What is EPC and how long is an EPC valid for?

What is EPC and how long is an EPC valid for?

Acronyms like “EPC” can be pretty useful — especially when they stand in for terms that are a bit of a mouthful. When everyone’s in the know, they can make emails, paperwork, and more, just that bit speedier. But what if you’re not in the know? After all, EPC has different meanings across all different industries. In the world of motoring, an EPC is your electric power control, while in web advertising, EPC is your earnings per click. So what does EPC rating mean in housing? And, how long is an EPC valid for? Stay tuned and we’ll take you through it.

What is EPC rating?

A quick Google search of “EPC meaning house” or some variation on that, will tell you that EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate. Now that might give you some clue on what EPC ratings are all about, but let’s go into more detail…

Energy Performance Certificate explained:

  • Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will contain information about how much energy a property uses, the energy cost, and recommendations on how to reduce energy use.
  • It also gives your property an EPC rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). The higher the energy performance rating, the lower the cost on your wallet and the environment.

Simply put, an EPC has all the info you need about how much energy your property guzzles and whether there’s room for improvement. The rating system will give your property a “current” rating and a “potential” rating (that’s how energy efficient your home could be if you made some adjustments). As mentioned, your EPC will have recommendations on how to decrease your energy use, but for more ideas, why not read: ‘12 easy ways for renters to reduce their utility bills’.

What does an EPC look like?

Energy Performance Certificates are pretty easy to spot from to their colourful, rainbow rating charts. You’ve probably seen one around homes you’ve lived in before — or you might have been given a copy when viewing a house to buy.

Look familiar?

Image Source GOV.UK

But if you can’t find the Energy Performance Certificate for your property, or you’re unsure if you have one, you can search using your postcode through GOV.UK.

Can you let a property without an EPC?

If you’re wondering, is an EPC a legal requirement? Then the answer’s yes. Any property that is built, rented, or sold is required to have one. For rented properties, an Energy Performance Certificate is a landlord’s responsibility and a copy must be given to tenants before they move in.

To learn more about what documents a landlord must provide, read ‘Safety checks and certificates landlords provide if you’re renting’.

A property must also have an EPC rating of “E” or higher before it’s rented out. Properties with a rating of “F” or “G” will need to undergo improvements, though luckily these come with a cost cap — £3,500 is the most you can be asked to spend on increasing your EPC rating. If you can’t improve your property to a grade “E” with this amount, then you’ll need to make all the improvements you can up to the cost of £3,500 and then register an “all improvements made” exemption via GOV.UK.

There are just a few instances where you won’t need an EPC for a property — so if your property falls into one of the following categories, you might be off the hook.

When is an EPC not required:

  • If your property is residential or holiday accommodation and used for less than 4 months a year.
  • If your property is a temporary building intended for 2 years of use or less.
  • If your property is due to be sold or rented out with “vacant possession” (no one is going to live at the property).
  • If your property is due to be demolished and you’ve applied for planning permissions, or have all the relevant approval in place.
  • Properties that are categorised as industrial sites, non-residential agricultural buildings, places of worship, or detached buildings with under 50 square metres of floor space, are all exempt from needing an EPC.
  • If your property is a “listed building” due to its architectural or historical value then an EPC might not be required. It’s up to your local authority to decide whether the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter the property.

How long does an EPC certificate last?

An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years — after that point, you’ll need to find an accredited assessor via GOV.UK to carry out a review if you want to sell or rent the property. And if you’re a landlord who’s wondering, do I need to renew an EPC during a tenancy? Then rest assured, you will only need to renew an EPC if you’ve got a new tenant coming in and the existing one has expired.

For example, if you show a tenant a 7-year-old certificate when they move in, you won’t need to renew your EPC until they move out (even if that’s 5 years later). The point is to make a tenant aware of how energy efficient the property is before they move in.

A few final tips…

EPC ratings might seem like a hassle — especially if you’re required to make home improvements to boost your score. But keep in mind that aside from the financial benefits of making your home more energy-efficient, it’s also a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. Pay attention to your EPC, cut your energy spending, and it’s a win-win for you and the planet.

For advice on how to improve your energy rating, check out: ‘How to improve EPC rating’.

If you’re starting out in a new place, why not read up on: ‘How to set up gas and electric in your first home’.

If your smart meter’s got you scratching your head, find help at: ‘How to take a smart meter reading’.