For each of these criteria, you will be shown your home's current rating and it's potential rating.

There will also be a list of recommendations included describing ways you can improve your home's energy efficiency. The potential rating is the estimated energy performance of your home if you make all of these changes.

An EPC certificate can only be issued once an assessment has taken place. Assessments take about 2 hours to complete, and must be carried out by an accredited official.

Once you’ve had an assessment your energy performance certificate will be valid for 10 years. But, you should consider a reassessment if you’ve made any improvements or upgrades that could have made your home more energy efficient since your last certificate was issued.

What is a good EPC rating?

The best EPC (energy performance rating) is ‘A’, which means a property has an energy efficiency score of between 92-100. The closer you can get to this score, the better!

However, most properties aren’t this energy efficient. The average EPC rating for a property in the UK is ‘D’ - meaning the property's energy rating sits between 55-68. Therefore a good EPC rating would be anything higher than a D.

As a general rule, you should expect newer properties to have better EPC ratings (and cheaper energy bills) than older homes. This is because minimum energy efficiency standards builders have to meet have been steadily increasing - as has the affordability of installing energy saving measures.

A higher energy performance rating shows buyers that they won't have to pay high running costs to live in your home. This means that a higher EPC rating can improve the value of your home, and make it a more attractive prospect for potential buyers.

A higher EPC rating is also particularly appealing to buyers looking to buy a property to rent out. As of 1st April 2018 it became a requirement for any property newly put on the private rental market to have an energy performance rating of ‘E’. This requirement was extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

Do I need an EPC?

Is an EPC a legal requirement?

Yes, you do need an EPC because they're a legal requirement for selling or renting out your property. You must have had an EPC assessment done before you put your house on the market - or advertise for tenants - or you could be fined.

In Scotland, you'll also need to display your EPC - which is produced as part of your home report - somewhere in your property. This is usually next to the boiler or electricity meter.

There are a few exceptions. Energy performance certificates aren't required for the following types of property:

  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
  • Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or let under a licence to occupy
  • Listed buildings - as long as they meet minimum energy standards
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

If you think your property falls into one of these categories, talk to your estate agent or conveyancer. They will be able to confirm whether you need an EPC or not, and if you don't, whether a certificate could still benefit your sale.

How can I check if my property has an EPC?

You can check whether your home has an EPC that's still in date (they're valid for 10 years), or get an instant quote for a new assessment by using our free EPC Checker Tool below:

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

How do I get an EPC?

To get an EPC you'll need an accredited assessor to complete an assessment of your property and produce a certificate. Your estate agent will usually offer to find you an assessor, however it's usually cheaper to find an assessor yourself. An estate agent is likely to receive a referral fee for passing on your details to the EPC provider, which may be added to the cost.

Energy performance certificates cost between £35 and £120, depending on the size of your property, and the provider.

There's no benefit to getting a more expensive energy performance certificate, so it's worth shopping around for the best deal.

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

In Scotland, your EPC will be included as part of your home report. You can read more about home reports, and selling a home in Scotland here.

How to prepare for your EPC assessment

In order to issue an EPC, an accredited assessor will have to come to your property to check out all the features that contribute to your home's energy performance. The best thing you can do to prepare for their EPC assessment is ensure that they are able to access everything they need. If you have any relevant information about your home's energy efficiency, it can be useful to have this ready to show to the assessor.

Think about access

The EPC assessor is going to need to check all your light fittings, radiators, windows, and heating controls. Make sure that they will be able to access these areas easily. This might mean rearranging some furniture, or ensuring that they can walk into spare rooms, or cellars you may not regularly use.

Have useful documents to hand

EPC assessments are non-invasive. The assessor won’t drill holes in your walls, or look under the floorboards to check what type of insulation you have. This does however mean that they will have to make assumptions based on the age and size of your property.

If you've made any improvements to the property, it can be helpful to provide proof, so the assessor can factor these into your EPC rating. Have any insulation installation receipts, window glazing certificates (eg. a FENSA), and the handbook for your boiler to hand so they are ready to be shown to the inspector.

How can I improve my EPC rating?

