About the EPC
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) determines the energy efficiency of your property, and assesses its impact on the environment. You must have a valid EPC whenever your property, in either social or private rented sector, is let to a new tenant.
The EPC is valid for ten years, and consists of a sliding scale from grade A, being the most energy efficient, to grade G being the least. The rating is based on insulation type, lighting, heating, layout, construction and age of your property, and the typical rating for a home is grades D and E.
Why do you need one?
For the tenant, the certificate provides an estimation of how much it is likely to cost the tenant to run the home, and provides them with a comparison in energy efficiency when deciding on a property. The actual fuel costs will depend more on the current cost of fuel and the tenant’s lifestyle.
How to get your EPC
The EPC is only valid if issued by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). To obtain a certificate, you must contact an accredited Energy Assessor. If you chose to use an independent assessor, ensure they are a member of an accreditation scheme. DEA’s can be found at www.epcregister.com. Each certificate has a unique number that will be entered into the national register by the energy assessor for you to access at a later date.
Once an assessor has received your call, they will arrange a time and date with you to carry out an inspection. During the inspection, they will collect information from you and the property such as details of construction, internal and external measurements, and type of heating and hot water facilities in the property. The assessor will need to assess all rooms, and have access to the boiler. They may also take photographs.
How to prepare for an inspection
To get the most accurate rating, pull together all the information and documents regarding your property for the assessor. The assessor will want to know;
- The date of construction. If you can, find the deeds to the property.
- The location of the gas and electric meters, boilers and hot water cylinders. They will also want to know the types of heating fuel the property uses, and the location of heating timers and thermostats.
- Whether or not your property has been extended
- Certificates as proof of double glazed windows.
- The types of insulation in the walls; this could be internal, external or cavity insulation.
After the inspection
After the inspection the Assessor will then put together your EPC and recommendation report. You can then chose whether or not to follow the recommendations, however following the advice will be more likely to attract tenants to your property. These recommendations are split into sections; low cost being under £500 and high cost over £500.
You could be qualified to receive financial assistance in order to carry out the suggestions from the inspection. The Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) offers grants of up to £1500 towards some efficiency measures. Contact your local authority enquiry centre to find out more.
Points to remember
If Cardiff County Council receives a complaint that you do not have an Energy Performance Certificate for your property, you could be fined up to £200.
If you have a lot of existing data on your rental property, the assessor could be allowed to work with this data. If you own more than one property and the properties are similar, it could be possible to obtain certificates for them all by using a sample. To find out more, visit www.communities.gov.uk/epbd