What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An EPC is a document that contains information about a property and how efficiently it uses energy.
It provides some key pieces of information, including:
- The energy efficiency of a property on a scale from A - G (with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient)
- The environmental impact of a property
All EPCs on existing homes are produced using the same process. This means that the energy efficiency of different properties can be compared fairly.
EPCs and private renting
When a private landlord wants to let out a property they must commission (order) an EPC before a building is marketed for rent. A landlord must provide an EPC to any prospective tenants the first time the property is let and any future tenants should have a copy.
Whenever the EPC is provided it must always be provided free of charge.
The EPC is valid for 10 years (unless a new valid certificate is commissioned within this time). A landlord may choose to commission a new EPC if there have been significant changes to a property which would impact the current EPC.
If you are looking to privately rent a property, checking the EPC could help give you an idea of what the energy bill costs could be (although the actual cost will also depend on your own energy usage).
The following types of rented accommodation are an exception and do not require an EPC:
- bedsits or room lets where there is a shared kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom (for example a property where each room has its own tenancy agreement)
- a room in a hall of residence or hostel
Energy efficiency rating regulations
There are regulations in place to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the private rented sector – the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations.
What do the regulations mean?
If you are renting a property that has a banding of ‘F’ or ‘G’ on the EPC your landlord is normally required to make improvements.
All properties should have a minimum EPC rating of E, unless the property is registered for an exemption. Exemption lasts for 5 years and after this time the landlord would need to reassess their options and re-register an exemption if applicable.
Your landlord could be breaking the law if they are renting a property to you that has an EPC banding of ‘F’ or ‘G’.
Private landlords won’t have to make improvements if they have registered the property as exempt (they will also have to reapply for the exemption every five years).
What you can do as a tenant
As a tenant you may be able to help your landlord improve the energy efficiency of the property. You can do this by applying for an energy efficiency grant, if you are eligible.
You could also check if your landlord has applied for any grants to help them make improvements.
The benefit of making a property more energy efficient is that it will lower your fuel bills. You can also find tips on how to reduce your fuel bills on the Simple Energy Advice website (external link).
Our home and property improvement page lists grant schemes that you or your landlord may be able to apply for.