What is an EPC and how do I improve it?

If you’re a landlord, it’s important to know that the laws around Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings for rental properties changed in 2020/2021, meaning you could now face fines of up to £5000 if your property has an energy efficiency rating of F or G.

But what does this mean? What is an EPC, what do they measure, and why do you need one? In our guide, we’ll help you understand the latest regulations and why they’ve changed, and give practical examples of how you can improve your EPC rating and the benefits of doing so.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient your property is. EPCs are valid for 10 years but can be redone before then if improvements have been made to the property. They are key for homeowners looking to buy or sell properties as it is an indicator of how much energy bills will be, and the carbon emissions of the property. 

But an EPC is particularly important for landlords. From 1st April 2020, landlords with a property with an EPC rating of F or G will now face a fine of up to £5,000 for non-compliance with the new Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations. And Starting in 2025, all newly rented properties must have an EPC rating of C or higher, a big departure from the current minimum requirement of an E. This change in regulations is part of a government crackdown to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across the UK’s private rented sector, which has 6.3% F and G rated properties.

What do the EPC rating bands mean?

You’ll likely have seen an EPC chart before, coloured bands on a gradient from green to red, with A on the green and G on the red. A is the best possible rating your property can have, and G is the worst. Your EPC chart will also have two columns; one that shows your current energy rating and then another that shows the potential energy rating of your home if you were to carry out certain improvements to the building.

How do I get an EPC?

To get an EPC for your property, you will have a qualified assessor at your property to assess how the building uses energy, and how efficiently it does it. They will asses things like:

  • How much potential there is for heat or energy loss 
  • What level of insulation is present 
  • Whether you have double glazing or not 

You will be graded on different elements of the property, which the assessor will then use to work out your average score. So if your insulation gets an A rating, but your heating efficiency only gets a G rating, your overall rating will likely be a C or D. 

The assessor will use a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) to grade your property, introduced by the government to measure properties energy and environmental performance. The EPC bands are scored as follows:

EPC rating A = 92-100 SAP points

EPC rating B = 81-91 SAP points

EPC rating C = 69-80 SAP points

EPC rating D = 55-68 SAP points

EPC rating E = 39-54 SAP points

EPC rating F = 21-38 SAP points

EPC rating G = 1-20 SAP points

Why should you improve the EPC rating of your property?

You will generally find it easier to secure tenants with a higher EPC rating, as it will cost less to heat and light if the property is more energy efficient. 

There are also the legal requirements put in place by the government that we mentioned at the start of this article. MEES regulations mean that properties must hold an E rating or higher; those with an F or G rating are not within regulations and could face nasty fines, varying on the breach of regulations. The responsibility will be on your tenants to notify the First-Tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber if they feel their landlord is in breach of regulations.

It’s important to be sure your property meets these criteria, so ensure you’re following the recommendations on your EPC to improve the energy efficiency of the property, and your rating. Once you’ve made improvements to the property, be sure to have a new EPC issued so you are compliant with regulations.

How to improve your EPC rating

There are a number of steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your rental property, which not only keeps you within government regulations, but also provides a warmer and more comfortable environment for your tenants, whilst increasing the value of your investment and reducing your carbon footprint. We’ve listed a few different options below, not all of which will suit every property, but just investing in even one or two will create improvement: 

  • Loft insulation. An easy installation and relatively inexpensive, but can make a huge difference to energy efficiency, and your tenants heating bill! Be sure to install insulation that’s at least 270mm thick for best results.
  • Wall insulation. Insulating your walls, whether they are cavity or solid, will help improve your EPC rating by trapping heat better within each room.
  • Double glazing. An improvement that not only improves your home’s energy performance, but will create a nicer look for the property and reduce noise for your tenants.
  • Replace your boiler. Replacing dated boilers with newer, more energy efficient models will help improve your EPC rating.
  • Solar panels. Your property can generate it’s own power with solar panels, which will greatly improve your tenants energy bills, along with improving your properties EPC rating.

At Dependable, we are happy to work with you to undertake any electrical work your property may need, and undertake various inspections and tests, including fire inspections, plumbing and heating callouts, and can also support the management of your rental property. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help. You can depend on Dependable!