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Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency rating of a property, giving it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (very inefficient). The report shows the estimated cost to heat and light the property and what its carbon emissions are likely to be.

Landlords must have a valid EPC carried out, prior to letting a property, unless a valid EPC is already available. To check if there is a valid EPC for a property or to find a registered EPC assessors you can check the National EPC Register.

An EPC is valid for 10 years. The EPC can be reused during this time if the property is re-let. An EPC cannot be amended. If any changes are made to the property, for example a new central heating system, this will not change the EPC. A new EPC would need to be done to show any improvements. A copy of the EPC should be available for any prospective tenants to view and a copy should be given to tenants prior to a tenancy starting. From the 1st of October 2015, if a landlord fails to provide the EPC to a tenant, they cannot issue a Section 21 notice requiring possession.

Breaking the regulations for EPCs can result in a fine of £200. If you are a buyer or a tenant and you do not receive an EPC, contact Trading Standards at Cumbria County Council through the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

From the 1st of April 2018, domestic private rented property must have a minimum energy performance rating of E or above. The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations 2015, currently covers new tenancies and renewal of tenancies. From the 1st of April 2020 existing tenancies will be included. Breaking the regulations is an offence which can result in fines of up to £5000. A domestic private rented property is substandard if the EPC rating is F or G. If there is an EPC in place which shows that the property is an F or G, then it must not be let.

Properties may be exempt if:

• all the ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ for the property have been made (or there are none that can be made) and the property is still rated F or G
• a recommended measure is not a “relevant energy efficiency improvement” because the cost of buying and fitting it cannot be fully financed at no cost to the landlord
• third party consent cannot be obtained, for example the tenant refuses access to install energy efficiency measures
• fitting specific energy efficiency measures would reduce the market value of the property, or the building it forms part of, by more than 5%
• you are a new landlord. In certain circumstances a six month exemption can apply from the date a landlord becomes the landlords of a property

Exemptions can be registered by landlords or agents on the National Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register

Exemption do not excuse a landlord from the existing obligation, under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to maintain that property in a safe and ‘healthy’ state.

When registering a ‘no cost’ exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register supporting evidence will be required to demonstrate why the landlord has been unable to access suitable ‘no cost’ funding.

Evidence can include:

• written advice from a Green Deal provider setting out that Green Deal funding is unavailable to cover the cost of a measure, or that it is only available to partially cover the cost
• advice from an energy supplier or the Energy Savings Advice Service confirming that Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding is unavailable to fully cover the cost of fitting a recommended improvement
• advice from a Local Authority confirming that no landlord grants are available to cover the cost of making improvements
• Self-certified narrative explanation for why no suitable funding could be obtained

The regulations are currently being amended to remove the ‘no cost’ exemption and introduce a landlord financial contribution of £3,500. It is anticipated that it will come into force during 2019.

Government guidance for domestic landlords on minimum energy efficiency standards

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