When is a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) required?

There are a number of situations when a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is legally required.

Marketing A Dwelling For Sale or Let

If you market a residential property for sale or let you should have a valid Energy Performance Certificate before you begin and you need to make this available to prospective tenants and purchasers.  You also need to provide details of the current rating with your marketing materials.

If you fail to commission a valid Energy Performance Certificate within 7 days of starting marketing you commit an offence.

Completing A Sale

When you sell a residential property you must provide an Energy Performance Certificate to the buyer prior to exchanging contracts.

Letting A Dwelling

A copy of a valid Energy Performance Certificate must be provided to tenants before they enter into a new tenancy agreement.  Failure to do so is both an offence and can prevent a landlord beginning proceeding to recover possession of the property through the courts.

Self Catering Holiday Accommodation

A valid Energy Performance Certificate will be required for a property rented out as a furnished holiday let, as defined by HMRC, where the building is occupied for the purposes of a holiday as a result of a short term letting arrangement of less than 31 days to each tenant, and is rented out for a combined total of four months or more in any 12 month period, and if the occupier is responsible for meeting the energy costs for the property.  This does not normally apply to holiday parks where guests are allocated accommodation and unable to specifically choose it.

The law in Scotland is slightly different and all holiday homes require a valid Energy Performance Certificate.  Additionally, the EPC rating must be clearly shown on all advertising and marketing material for the property.

On Construction

The creation of a new dwelling requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to be issued.  This may be the result of a new building being constructed, an existing dwelling being divided (even if it had previously been multiple homes) or the change of use of a non-domestic property into a residential property.

The procedure for producing the first Energy Performance Certificate on a new dwelling is different to that used for existing buildings.  It requires a full SAP calculation and is a lot more involved but does not involve a site visit.

Other Schemes & Circumstances

A number of other programmes require a dwelling to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate.  These include:

  • Landlord licencing schemes
  • Energy efficiency funding schemes e.g. Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme
  • Green energy generation programmes including the Feed-In-Tariffs (FIT) scheme.

 

The rules and legal requirements for these schemes are specific to each programme.  As a result, they vary considerably from area to area and, in some cases, neighbouring towns will have entirely different rules.  As a result they are not discussed further here and it should be noted that the exemptions below may not apply.

Exemptions

Some dwellings don’t need to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). However these regulations have been devolved and so different rules apply in different administrations.

Additionally, it should be noted that in some cases a Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate will be required instead.  In effect, some exemptions just clarify the difference between a dwelling and a non-dwelling.

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in England that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Scotland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less.

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in Wales that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Northern Ireland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less

 

Extreme caution should be taken before relying on any exemption.  In nearly every case there are specific definitions and limited circumstances which apply.  As a result, they are not as obvious as they first appear.

The consequences of getting it wrong can be significant, particularly for landlords letting a property.  As a result you are strongly advised to seek specialist advice, including your own legal advice, before claiming any exemption.