Energy Performance Certificates for Rented Properties
If you move in to a new self-contained rented property on or after 01.10.08 your Landlord or Agent has an obligation to provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Landlords are not required to provide certification if an existing tenant renews; only when there is a change of tenant. Once obtained a certificate remains valid for 10 years.
If your tenancy agreement does not cover the whole of the property but rather just the part of it that you occupy an EPC will not be required. An example would be a house or flat that is rented by a number of tenants who have exclusive use of their bedrooms but share a kitchen and bathroom. In this situation each tenant would have an individual tenancy agreement with the Landlord for the parts of the property that they have access to but not the whole property. An EPC will not be required whenever there is a change of tenant.
What to look for in an EPC
By studying the graphs on page 1 of the report you can see at a glance how energy efficient and environmentally friendly your prospective rental property is.
The ratings go from A-G with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and ‘G’ the least. The majority of properties achieve a D-E rating. Your focus at this stage should be on the ‘Current’ rather than the ‘Potential’ rating as you may not have the power or the inclination to implement any of the recommended changes.
Now, we would not suggest choosing which property to rent on this basis alone but if it comes down to a choice between two properties that fit all your other criteria then the energy efficiency of the respective properties should be considered.
Part 2 of the report breaks down the overall usage under the categories lighting, heating and hot water. This is useful information if you think that your household will be a particularly high user of one form of energy. The average cost of heating a 3-bed semi-detached family house with a current rating of ‘E’ will probably be between £800 & £900 per year. If your house is occupied by a group of sharers then expect the actual figure to be a bit more than.
How to use the information
Landlords are not required to implement any of the recommendations although with a little persuasion they may be happy to. Suggest it as a way of making their property more attractive to tenants in the future. In addition Landlords are able to claim up to £1500 of expenditure on insulating their property against their tax bill under the Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance.
Although EPCs are valid for 10 years they can be renewed voluntarily at any time if improvements have been carried out.
What can be done in the future?
If your Landlord is unwilling to implement any of the suggested recommendations during the first year of your tenancy bring the subject up again during negotiations for a second or third year. Focus on those areas which provide the greatest return at the lowest cost to the Landlord such as insulating the loft, providing an insulation jacket for the hot water cylinder or installing a room thermostat to regulate the heating. As heating and hot water are you biggest cost they will also be you potential biggest savers.
In order to qualify for the Warm Front Heating and insulation grant the tenant of the private property has to be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits. If you think that you may be entitled to benefit but have not yet claimed call 0800 027 9006 for a Benefit Entitlement Check.
There may be other Energy Efficiency Schemes available in your particular area with different criteria. You can find out more about them by contacting your local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (EAC) on free phone 0800 512 012 or through The Energy Saving Trust.