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EPCs for properties for sale or rent

This content applies to England & Wales

The requirements regarding energy performance certification of buildings for sale or rent.

Requirements for properties for sale or rent

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).[1] All reasonable efforts must be used to secure an EPC within seven days of the building being put on the market.

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 or to provide the valid EPC electronically if the intended recipient consents to this.[4]

When an EPC is not required

There is no requirement to provide an EPC, or make one available to a prospective buyer or tenant, before construction on the relevant building has been completed.[5]

The seller/landlord does not have to provide an EPC if s/he reasonably believes that the prospective buyer or tenant:[6]

  • 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.

In addition the seller or prospective landlord is not required to provide the buyer/prospective tenant with an EPC where they can show that:[7]

  • 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.

Other specified buildings also do not require EPCs. For further details see the page Buildings not requiring EPCs.

Minimum energy performance standards for private tenancies from 1 April 2018

Under the regulations:[8]

  • from 1 April 2018, a (non exempt) private-sector landlord must not grant a tenancy or renew an existing tenancy for a property that has an EPC rating below band 'E'. Renewal in this context means when the tenancy is replaced by a new tenancy or becomes statutory periodic
  • from 1 April 2020, a (non exempt) private-sector landlord will be in breach of the regulations if s/he continues to a let a property that has an EPC rating below band 'E'.

The EPC must be no more than ten years old.[9]

A breach of the regulations will not affect the validity of any tenancy granted.[10]

Enforcement

Enforcement is by the local authority, and the landlord can be fined if s/he breaches the regulations.[11]

Scope and exemptions

The regulations governing the minimum level of energy efficiency are limited to tenants of properties let under:[12]

  • an assured or assured shorthold tenancy
  • a regulated tenancy.

The Secretary of State can extend the scope of the regulations to other types of tenancy.[13] To date, the regulations have been extended to cover specified tenancies granted to agricultural occupiers.[14] Tenancies let by private registered providers of social housing are excluded.[15]

Certain other tenancies are also excluded, this includes:[16]

  • when the tenant refuses consent to allow the energy efficiency improvement to be carried out
  • if the required improvements would result in a reduction of more than 5 per cent in the market value of the property
  • a temporary exemption for six months from the date a landlord becomes the landlord of the property in question in certain circumstances.

exclamation Until such time as the regulations are amended, a landlord is not required to make energy efficiency improvements if they can’t be financed (at no cost to the landlord) by central government, a local authority or any other person, either separately or in combination. To meet this ‘no funding’ exemption a landlord must provide evidence that her/his application for funding to bring the EPC to Band 5 or above was not successful.[17] Note that the government has announced that it intends to amend this provision and introduce a capped landlord financial contribution.[18]

Exemptions register

Landlords who are relying on an exemption must register on the National Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register.[19]

The government has published the guidance PRS exemptions and exemptions register evidence requirements

Restriction on service of section 21 notice

A landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice to end an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if s/he has not provided a tenant with a copy of the EPC. This restriction only applies to ASTs granted in England on or after 1 October 2015. For details see Restrictions on use of section 21.

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

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

[8] reg 23 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[9] reg 22 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[10] reg 26 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[11] reg 40 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[12] s.42(1) and (2) Energy Act 2011; reg 19 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[13] s.42(1)(a)(iii) Energy Act 2011.

[14] reg 2 Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015 SI 2015/799.

[15] s.42(2)(c) Energy Act 2011.

[16] regs 31 to 33 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[17] regs 25 and 24 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[18] See the government's response to a consultation on amendments to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 published November 2018 on Gov.uk.

[19] reg 36 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

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