What Energy Performance Certificates are and why you need one, the minimum energy efficiency standard for rental properties and where to find help and advice on energy efficiency.
Energy Performance Certificates
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property. It is rated on a scale from A to G (where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient).
The certificate shows:
- the property's current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting
- a list of recommended energy saving improvements
Why you need an EPC
An EPC is required for all privately rented residential accommodation, except where individual tenants of a shared house have separate tenancy agreements. These properties do not require an EPC.
A valid EPC is a legal requirement when you're marketing a property for letting. An EPC is valid for 10 years. You do not have to renew it for each property during this time, but it's good practice to renew it if energy efficiency improvements have been carried out.
Why your tenant needs an EPC
Tenants need to know the energy efficiency of a property before signing a tenancy agreement. This is more important than ever following the rapid rise in fuel prices. On 1 April 2022, OFGEM raised the energy price cap by 54% and further price increases are expected.
Choosing a more energy efficient property will help to safeguard tenants' health and wellbeing by providing warmer, more desirable homes with lower running costs. If tenants are spending less on fuel bills, this could help to reduce the possibility of rent arrears. Finding an energy efficient home could also mean that tenants stay for longer, providing more stable rental income for the landlord.
Get an EPC
If you do not know if your property has a valid EPC, check on Find an energy certificate on GOV.UK.
If you want to let a property but do not have a valid EPC, you can get one from an accredited domestic energy assessor. Find local EPC assessors on Get a new energy certificate on GOV.UK.
When the assessor visits your property, you must show them documentary evidence of energy efficiency improvements. For example, show them:
- building control competition certificates
- installation conformity certificates
- date stamped photos showing wall or floor insultation being installed before it was covered up
The EPC will include recommendations for improving the property's energy efficiency.
Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES)
From 1 April 2020, all private rented properties must have an EPC rating of A to E. Properties with an EPC rating of F or G cannot be rented out unless they are covered by a statutory exemption.
This stops landlords from letting the most energy inefficient properties to tenants who may struggle to keep the property warm. It also helps to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging landlords to make energy efficiency improvements. Find out more on Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard on GOV.UK.
There are some statutory exemptions for private rented properties with an EPC rating of F or G. Go to Guidance on PRS exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements on GOV.UK.
These exemptions do not automatically apply. The landlord (or their agent) must apply to register an exemption on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
To do this, you'll need to:
- tell them the reason for the exemption
- provide evidence of why the exemption applies
Registering any false or misleading information on the PRS Exemptions Register is an offence that can result in a fine.
To check if a property is covered to a statutory exemption, you can search for exemptions on Guidance on PRS exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements.
Rented properties that don't meet the minimum standard
If a landlord rents out a property with an EPC rating of F or G without a statutory exemption, they will probably face enforcement action. We're looking for private rented homes that breach the regulations, so do not wait.
We can issue the landlord with a fine of up to £5,000. The government have consulted on plans to raise the penalty to a maximum of £30,000, so the fine could soon be much higher.
We do not want to penalise landlords in this way. We would much rather landlords comply with the law and invest money to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.
Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes
In 2020, the government consulted on plans to raise the minimum EPC rating to C for all private rented homes. They've suggested a phased implementation plan that would apply to new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028, while also increasing the high cost exemption from £3,500 to £10,000.
The government has not yet announced their decision and it is not yet law. We're telling landlords now so that you can prepare.
If you're buying new properties to rent or refurbishing existing rental properties, we encourage you to upgrade the properties' energy efficiency now. By raising each property to an EPC rating of C, you'll provide your tenants with warmer and more comfortable homes, reducing fuel consumption and helping to tackle the climate emergency.
Many Buy to Let mortgage lenders now offer preferential mortgage deals on properties with an EPC rating of A to C. Ask your mortgage broker for details.
We know this will not be quick or easy to achieve. See Help and Advice for more information.
Loans for meeting the minimum standard
We can offer financial help to landlords to bring private rented properties up to the minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES).
We may be able to offer a landlord energy loan to help cover this cost up to a maximum £20,000 per property.
Interest will be charged at a fixed rate of 4%. The term can be over 1 to 5 years.
You'll need to pay back any outstanding balance on the loan if you sell the property.
Email email@example.com for more information.
Help and advice
GOV.UK Go to https://www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency (opens new window) has information for landlords about:
- legal obligations
- making your property more energy efficient
- funding opportunities
Call 0800 444 202:
- Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm
- Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm
Energy bills have risen dramatically so WECA (West of England Combined Authorities) have produced a leaflet Keep Warm This Winter, which will be delivered to Bristol residents in December.
More advice and tips can be found on the WECA website.
Get local energy advice on the CSE website or by calling 0800 082 2234.
The Energy Saving Trust Go to https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home/ (opens new window) has information about making your property more energy efficient.
Trustmark Go to https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowners/whole-house-retrofit (opens new window), a government endorsed quality scheme, has a:
- free guide to retrofitting your home
- search tool to find a specialist retrofit coordinator in your area
Futureproof Go to https://www.futureproof.uk.net/ (opens new window) helps homeowners and builders in the South West of England to carry out energy saving home improvements, and is part of the Centre for Sustainable Energy.
A landlord association or your letting or managing agent can tell you more about minimum energy efficiency standards.
To keep up to date with changes to the minimum energy efficiency standards, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to our free landlord newsletter.