EPCs and the Law
An EPC or Energy Performance Certificate measures the energy efficiency of a property. EPCs were introduced in England and Wales in 2007, and are a legal requirement when a building is to be sold, let or constructed. Performed by an energy assessor, a property will be given a rating from A-G, A being the most energy efficient and G being the least.
All properties, commercial and residential, before being sold or let must hold an EPC rating of at least E. Fines for not achieving this range from up to £5,000 for residential property, to up to £150,000 for commercial premises.
EPCs usually cost between £60 to £120 to have a property assessed and a certificate is valid for 10 years, and can be used multiple times. Its is recommended to source multiple quotes from different assessors to find the best deal.
When is an EPC needed?
When it comes to student properties, there are differing needs for if an EPC is needed, or how many are needed per property. Student properties commonly fall into a number of categories, such as self contained properties, studio flats, room rentals, and a shared house. All have different requirements for an EPC, and are outlined below.
Individual House / Dwelling
A self contained property with its own kitchen and bathroom facilities, such as a house or flat will require one EPC certificate for the whole of the property.
Self Contained Flats / Apartments
This will include buildings with multiple units, such as blocks of studio flats. Generally defined as a property behind its own front door and with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities. In this case one EPC will be required for each unit.
Shared Flats, Houses and Room Lets – Individual Tenancies
This is where each student tenant has an individual tenancy agreement for a room in a shared house, flats or for a room let. This will include the common student property type – House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), whilst also including bedsits, and rooms rented within a resident landlord. These properties will have private bedrooms for tenants, but shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. In this instance no EPCs are required for the property.
Shared Flats, Houses and Room Lets – Single Tenancies
Properties, such as HMO houses and flats, where there are multiple tenants living in the property and sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities. One EPC is required for the whole building providing all tenants are on a single tenancy agreement.
Mix of Self Contained and Non Self Contained Accommodation
This will include properties or buildings which have both self conatined units with their own bathroom and kitchen facilities, and also accommodation which is not self contained such as shared flats, one EPC will be required for each of the self contained units, and no EPC for the rest of the building.
Room in Hall of Residence or Hostel
Properties such as Halls of Residence and Hostels do not require an EPC for any part of the building.
An EPC is a legal requirement to be able to let a property, and a rating of E or higher is needed. Landlords should have an EPC to be made available to prospective tenants when they begin marketing a property. In Scotland, an EPC must be clearly displayed in the rental property. A landlord will also need to issue an EPC when going through a Section 21 eviction.
With the varying types of student properties in the UK, landlords should be aware of their responsibility to hold an EPC for the property or parts of the property to avoid fines and other issues in the future.
Residential Landlords Association. 2019. Accessed 22nd November, 2019, from https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/guides/epc/
Elmhurst Energy. 2019. Accessed 22nd November, 2019, from https://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/help-support/what-is-an-epc
AXA. 2019. Accessed 22nd November, 2019, from https://www.axa.co.uk/landlord-insurance/epc-for-landlords-what-you-need-to-know/#:~:targetText=An%20EPC%20must%20be%20made,this%20person%20as%20a%20tenant.