The increasing importance of EPCs

Written by Alison Owens, from the Wareham estate agency team

What is the Role of an EPC when Selling or Letting a Property?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are a legal requirement when selling or letting a property. They provide information about a property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact and are designed to allow prospective buyers or tenants to make more informed decisions. Click to read more about EPCs and why we need them. 

The Importance of EPCs

EPCs have existed for the last decade and a half, and until recently haven’t been considered overly important in the property buying or renting process. This is now changing. Homebuyers are more cost-conscious given escalating energy costs, and investors of buy-to-lets are now required to meet minimum ratings for tenants. For the latter, lenders are also introducing stricter EPC requirements for buy-to-let mortgages

The general public are now aware that EPCs can help them to identify ways to improve the energy efficiency of their property, which can, in turn, lead to cost savings on energy bills. In the last few months, while conducting viewings on available properties, it has become more apparent that EPCs are increasingly impacting buying-decisions. Buyers are now looking at the cost element of upgrading an EPC through home-improvements and we are having more and more conversations about ‘heat source pumps’ and installations of log burners, for example. 

In some cases, buyers can be deterred by a low EPC rating, which is interesting as compared with a few years ago, most wouldn’t have known what an EPC is, let alone considered it as part of their purchase. 

Changes to EPC Requirements: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

Landlords of privately rented properties need to achieve an EPC rating of at least E, or demonstrate an exemption, before they can grant a new tenancy or renew an existing one. This applies to long-lettings, shorter-lettings and holiday rentals. If the property does not meet these standards, landlords may need to make energy efficiency improvements before they can let their property. 

Overall, the proposed changes to EPC legislation are designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, reduce carbon emissions, and provide more accurate and accessible information about a property’s energy efficiency. It is also part of the Government’s strategy to meet its emissions targets. All in all, I think that EPCs will continue to grow in importance and become much more significant in the property-buying process. 

EPCs for Grade Listed Properties

Previously, Grade Listed properties were exempt from needing an EPC, but the legislation has recently changed. Now, Grade Listed properties are subject to the same energy efficiency regulations as all other building. However, it can be a catch 22 for homeowners, as any proposed changes would need to preserve a home’s historical character, so it won’t always be necessary. If you are considering selling a listed property, the DOMVS team will assess each property’s criteria and advise on the need for an EPC.

Picture of Alison Owens

Alison Owens

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