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Posted 26 Aug 2022

EPC Rating for Landlords: How to Improve Your EPC Rating

epc / flat / house / landlord / to let

In this guide I share some useful information on EPCs

Since first being introduced in 2007, EPCs have gone on to become increasingly important within the worlds of both domestic and commercial property.

But what if you’ve been lumped with a bad rating, and why does that even matter?

Being a landlord can be confusing enough at the best of times, but don’t worry, because I’ve put together this guide with both some useful information on EPCs, as well as how to improve your property’s EPC rating. First, though, what is an EPC?

What is an EPC?

EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate and they do exactly what the name implies – they give a quantifiable measure of how well (or badly) your property does in terms of energy performance.

This can include everything from the efficiency of your appliances, estimated energy costs, all the way through to how well insulated your property is.

Not only that, but it also includes recommendations on certain measures you can take to make your home more energy-efficient, the estimated costs for implementing these changes and how much you could potentially save from these changes.

Here is an example of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for reference.

energy-performance-certificate-epc

But why does it matter?

How do EPC ratings work?

EPCs are carried out by EPC assessors that will do a brief survey of your home before producing the certificate.

In an EPC rating, your property will be placed on a colour-coded scale with an energy efficiency grade between A and G.

This rating will depend on the amount of energy used per square metre and the level of carbon dioxide produced (evaluated in tonnes per year).

EPC rating

In these ratings, A indicates the highest level of energy efficiency (and in turn also the lowest fuel bills) while G indicates the lowest level of efficiency.

While new-build homes usually have a higher EPC rating and older homes a lower EPC rating, the average energy performance certificate rating for a home in the UK is D.

Once an EPC has been issued for your property, it is valid for 10 years before it has to be renewed.

Why Do EPCs Matter?

EPCs are important for three main reasons.

The first is that we’re going through a climate crisis, and we all need to do our bit to minimise our collective carbon footprint.

Beyond this, higher EPC ratings equal more efficient homes, which are cheaper to run (particularly beneficial if you’re a landlord that includes bills within your rental agreement).

Lastly, more efficient homes have greater market value for prospective buyers and tenants. In certain areas, a G rating that is increased to an A or B can potentially up the asking price by 14%.

Landlords must improve a property’s EPC rating to a minimum of E (or gain an exemption) before commencing a new tenancy. These are known as Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES.

There are even rumours that the minimum threshold band of E might be raised to C or D in the coming years, so it’s worth trying to improve your property’s EPC rating even if you currently sit in the legally-acceptable band E.

Landlord Responsibilities: Is an EPC a Legal Requirement?

Yes, I’m here to inform you that all landlords must order an EPC before tenants move into one of their properties.

As a first time buyer, it is important that you ask your landlord for this certificate, you can also have a look at our First Time Buyer Checklist to make sure you have everything you need.

According to GOV.UK, “You must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent”.

This does not mean that you will need a new EPC every time you want to rent to a prospective tenant or sell to a prospective buyer.

As long as you have an EPC that is not older than 10 years, it will be valid and can be used multiple times whilst advertising.

Exemptions

Certain properties are exempt from having to order an EPC, including:

  • Temporary buildings (with a planned lifespan fewer than two years).
  • Free-standing buildings with less than 50m2 of useful floor area.
  • Listed or officially protected buildings “insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”.
  • Buildings used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
  • Buildings that are going to be demolished by the seller or landlord (they must have all the relevant planning and conservation consents)
  • Industrial sites, workshops or non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics surrounding EPCs and their ratings, how do you go about improving that rating?

5 Steps to Improve Your Property’s EPC Rating

1.  Add Insulation

This is what I’d advocate first and foremost to any landlords looking to improve their property’s EPC rating.

One of the easiest ways to make maximal improvements to your building’s efficiency, and therefore its EPC rating, is to add loft insulation if there’s none already.

By adding good-quality insulation to your loft, floor or roof you can expect to gain anything up to 15 points towards your overall EPC rating.

When you consider that an EPC rating is made up of a points score between 0 and 100, 15 is a sizable chunk to add to your property’s score. It’s amongst the more major changes, but it’s still cheaper than options later on in this list.

2. Switch to LED Bulbs

This change is perfect for those properties which are right on the boundary of reaching a higher EPC rating.

Not only do LED bulbs help you save on energy bills in the longer term, but they can also help increase your property’s EPC rating by one or two points, which might not seem much, but as a popular supermarket brand (who shall remain nameless) always says, “every little helps”.

3. Invest in Double-Glazing

Another major change, in the same vein as insulation, double-glazing can be a significant financial outlay initially, but you’ll reap the rewards down the line; not only in terms of improved efficiency and EPC ratings but also in your property’s resale value, too.

In terms of improving your EPC rating, installing double-glazed windows can add anywhere between 5-10 points to your overall score.

So, if you got both new loft insulation and double-glazing, you’re already looking at a 25-point improvement, which would take you from band F to the required band E, for instance.

4. Replace your Property’s Boiler

Old, inefficient boilers are another reason why your property’s EPC rating might be languishing in the mud.

By replacing your old, beaten-up-and-battered boiler with a nice, shiny new ultra-efficient model, you’re not only doing your bit as a landlord for the environment, you’re going to be pulling up your property’s EPC rating by its bootstraps at the same time. By as much as 20 points, in fact.

5. Cavity Wall Insulation

Another insulation technique, this method revolves around filling the cavity between your outer and inner walls with an insulating material such as blown mineral fibre or urea formaldehyde foam.

Just how much difference cavity wall insulation makes in terms of EPC points very much depends on the size of the property in question, but it can range from 5-20 points added to your property’s overall rating score.

Final Thoughts: EPC Ratings for Landlords

Hopefully, having read this you’ll have a better understanding of how you can go about improving your EPC rating as a landlord.

If you have any remaining unanswered questions or just want to chat about letting your property don’t hesitate to contact us.

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