1.5 Energy Performance Certificates
Landlords are required to make available to prospective tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when a property is being let. The purpose of the EPC is to show prospective tenants the energy performance of the dwelling they are considering renting.
The certificates show the energy efficiency rating and compares the home’s energy performance related features with the average ratings and draw specific attention to the ‘Green Deal’ (see later).
An energy performance certificate and accompanying recommendation report lasts for 10 years, unless another EPC has been produced within that time, in which case only the latest one is valid.
A landlord must use all reasonable efforts to ensure that an energy performance certificate is obtained within 7 days of marketing. If it was simply not possible to obtain the EPC within 7 days then, a further 21 days is allowed but this further 21 days is only allowed if all reasonable efforts were made to obtain the EPC in the first 7 days.
The energy performance indicator as shown in the energy performance certificate must be displayed in any advertisement such as on the internet, in newspapers, magazines, written particulars or any other advertisement. As a minimum, the advertisement should include the numerical score and letter representing the energy usage as shown on the EPC.
The EPC must be available to prospective tenants, free of charge, before they are given written details, arrange a viewing or agree a letting. The EPC does not have to be given at this stage, just available if they ask. A copy of the EPC is acceptable.
The actual tenant who takes the property must have been given a full copy of the EPC including the assessor’s recommendation report.
It is a requirement to provide an EPC when the property is to be let as a separate (or self-contained) dwelling. This also applies if a whole house or flat is being let to a group of sharers on only one contract. It is not a requirement to provide an EPC if only a single room in a house is being let or if a house is let room by room on separate contracts.
Breaking the EPC rules can result in a £200 fixed penalty notice from Trading Standards.
EPC’s are completed by registered Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs). An assessor can be found at https://www.epcregister.com/ or seek recommendations from friends and contacts.
The following guides are available on the CLG website:
- Energy performance certificates for dwellings in the social and private rented sectors: A guide for landlords: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/957171.pdf
- Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and renting homes: A tenant’s guide: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/epcsrentingtenants
Although the EPC may suggest a number of improvements that could be made there is no legal obligation to undertake any of these works but it is advisable to discuss with prospective tenants which (if any) of the energy-saving recommendations might be carried out or might already have been carried out. By being transparent about this and managing the tenant’s expectation a potential complaint may be avoided.
1.5.1 Section 21 Notices
A section 21 notice is the 2 months “no fault” notice that a landlord can serve where there is an assured shorthold tenancy. The notice is discussed in detail in chapter 5.
For assured shorthold tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015 (including renewals) no section 21 notice may be served unless the tenant has been first provided with an EPC, where an EPC is legally required.