Thursday, 27 August 2015

Are EPC's a waste of time?

It is a legal requirement to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) in place before marketing a property for sale or rent, however some people see them as a waste of time as buyers and renters seldom look at them.

I actually think EPC’s can be of more use than many believe though.

I was contacted recently by a first-time landlord seeking a rental valuation on the one bedroom flat he was in the process of purchasing. Seeing it was Grade II listed, without double glazing or gas central heating, my first port of call was to look at the EPC.

The property will be given an energy efficiency rating from A (highest) to G (lowest). EPC’s are valid for 10 years; so check whether your property already has one before an agent tries to sell you a new one.

I discovered that this particular property had an ‘F’ rating. This low rating combined with the flat’s Grade II listing, which would make improvements both difficult and costly, would pose a fundamental problem to the landlord…

From 1st April 2018 you will not be able to let out any property with an energy rating lower than an E!

Considering the F rated flat had been recommended to the investor as a buy-to-let by the estate agent, you’d have thought the first thing they might consider is “will he be able to let it in a few years’ time?”

In fact, almost 10% of the 4.2 million privately rented properties in England and Wales will not be lettable from April 2018 without improvements. 

This particular landlord did some further research and decided against buying that particular flat, thanking me for my timely intervention and advice.

Another positive use for the EPC is that it identifies the measures that can be taken to improve the property, the cost of doing so and the potential energy savings they would bring.

When you combine this with knowledge of the available local and national government grants to improve energy efficiency in homes, you might find that you can improve the comfort and value of your property at a subsidised cost!

Whilst common sense should enable someone to look at the age of a property’s boiler, the state of its (double?) glazing and its heating type, the EPC will also set out the property’s likely electricity and gas usage and their cost.

Tenants and homeowners should make use of this, as it may be cheaper overall to rent or pay the mortgage on a modern energy efficient home at £950pcm rather than a poorly rated one at £900pcm.

If you’re in the process of purchasing a buy-to-let property and would like me to check its long-term viability, please get in touch.

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on 27th August 2015)

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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  1. I struggle to see the usefulness of an EPC in lettings as a landlord will often only have one carried out as it is a legal requirement but wont update it when a new energy efficient boiler, extra insulation or double glazing is fitted. We do have the rare tenant who might register the epc rating but usually at check-in when we give them a hard copy even though it was advertised.

  2. Another purpose of an EPC is a stick to beat landlords with - there's a new law coming in whereby, if we can't prove that the tenant was shown the EPC AT THE VIEWING, then it won't be possible to serve a valid Section 21. So we need to get all prospective tenants to sign and date a copy of the EPC at each viewing. I'm just hoping that this rule won't be retrospective!