What is an EPC and Why Do I Need One?

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What is an EPC and Why Do I Need One?
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When the time arrives to sell your house, gathering all the paperwork can sometimes feel a bit daunting. Your buyers will want to know everything possible about the building – and this can involve searching for documents which you have not encountered before.

In the United Kingdom, it is common to encounter something called an ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ (EPC) when selling your property. This document has been introduced due to the ever-rising interest in energy efficiency, as it ensures that all properties are following ‘best practice’ with regard to using energy in the most effective way.

If you do not know what an Energy Performance Certificate is, or if you are a bit unsure about a few details related to the document, then don’t worry – our blog below provides all the answers you need.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate measures the energy efficiency of a property. An inspection will usually be carried out by a qualified tradesman or assessor, who can confirm the ‘rating’ of your house.

On the open market, it is generally more desirable to buy or rent a property which has a higher EPC rating. Usually, a high score means that the building retains heat well, and that fewer expensive improvements will need to be made to the house.

In recent years, the significance of an EPC rating on a UK property has increased, because the UK government intends to introduce a minimum rating requirement for renting out your property from 2028 onwards. This means that landlords who own a house with a low EPC rating will be unable to use it as an extra source of rental income, unless they improve its energy efficiency.

You will usually need to pay a small fee to get an EPC for your property, which is often between £50 and £100. In most cases, it is a legal requirement in the UK to have this documentation when you sell your house.

Are there any occasions when an EPC is not required?

While an Energy Performance Certificate is usually required by law when selling on the open market, there are a few instances where you could offload your house without one.

You do not need an EPC for places of worship, or for listed buildings. You will also not require one for a residential building which is intended to be lived-in for less than four months per year, or for holiday accommodation rented out for less than four months a year.

You do not currently need to have an EPC if a building is temporary, and will be used for no more than 2 years. Likewise, if a building is due to be demolished, or is very small – i.e. it has a floor space of fewer than 50 metres – then you will not need an EPC.

It is not uncommon for landlords to buy a property which already has a valid EPC. This documentation lasts for up to 10 years, so if the previous owner acquired a certificate within the past decade, you could use this as valid proof of your property’s rating.

Do you need a minimum EPC score to sell your house?

No, you do not need a minimum EPC rating to sell your property. Even if your house receives a ‘G’ rating (the lowest score) you could still find a buyer.

However, you should keep in mind that a high EPC rating is considered ‘more desirable’ for potential buyers. A low score may result in you receiving lower offers, and perhaps finding a higher proportion of cash buyers/property investors interested in purchasing the house, instead.

As of 2028, the UK government is enforcing legislation which makes it a requirement for any building being rented out to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘C’.

Why is a high EPC rating more desirable?

When your property has a high EPC rating, it is more desirable to potential buyers and renters because it will be better insulated. This means that, during cold periods, the people living there will be warmer, and that their heating bills should therefore be lower (compared to a house with a low EPC score).

A high EPC rating is also usually indicative that a house is up-to-date and has been invested in by its owner. This usually coincides with modern features and demonstrates the landlord’s willingness to go ‘above and beyond’.

If someone is buying a house with the intention of renting it out to make extra income, a high EPC rating sometimes enables them to charge more for their monthly rent, because the house is more attractive. As of 2028, it will be necessary for any property owners keen to follow this route to have a minimum rating of ‘C’.

For any people who are environmentally conscious, a high EPC rating can provide peace of mind, too.

Is it possible to check my Energy Performance Certificate?

Yes, you can check your Energy Performance Certificate. There is an online EPC register which displays all the certificates for properties in the UK. If you have the ‘Report Reference Number’ for the pre-existing EPC, then you can enter this into the search engine and it will provide you with details.

You can search for the EPC rating of other houses in your area, at no extra cost. This might enable you to compare results, and gauge how energy efficient your property is within the neighbourhood.

Many Energy Performance Certificates will give you information about how savings can be made on your house, if you wish to improve the score. If you are looking for more information on how to find my EPC then please click on the link.

Is an Energy Performance Certificate valid for long?

In the UK, an Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years. This means that when you buy a house, you may not need to get a new test carried out straight away, if the previous certificate is still viable.

Once an EPC document expires, the owner cannot market the house for sale unless a new EPC has been requested.

What can I do to improve my EPC rating?

When you get an EPC carried out on your property, the report will usually include recommendations on how you could improve your score. Nevertheless, there are some steps you can take which will usually be beneficial for most houses.

Installing double glazed windows is an excellent way of keeping heat in, and implementing energy efficient technology (such as light sensors, which turn off automatically, or even solar panels) will work in your favour, too. It will also be important that major systems, such as boilers, are not outdated and work effectively.

You will need to budget for these home improvements, if you are serious about increasing your score. Some of these installations will not be cheap but will hopefully make your house far more attractive to buyers/renters in the future.

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We Buy Any Home is the ideal company to help you sell your house fast – even if it hasn’t got an EPC or has an extremely low rating. Get in touch today for a no-obligation cash offer on your property.

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