Landlord Advice

EPCs – How Long Do They Last And Can You Improve Ratings?

An EPC is an energy performance certificate. Like any other property or landlord regulation, getting an EPC can make you want to tear your hair out. EPCs are given, depending on whether you meet the minimum energy efficiency standard. And you need to get an EPC before you can market your property. You’ve gotta spend money to make money, right? You might have some questions, though. How do I get an EPC? How long does an EPC last? Do I need to change my property in any way? We have the answers for you. 

So if you:

  • Need an EPC for your property;
  • Want to know more about EPCs;
  • Want to improve EPC rating;

Then read on!

EPC regulations for landlords

Energy performance certificates weren’t always required for all landlords. Before changes were made in 2018, HMO landlords were the only ones who were required to provide a certificate. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case anymore. EPC rules required every new tenancy to provide an EPC. Since April 2020, however, this requires every existing tenancy to provide an EPC, even if your property existed before 2018. This should be done before the let is marketed.  So, you can confidently show to any potential new tenants the results of the existing EPC. We’ll get to the validity of the EPC in more detail further down.

EPCs obviously cover your property’s energy usage and energy costs and you’ll be ranked from A (most efficient) to G. Thankfully, you aren’t expected to have an A rating. EPC regulations for landlords require that you have at least an E rating, meaning you don’t have to go crazy trying to make your property super sustainable. 

EPCs are crucial for landlords and if you can’t supply an EPC, you may be liable for fines. Specifically, £200 is payable per tenancy that doesn’t have one. 

 If you are managing a student house or student let, generally speaking, you won’t need an EPC. However, it is best to check with your local authorities on whether this is the case.

How to get an EPC

Before getting your EPC certificate, your property will require an EPC assessment report. Assessment reports are easy to book and the inspection itself only lasts from about 45 minutes to an hour. Once that’s done, you should receive your certificate shortly after.

If your property didn’t receive an E rating, it isn’t the end of the world! There are ways to improve your EPC score, though this can cost money, as it often involves changing certain aspects of your property. 

How long does an EPC last?

You can breathe a sigh of relief now. EPCs have to be renewed every 10 years, meaning you’re set for a decade. Plus, if you’ve purchased a property that has its own EPC, you won’t need to re-validate it, unless it’s been 10 years since the last assessment. You can check whether a property has a certificate easily online. Like property tools, where you just need to enter the postcode and locate your property’s address. It even tells you when you need to get it renewed, which is a nice added bonus. 

How to improve EPC rating

If you’ve scored lower than an E rating, it isn’t the end of the world as you can improve it! However, this often results in investing more into the property than you might have expected. Correlate this to the amount of money you could be making though, and the costs can be worth it. 

You might want to think about implementing some energy-efficient improvements to your property. These can come in the form of:

Loft insulation

We all know that heat rises, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that about 40% of your property’s heat escapes through the roof. Luckily, loft insulation is a relatively cheap option to deal with this. Not to mention, it’s actually quite easy to install, with many people opting to do it themselves, which would obviously save a good sum of money! No wonder then, that this is often the first stop for private landlords to improve their energy efficiency rating.

Double Glazing

A good amount of heat is also lost through your windows, which is where double glazing comes in. This involves putting in entirely new windows usually, as double glazing uses two glass panels within the same window frame, in order to create a vacuum in between the panels. Most new properties are fitted with double glazing as standard, but if you have a particularly old build, you may need to contact some professional window fitters. 

Insulating cavity walls

Cavity wall insulation can be great for boosting your EPC rating. If your property was built after 1920, it’s likely to have a cavity wall. This is when a wall is built behind another wall, with a small gap present in between them. In principle, they work much the same way as double glazed windows. Unlike double glazing though, this gap can be insulated. While this can be expensive, it will seriously reduce the amount of heat that escapes. 

Insulating solid walls

If your house was built before 1920, it’s more than likely that you have a solid wall. These can still be insulated, but the process is a little more intensive. This can be done either internally or externally and involves fitting your walls with an insulating material. Stud walls can also be built, which gives you the same effect as a cavity wall would. As you can imagine, this requires extra labour and can be a lot of hassle, as often any fixtures will have to be removed and replaced. In which case, you’ll probably need a professional electrician, too. Not to mention, this is probably the priciest option on this list.

Insulating the floor

Insulating the floor can be a decent option for those landlords, who want to make their properties even more energy-efficient. It involves closing gaps within floorboards and skirting boards, which you yourself can easily do. However, if you want to place some sort of insulating material under the floorboards, you’re going to need professional help, as the floor will have to be lifted from its place. Obviously, this can be quite expensive, with the higher prices coming in at around £2000. 

Insulate your pipes

Even though this is one of the cheaper options, it’s the most cost-effective at improving your EPC rating. And there’s no need for professionals! All you need to buy are foam tubes that can be sourced from a variety of DIY shops. These often cost less than a tenner and you just wrap them around any exposed pipes. It’s incredibly easy to insulate pipes and it can save you around £90 per year in energy bills. It’s a no brainer. 

If your property doesn’t meet the energy efficiency measures, you’ll be happy to know the government has put in place an investment cap of £3500. This means that if your property is between the F-G rating, in terms of energy performance, you can ask for an ‘all improvements made’ exemption provided that you still haven’t been able to meet the minimum EPC rating.

Need an EPC for your property?

We’ve got you covered. We work alongside certified assessors, who will inspect your property and supply you with the energy performance certificate. Alongside the inspection, the expert will provide recommended improvements that would increase your property’s energy efficiency, which can help reduce energy costs. This can be especially useful for landlords, who want to maximise their profit margins!

Let us help to get your property rental ready! 

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Takeaways

  • EPCs are crucial if you want to let your property.
  • Your property only needs to attain an E rating, so it doesn’t need to be totally energy efficient.
  • If your rating is lower than an E, there are a number of methods to help boost energy rating.
  • Keep in mind, improving your EPC can be a pricey procedure.

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We hope you found our article helpful. If you have any tips on making your rental property more energy-efficient, leave a comment with us below!

Image source: Shutterstock/ Pixxsa

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