Since 2008, an Energy Performance Certificate has been required prior to the sale or lease of most properties in the UK. This Certificate (EPC for short) sets out, according to a standard formula, the energy efficiency rating of the property just like washing machines etc. with a grade A for the best and a Grade G for the worst. The worst properties are likely to be poorly insulated and lit inefficiently and often heated and/or cooled with electricity. They will also cost a lot of money to occupy. Fortunately, most properties are in a higher band.
From April 2018, it will be illegal to lease or renew a lease on F and G banded properties. The government gave 6 years notice of this, aiming to secure the improvement of the worst properties. Most residential tenants in these types of properties will be in fuel poverty and unable to keep warm enough and businesses will be struggling to make a living.
If you are a landlord or a tenant you will need to know your EPC Band. Where this has been carried out, it will be on the public registers. These can be found by postcode at www.epcregister.com for residential properties and www.ndregister.com for other properties. If your property is in Band F or G or if the EPC was carried out before 2011 and is in a slightly higher Band, you will need to consider the implications without delay – speaking to your landlord/tenant and seeking professional advice. A new letting or lease on such properties should be very carefully considered with your professional adviser. If there is no EPC (and you need to check very carefully the description of the property in any EPC to make sure it is yours) then this will need to be carried out, possibly in draft to check whether there is a problem. The landlord should do this. Assessors can be found at https://www.gov.uk/find-an-energy-assessor
There are some exemptions relating to listed buildings, places of worship, some industrial and agricultural buildings and costs and payback time for example, but these need careful investigation as to whether they apply.
While the Regulations relate to lettings and leases, there may well be implications for the sale of all properties as banks and other bodies are increasingly refusing to finance the purchase of properties in these low EPC Bands.
The main message is where the EPC band is low, it may be sensible to progress some improvements to upgrade the energy efficiency of your property. This will reduce your energy bills and help safeguard our environment by reducing carbon emissions.