EPCs: Why they are more important than ever
An Energy Performance Certificate or EPC for short, is a certificate that shows how energy efficient your home is. You will likely be saying to yourself that you don’t know what one looks like, but you probably do! If you’ve ever bought a television or refrigerator then you will be familiar with the coloured bar graph usually found stuck somewhere on the box or product. Like the one shown below.
EPCs are necessary when you want to buy, sell, or rent a property and they give you an idea on energy bills. Carbon emissions and what you could do to make improvements. However, they are somewhat vague in nature.
EPCs are rated on a scale from A to G. A being the most efficient rating with 92-100 SAP points (Standard Assessment Procedure) and G being the least efficient with 1-20 SAP points.
So, other than giving you an indication on the property’s energy efficiency, why are they important?
They are required by law
If you want to sell or rent your property, then as a seller/landlord you will be required to organise an EPC. It is possible to market your home without having an EPC, but you will be expected to have one arranged shortly after the property is advertised. It will be one of the first documents the solicitors request when you accept an offer, and you won’t progress far without providing one.
If you own a property rated under a D rating, you can about forget renting out that property! At least, you can forget about it until you’ve improved the EPC rating. This is because rental properties are required to be rated D and above by law.
Furthermore, the governments plan to make rented homes greener is causing landlords further concern. It wants to enforce a compulsory energy performance rating of ‘C’ on new tenancies by December 2025, and on all rented properties by December 2028.
Lender, Shawbrook Bank has carried out a survey which found that 31% of landlords would have just enough money to upgrade their properties, 14% don’t have access to the funds and 6% were unaware if they would be able to find the funds to make the necessary improvements.
Your Prospect Tree Mortgages advisor will ask you what your EPC rating is. This is because many lenders are now offering ‘Green Mortgages’ which offer exclusive rate discounts if the property has a rating of C or above. Lenders are doing this to assist with the Governments carbon reduction targets.
Leading UK lender, Halifax carried out an analysis which found that just 10% of pre-1900 homes meet the EPC rating ‘C’ which is the minimum standard for new build properties.
This could be costing homeowners thousands of pounds in extra fuel costs each year, especially considering the recent spike in gas prices.
So how can you improve your EPC?
Before you start making improvements, it would be a good idea to find out what your current rating is. You can find out here.
If you do not have an EPC, then you can organise one yourself. They usually cost between £50 & £100. You can find an assessor and arrange one on the governments website.
Double glazing – Upgrading your windows and doors will improve your rating and reduce noise as a bonus
Loft insulation – Installing insulation that is at least 270mm thick is easy to do and an inexpensive way to make a big difference to your EPC rating.
Wall insulation – Regardless of having cavity or solid walls, insulating them can improve your EPC rating and you could even qualify for help with the costs.
Replace your boiler – Having an energy efficient boiler will not only help you reduce your energy bills, but it can also improve your EPC rating.
Secondary heating source – if you can install an efficient secondary heating source like a log-burner or open fireplace then you could achieve greater efficiency and reduced costs overall
Solar Panels – Solar panels produce cheaper and greener energy. Whilst the UK may not be known for its sunshine, they are still worth looking into.
If you are looking for advice on any of the above, then you can speak to our expert mortgage brokers. They will be able to answer any questions you have about green mortgages, buy to lets or EPCs.
Fill in the form below, and one of the team will be in touch.