Hello? Does Anyone Know Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) Exist Yet?

I’ve yet to meet a prospective tenant, let alone an actual tenant, that even knows what an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is. They’ve been a legal requirement for landlords in England and Wales since October 2008, yet they appear to be as much of a mystery as they’ve ever been.

An EPC is primarily meant to benefit tenants. But if tenants are 1) unaware they exist 2) uninterested when they’re made aware they exist 3) confused by the technicoloured document when they’re looking at it – then the question has to be asked, who’s actually benefiting here? Someone’s Louis Vutton pockets, that’s whose.

So far I’ve been looked at gormlously by tenants each time I’ve handed over an EPC during a viewing. I almost feel embarrassed doing it because I can always anticipate the tenant’s response (it’s the same one I’m always given):

What The Fuck Is An Energy Performance (EPC)?

Before you hippies and eco-warriors start restocking on ganja, filling up your flasks with herbal tea and pitch camp outside my garden for a full on protest, let me clarify something. I like the idea of an EPC. Sure, if PROPERTY A will cost X amount more to keep warm than PROPERTY B because it’s less energy efficient, i’d like to know. I’m all for energy efficiency and reducing costs. Bring it on!

However, when you’re employing someone to measure the energy efficieny of a property and documenting the results using multi-coloured graphs on high quality printing paper for an audience that doesn’t have a bloody clue, you need to ask yourself, who’s really raping mother-nature here?

My problem is that the Government introduced a law which the main beneficiaries are, in general, completely oblivious to. What’s the bloody point? Riddle me that, Batman.

The way I see it is, EPCs are a good idea in principle, but a good idea without understanding or acknowledgement is a terrible idea.

What’s the solution? No idea, because I don’t know what the actual problem is. I’m not sure if tenants are generally unaware of the programme and consequently require educating, or whether tenants generally don’t give a shit about the energy efficiency of a property they’re temporarily renting. Either way, tenants don’t seem to be paying much attention, yet we’re still paying for the bloody things. Granted, EPC’s cost about £55 and they last for 10 years, but it’s the principle, innit.

Just to reiterate, landlords are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) per property. Follow the link for more details on when, why, how and where you can purchase them from.

Your thoughts…

I’m curious to know, as a landlord, do you even bother showing the EPC? How do tenants react to them- are they even familiar with them? Have you ever had a tenant request to see one?

I’m also curious about this situation from the tenants perspective. Do you ask to see them? Have landlords/agents shown you them in the past? Do you even care about them?

Grab the mic and say your piece below. Peace! x

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18 Comments- join the conversation...

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NS1 28th July, 2011 @ 07:29

Letting Agent won't advertise without it.

In reality during viewings a perspective tenant has never asked to see one, ever.

I think trading standards can enforce the rules that landlord's must have them to advertise a property?

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mollysbb 28th July, 2011 @ 09:09

I'm about to relet two houses which both have epc certificates. I had actually forgotten all about them and their lifespan till I read this. I will now dig them out and show them to prospective tenants and see what happens :)
Certainly, nobody has EVER requested to see one.. they almost never ask for gas safety certificates, so these will come way down the list of priorities..

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Sabs 28th July, 2011 @ 09:58

Letting agents SAY they won't advertise unless you have the EPC but they do. My agent didn't even bother asking to see mine until after the contract was signed with my tenant. Same goes for the gas cert.

Thinking back to when I was a tenant, I really don't think an EPC would have made any difference to my decision. When you find a property you like, you grab it quick, before one of the many other renters out there gets it. You're looking at the property itself, location, size, comfort etc. It's energy efficiency in reality is way down that list, if considered at all. I think an EPC may be more beneficial to buyers than renters.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 28th July, 2011 @ 10:07

@mollysbb
Glad I jogged your memory :)

I've actually had a lot of tenants ask about the Gas Safety Certificate. But obviously that's another issue, because they're based around safety. There's a point to them even if tenants don't request to see them. Not quite the same with EPC's.

@Sabs,
I couldn't agree with you more. Definitely think EPC's would be more beneficial to buyers than renters.

Speaking of agents and Gas Safety Certificates. I once accidentally gave a letting agent a Gas Safety Certificate for a completely different property to the one they were marketing for me. They didn't even notice ha.

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mollysbb 28th July, 2011 @ 10:18

As I'm currently doing battle with BG, who removed the meter because of fraudulent practice and now want £500 from me to replace it (tenant currently residing at her majesty's pleasure) I think I can reliably say that the assertion that buyers will be more interested than tenants is absolutely true. If you're going to fiddle the meter anyway, who cares how efficient the system is...? Just leave it on full time..

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Simon Thomas 28th July, 2011 @ 11:10

Hopefully when the first page of EPCs is simplified (next year?) it will be much easier to understand & tenants will be able to clearly see the benefits. But as long as EPCs continue to consist of 5 pages, most of which is irrelevant, nobody will bother reading through them to find the useful bits.

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Benji 28th July, 2011 @ 13:04

Nice idea, unfortunately they are not worth the paper they are written on. At £50 a time I always read through them but I could easily knock one up as a cut and paste that would be far more relevant.