EPCs are rated out of 100 with an alphabetical score, where 'A' is the highest grade and 'E' is the lowest. Your EPC rating can be improved by making your home more energy efficient. Research has shown that certain home improvements are almost guaranteed to add points to your rating. Some of these improvements include:

  1. Upgrading your boiler: 40 points

Upgrading your boiler will improve the energy efficiency of your dwelling because heat will be transferred much more efficiently around your home.

  1. Double glazing: 5 - 10 points

Adding double glazing to your windows will help insulate the heat inside your property and help your property stay warm and dry.

  1. New insulation: 5 - 15 points

There are two types of insulation available for your property: wall and loft insulation. Loft insulation will raise your EPC rating by 5 - 15 points, while wall insulation your rating by 5 - 10 points.

You can find out more about how to improve your EPC rating in our blog, 'Improve your epic rating'.

How long does an EPC last?

EPCs are valid for 10 years before they expire. After the certificate expires, you should apply for a new one if you are planning on marketing and selling your home.

How long does an EPC assessment take?

An EPC assement takes around 2 hours. When you request an EPC assessment, a survey will come round and examine your property and will spend around 2 hours, but it's usually less. Once payment has been received for the inspection, you will receive your EPC.

What happens during an EPC check?

When you order an EPC check, a qualified energy assessor will carry out a survey of your property. This usually takes 2 hours. They will take notes of the size, construction, insulation, lighting and heating of your property.

  1. The assessor will count every light fitting you have as well as the type of fixtures you use.
  2. They will carry out a head and shoulder inspection of your loft space and see how much loft insulation is present.
  3. They will also make a visual inspection of your windows to see how much they insulate your property. If your home has a conservatory they will also take this into consideration.
  4. The primary area of the assessor's inspection is your boiler. They will check its model, heat controls, as well as any connected thermostatic radiator valves.
  5. Throughout their inspection, the assessor will take both measurements and photos of your property. They usually record the height of each room and the overall dimensions of your home.
  6. After the inspection is complete, the assessor will send an invoice for the inspection. Once this has been paid, you will receive the results of your EPC assessment and your certificate.

The EPC register

The EPC register is the government's database of energy performance certificates. You can use the government register to look at the energy efficiency rating of most UK properties online and free of charge.

This means you can check whether you have a valid EPC already, and compare your property's energy efficiency rating with other similar properties. Unless you opt out of the register, your property's energy performance certificate will be available for anyone to search for too.

Does my house already have an EPC?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, and you can use the one purchased by the previous owner.
So, you may have an EPC and not know it!

What are the new EPC regulations?

The UK government has announced new legislation to take effect in 2025.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will be raised to a minimum EPC rating of ‘C’ in England and Wales.

Currently the MEES allows for rented properties to be legally let out with a minimum rating of E. To ensure rented properties are improved by landlords to ensure a good standard of living for private tenants, the government has raised the minimum rating to C.

These changes will affect all domestic rented properties in England and Wales and all existing tenancies will have a grace period until 2028 to comply.

Can you sell a property with a bad or low EPC rating?

You can sell a property with a low EPC rating, but a bad rating will certainly affect your chance of selling. High energy costs are a big turn off for anyone looking to move home. To find out more about how you can improve your property's EPC rating, check out our blog.

FAQs

Can you fail an EPC?

While you can't pass or fail an EPC, it's illegal to let out a property that is rated F or G under current Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), with the minimum requirement being E.

In 2025, this minimum requirement will change to C to ensure better standards of living for private tenants.

Who pays for EPC certificate?

The owner of the property is the person who pays for the EPC certificate.

Do estate agents pay for EPC?

Estate agents can pay for the EPC on your behalf, but they charge commission for this task.

How accurate are EPC reports?

While EPC reports are mostly accurate, that doesn't mean they all are. Some outdated techniques to measure floor space have been proven to result in inaccurate EPC ratings. Measurements of floor space are integral to an accurate EPC rating, as a 1% change in property area can result in a 1 EPC point loss.

Need a reliable EPC? You can check here whether your home’s EPC is still valid, or get an instant quote for a new assessment here.

How quickly can you get an EPC Certificate?

You can receive an EPC certificate relatively quickly. The overall process, from booking to having an EPC check, is usually 48 hours. Inspections last 2 hours but can be much shorter.

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