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When an EPC is required

This content applies to England & Wales

The requirement to provide energy performance certification (EPC) of buildings for sale or rent to a buyer or tenant.

The requirement to provide an EPC

Except where a property is of a type where an EPC is not required, or is exempt (see below), the seller/landlord and their agent must ensure that an energy performance certificate (EPC) has been commissioned for a building before it is put on the market (for sale or rent). All reasonable efforts must be used to secure that the EPC is actually obtained within seven days of the building being put on the market and if this is not possible, it must be obtained within the following 21 days.[1]

The asset rating of the building, as expressed in the EPC, must be stated in any advertisement of its sale or rental in commercial media.[2] The ratings range from A (very energy efficient) to G (energy inefficient).

The seller/landlord or their agent must make a valid EPC available, free of charge, to any prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity or when any other written information is provided to them or they come to view the property.[3] The EPC must also be given to whoever becomes the buyer or tenant. It is sufficient to provide a copy of the valid EPC and an EPC can also be provided electronically if the intended recipient consents to this.[4]

Which types of building are exempt

Energy performance certificates (EPCs) are not required for:[5]

  • buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit (where compliance would unacceptably alter their character or appearance)
  • buildings that are used as places of worship
  • buildings that are temporary – having a planned time of use of two years or less
  • industrial sites or workshops non-residential agricultural buildings with a low energy demand, such as barns or cow sheds
  • stand-alone buildings which have a total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres
  • residential buildings used for fewer than four months or for a limited annual time of use with an energy consumption below a certain level.

When an EPC is not required

Even where a building is not one of the types of buildings listed above it may be exempt in certain circumstances:

  • before construction on the relevant building has been completed.[6]
  • where the seller/landlord does not have to provide an EPC if s/he reasonably believes that the prospective buyer or tenant:[7]
    • is unlikely to have sufficient means to buy or rent the building
    • is not genuinely interested in buying or renting a building of a general description which applies to the building
    • is not a person to whom the seller/landlord is likely to be prepared to sell or rent out the building.

    However, care must be taken by any sellers or prospective landlords to ensure that they do not contravene discrimination laws.

  • where the seller or prospective landlord can show that:[8]
    • the dwelling is suitable for demolition
    • the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment, and the relevant planning permissions, listed building consents and conservation area consents exist in relation to the demolition, and
    • in relation to redevelopment, either planning permission (outline or full) exists, and listed building consent where relevant.

Where an EPC is not given

A landlord who is subject to the requirement to provide an EPC will be prevented from relying on a section 21 notice served at a time when s/he has not done so.

[1] reg 7 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[2] reg 11 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[3] reg 6 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[4] regs 12-13 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[5] reg 5 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[6] reg 5(2) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[7] reg 6(3) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

[8] reg 8(3) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

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