How do EPC regulations affect me?

Here’s what you need to know about Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

EPCs have been a feature of discussion when it comes to property and energy efficiency. But what does EPC mean, and what do you need to know?

Many properties across the UK are energy inefficient when EPC ratings are used to provide an indication. For example, according to survey statistics, 51% of properties in Scotland and only 40% of homes in England and Wales have an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above which, in the long run, often means higher energy bills.*
In this article, we look at what an EPC is and why you may want to start thinking about improving your property’s rating. 

What EPC provisions have recently been scrapped?

The UK Government has scrapped the proposed revisions to EPC regulations for England, meaning that homeowners and landlords will not have to meet the minimum EPC rating of C by 2028. However, even with this change, there could still be many benefits to working towards a higher EPC rating.

What about Scotland and Wales?

As it currently stands, landlords in England and Wales have had to meet the minimum requirement of having an EPC rating of E or above. From April 2018, this included all new tenancies and from April 2020 all existing tenancies.^ In Scotland, no minimum rating is required but an EPC is needed before a rental property is marketed to tenants. Additionally, if you're selling a property in Scotland, an EPC will and must be included in the Home Report.

Neither the Scottish nor Welsh Government have provided any recent updates on EPC policy changes for their nations. Taking each in turn, their respective stances at the time of writing are understood as follows:
  • Although Rishi Sunak scrapped the regulations to have a minimum EPC rating of C (in September 2023), there are current proposals for Scotland that residential properties must achieve an EPC rating of at least C by 2033, “where technically and legally feasible and cost-effective.”† Additionally, for the private rented sector, it is currently being proposed that regulations will be brought in, in 2025, requiring rented property to achieve a minimum EPC C rating by 2028.
  • At this time, beyond the recent UK Government announcement, the Welsh devolved government have not made any additional comments or added to the discussion on the topic. It remains to be seen if they will create any alternative proposals.

What is an EPC?

In short, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) measures the energy efficiency of a property on a scale of A-G. These measures were introduced in 2007 and are now a legal requirement for an owner to obtain before the property is sold, let or built. EPCs are currently valid for 10 years.

What is the best and worst EPC rating?

The most efficient homes – which will have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The certificate will tell you, on a scale of A-G, the energy efficiency of your home along with the potential scale after improvements are made, with 'A' being the most efficient home. Better-rated homes should have less impact on the environment and are more sustainable.

How do you improve your EPC rating?

The answer will vary from property to property. And it may not be as simple as only replacing the boiler to achieve the necessary EPC rating. Older properties may need much more done to them – replacing windows and improving loft insulation, for example.

What are the benefits of a ‘greener’ property?

Having a ‘greener’ property can really help to attract tenants and even improve the rental return you can get. One in 10 renters have said they would be prepared to stay in their home for longer if changes were made to it and a significant number would be prepared to pay more for these changes – for example, 18% said new windows would justify an increase in rent**. A more energy-efficient home could lead to lower bills for tenants, a strong selling point for many.

A modernised home with green credentials could help you attract a wider market – having a nicely decorated home with eco mod-cons will appeal to a growing number of people looking to live not only in a modern property, but one which is environmentally friendly. An initial outlay could see you generate a higher rental for many years to come. This could out-weigh the initial cost of making your property more energy efficient.

3 tips for moving towards a greener property:

These are low-cost options that you can do today:

  • Check for drafts and use excluders to prevent them, or fillers for gaps between skirting and floorboards
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs if you haven’t already. They last longer than traditional lightbulbs and are around 80% more efficient
  • Switch to a modern eco-friendly shower head which still delivers good pressure but saves energy and water

Finally, think ahead – making incremental changes over time will help to spread the cost, gradually improving your property's energy efficiency and potentially improving your rental value. Think not only about efficiency but also the changing world – electric cars will become more prevalent, so consider a home charging point, and no doubt renters and home-buyers will come to see this as an essential feature in years to come. You may even be able to get a grant towards installation costs – and widen the rental attractiveness of your property.

Whatever you decide to do, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. And, the first step to improving your property’s rental value is to get a quick and easy, 60-second valuation.

How much rent could I get?

*Open Property Group EPC ratings 2022;