Energy Performance Certificates (E.P.C's) are required in the social and private sector where the dwellings have been let on a self contained basis on or after 1st October 2008. This legislation can apply to Housing Associations, Private Landlords (including Landlords who’s tenants are in receipt of Housing Benefit) and in certain circumstances Student Accommodation.
The landlord must commission an E.P.C. and ensure a copy of it, including the recommendation report, is available free of charge to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity. As a minimum, this should be when prospective tenants are first given written information about a dwelling or are arranging to view it, and before any rental contract is entered into. A copy of the E. P.C. (rating and recommendation report) must be given free of charge to the person who ultimately becomes the tenant before any rental contract is entered into. From 1 October 2008, an E.P.C. will be required whenever a building in the social or private rented sectors is let to a new tenant. A building can be:
- the whole of a building
- or part of a building where the part is designed or altered to be used separately.
An E.P.C. is only required for a dwelling that is self-contained, meaning that it does not share essential facilities such as a bathroom/shower room, W.C. or kitchen with any other dwelling, and that it has its own entrance, either from outside or through common parts, that is not through another unit. In instances of lettings where marketing activity is initiated pre-October 2008, an E.P.C. is only required if the property continues to be offered for let on or after 1 October 2008. Where the landlord has an agent, they may be given the task of ensuring that these requirements are met. However, the landlord will remain responsible for any breaches.
Some Key points
- The purpose of the E.P.C. is to show prospective tenants the energy performance of the dwelling they are considering renting.
- E.P.C.’s are valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as required within that period. It is not necessary to commission a new E.P.C. each time there is a change of tenant. However, once a more recent E.P.C. has been produced for a dwelling, it will always supersede an existing one. Thus, where a number of E.P.C.’s are obtained for a property within the ten year period only the most recent one is valid.
- An E.P.C. is not required for any property that was occupied prior to 1 October 2008 and which continues to be occupied after that date by the same tenant. However, landlords may commission E.P.C.’s for these dwellings if they wish.
- E.P.C.’s must be produced by an accredited assessor, but landlords are free to seek accreditation for themselves and their employees and so become competent to certify their own properties.
Dwellings in multiple occupation
Where individual rooms in a building are rented out and there are shared facilities (e.g. kitchen and/or bathroom), an E.P.C. is not required. This because an E.P.C. is only required on the rental of a building or part of a building designed or altered to be used separately. Renting a room does not meet the ‘part of a building’ definition.
- A house or flat is rented by a number of tenants who have exclusive use of their bedrooms but share a kitchen and bathroom. In this case each tenant has a contract with the landlord for the parts they have access to, but not for a whole dwelling. An E.P.C. is therefore not required each time a tenant moves, although one will be required for the whole house if it is sold, rented as a whole or constructed.
- Case Study 2
- A group of friends rent a property and there is a single contract between the landlord and the group as the contract is for the rental of a whole dwelling. An E.P.C. is required for the whole dwelling.
Therefore any properties which have been let on or after 1st October 2008 to a NEW tenant on a self-contained basis should have an EPC in place.
Trading Standards Officers have now been requested to provide a more active roll in ensuring the compliance of the above legislation.
For further information and to identify an EPC Assessor in your area visit: https://www.hcrregister.com/
For general information click here