Anyone know of a prosecution for not having one?
Before any energy assessors come up with ficticious cases, please provide a link.
Trading Standards may fine up to £200 but haven't done so yet AFAIK- Are they applying common sense to a bo****cks law?

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Martin Juniper 28th July, 2011 @ 16:41

The cartoon is genius. I spat out my beer from laughing at it.

My property manager asked for it so he had a copy in his files but tennants could not give a shit.

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Smithy 30th July, 2011 @ 16:16

I bought a repossessed house - completed in March. The house had been unoccupied since September. The seller (mortgage lender) had an EPC done in December in order to sell the place. There was snow on the ground and the house was freezing cold, damp, dark and absolutely filthy. The EPC makes grim reading.

But it lasts for 10 years and so the fact that it bears no resemblance to the house in it's present condition means that it is as good as worthless.

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John Tsigarides 30th July, 2011 @ 17:54

I've done about 12 rentals this year and always have a EPC with me, but no-one in my time (4 years self-employed landlord) has ever asked for it and even when I've shown them, they look at me as if say and what are we meant to do with that - they simply don't care.

Personally, I think there a complete waste of time and just another layer of red-tape for landlords to pay for. A tenant with any common sense, can look at the age of the boiler, the double glazing, ask if the place has insulation and energy-saving lightbulbs and work out if the place is energy efficient or not - it's not rocket science!

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LetEngine 1st August, 2011 @ 10:10

Tenants ought to care about EPCs for more than just altruistic (or "hippy"!) reasons - they're an indicator of how much £££ they can expect to pay for energy bills etc.

The problem is they are currently quite a blunt instrument for both measuring and showing this. The only thing that will make sense to potential tenants is a number with a pound sign in front of it - that's the easiest thing to understand and compare across properties.

Nigel
@letengine

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Gd78 2nd August, 2011 @ 14:12

You want to try and tell new landlords why they need to spend between £40 & £80 on something that wouldn't benefit them unless they were willing to spend extra money on their property to improve the score. It's a bit of a mare sometimes.

Although they are quite useful if your local council has a scheme to improve energy efficiancy in homes (especially Benefit tenants) because they could do work on the house for free.

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landlord andy 3rd August, 2011 @ 19:58

I have purchased, renovated and then let out 5 properties in the last 12 months. I always get a copy of the EPC from the sales process and then always ensure(as is reqd by law) to make sure a tenant has seen the document prior to them signing the AST. I always compile a booklet for tenants so that they have all the documents in one folder (AST, Invet, EPC, Instructions, phone nos etc). EPC is a complete waste for all concerned, landlords, sellers, tenants are all basically not interested. Hopefully go the same way as HIPs.

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Ed R 7th November, 2011 @ 18:15

I've just had an EPC certificate for a house I'm buying and must say it's the most worthless document I've seen. It didn't tell me anything that I, as a non-expert, couldn't see with my own eyes just by looking at the house with the estate agent. I don't need a document to tell me the house has double glazing but no energy efficient lighting!

The only thing I wanted to know about the house it couldn't tell me: whether there was cavity wall insulation. The surveyor stated on the certificate he assumed there wasn't based on age (exactly my conclusion) but couldn't tell for sure.

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Patch 24th April, 2012 @ 15:37

Word of Warning......Check your EPC was registered.

This one came out of the blue. I had an EPC issued in 2010 and have just heard from my letting agents that they now have to display the front page of the EPC on their detail sheets of the property.

They tried to download it from the EPC register only to find it doesn't exist and the inspector was probably not accredited. I've spoken to the company that it was arranged through only to find that apparently some inspectors couldn't be arsed to register the EPC because of the cost involved!! It looks like I now have to have another inspection done.

It might be worth checking your RRN (24 digit number on EPC) at https://www.epcregister.com/searchAssessor to see if you have a valid certificate performed by an accredited inspector.

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Sabs 24th April, 2012 @ 17:19

Very interesting and thanks for the advice Patch, didn't know you could check them. Have just checked mine and it's been registered, thankfully.

I wonder how many people will find they have the same problem as you?

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Patch 24th April, 2012 @ 18:28

Hi Sabs,
Glad that info was of some use. I had no idea this problem could arise and was lucky my letting agents are pretty good and efficient. I'm now just waiting for the EPC company to get back to me about the inspection having to be re-done at no cost to me?.

Apparently it costs about £10 to register the inspection report? So if the EPC generally cost £55 that's less money for the inspector and how many of us would bother to check its been registered? I had my EPC sent to me via email, which I forwarded on the agents.

It does seem in the early days of EPC's they weren't very well regulated and possible still aren't?

It will be interesting to see if this is an isolated case or more wide spread?

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Hlafward 19th May, 2014 @ 23:20

Another bit of wretched Euro regulation dreamt up by unelected Brussels bureaucrats. Add in local authorities compulsorily registering landlords with substantial registration fees. It all contributes to higher rents for tenants as landlords cover their costs. Vote UKIP.

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