Since August 2007, EPCs have been a part of a property’s selling process and with over 160,000 houses sold in September 2021, it is important to represent your home’s energy efficiency truthfully. An EPC shows the current and potential rating of a property from A (efficient) to G (inefficient), a breakdown of the energy performance, the environmental impact and what improvements can be made to improve the efficiency of the house.
Not sure what your EPC rating is?
How to read an EPC
Changes in the delivery of EPCs mean that they’re now viewable on the government’s website and no longer in PDF format. This change has helped the readability of the document as each heading explains what each section is about.
The sections include
- Rules on letting the property
- Energy performance rating
- Breakdown of the property’s energy performance
- It’s environmental impact
- How to improve the energy efficiency
- Estimated energy use and potential savings
- The assessors details
- Other certificates relating to the property
The document is meant to be digested as a whole, reading through the sections will give you an idea of the property’s energy efficiency.
In order for a property to be rented out, the EPC must be at a grade E or better – this is to change to a C in 2025. Between the pressure of the minimum E grade, the existing inefficiency of a lot of UK property stock and the tight lock on a landlords wallet, it can be difficult to improve a dwelling’s efficiency. With this in mind, some energy assessors are producing untrue and inaccurate Energy Performance Certificates that misrepresent a property’s efficiency.
It happens in a sales market too! There are plenty of forum posts and news articles where buyers are realising down the line that the energy performance certificate is incorrect, expired, misrepresented or in a word, ‘wrong’. This causes budgeting concerns and mistrust in the agents they’re purchasing through.
Who It Affects
Buyers and tenants use these certificates as part of their selection process. With the information available, it enables them to not only have an insight into the construction’s fabric, but more importantly an idea of what the energy costs will be.
If an inaccurate EPC is misrepresenting a property, the new occupants of that property might be in for a surprise with increased energy costs. With an estimated 13% of households in England classed as fuel poor, this could easily increase with the issue of bad EPCs.
How To Remedy
If you’re selling your home, feel free to ask your energy assessor questions about your certificate, they will be happy to assist you in understanding the methods they used to get to calculate the rating. If you’re buying, you can also contact the assessor or ask your surveyor to further explain the EPC and if you’re a tenant, take a good look at the breakdown section of the report and match the features to the property, if anything stands out to be wrong, question your agent.
What To Do If You’re Affected
If you feel that you’re one of the many people affected by an inaccurate EPC, the first step is to contact the assessor directly, if you are still unhappy after contacting them, you should seek their accreditation scheme which is always presented at the bottom of the EPC. Accreditation schemes are appointed by the government to ensure that assessors are qualified to carry out EPC assessments.
Inaccurate EPCs and rogue energy assessors are out there but hopefully with these steps, you’re now informed on what you can do. Check out our energy performance certificates and MEES reports for more information.
At Harpr Surveyors, we’re here to help, if you have any questions that we haven’t answered or want to discuss a property of yours, you can contact us by phone or email. Alternatively, leave a comment below.