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Energy Performance Certificates

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency rating of the property giving it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (very inefficient).

The report gives the user of the building an indication of how costly it will be to heat and light the building and what its carbon emissions are likely to be.

EPCs link with the Energy Company Obligation and provide information on how to obtain finance to install energy efficiency measures into the home. A new style EPC, incorporating this information, was introduced in April 2012.

Existing reports can be viewed on the National EPC Register - see Useful links.

How long are they valid?

10 years. The same EPC can be re-used if the property is re-let or re-sold during this period. EPCs cannot be amended - if there are significant changes to the property (e.g. a new heating system) a new EPC should be commissioned. Although not strictly necessary if the existing EPC is less than 10yrs old, any improvements may have a positive effect on the energy rating, thereby making the property more attractive to tenants.

When must an EPC be obtained?

An EPC is required on the rent, sale or exchange of a residential property. It is required for:

There are circumstances when an EPC is not required, for example:

Please be aware that these definitions are subject to change by the Government. A landlord should check before deciding whether an EPC is not required.

For a full list refer to the EPC: guide for landlords and sellers in Useful links

What must the landlord do before letting the property?

If an agent is being used, the EPC will be provided to the prospective tenant by the agent but it is ultimately the responsibility of the landlord to make sure this is done.

The landlord must:

Breaching the rules on EPCs carries the risk of £200 fines - probably around three or four times the average price of most EPCs.

If you are a buyer or a tenant and you do not receive an EPC, you should contact Trading Standards at Lincolnshire County Council through the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Why is it important to read the EPC?

Although the EPC may suggest a number of improvements that could be made there is generally no legal obligation to undertake any of these works. An EPC does not identify hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS); however, if a full HHSRS inspection is carried out by the local authority and a Category 1 hazard is identified in the property, this may result in enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004. An energy efficiency rating of F or G on an EPC could indicate a Category 1 hazard for Excess Cold. For further information see HHSRS in Related articles.

Since April 2016, no domestic private sector landlord will be able to refuse a tenant's request to make energy-efficiency improvements. Further information can be found under Useful links.

From 2018, it will illegal to let out a private rented property unless it meets a minimum energy-efficiency standard (expected to be EPC rating E). Landlords should meet the minimum standard or make full use of any financial assistance available for energy efficiency improvements. It may therefore not be possible to let properties with ratings of F or G.

This is part of the Energy Act 2011 and it is expected that Government will issue further guidance before the introduction of these standards.