How important is your Energy Performance Certificate when buying or selling property?

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Introduced in 2002 by the European Union, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), also known as an Energy Efficiency Rating, is an instrument of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive that calculates the energy performance of a property from A (Most Efficient) to G (Least Efficient) and is valid for ten years.

Becoming effective in Scotland from December 2008, all properties are legally required to have a valid EPC at the time of construction or conveyancing, and it must be made known to any potential buyer of a property in the Home Report. Similarly, all landlords must order an Energy Performance Certificate for potential tenants before marketing their properties to let.

In Scotland, you are legally required to display the EPC somewhere in the property – most people usually find it in their meter cupboard or next to the boiler.

So, why is it important?

From a consumer perspective, firstly, it is a legal obligation to obtain and display your EPC, and as such, property owners can face penalties for lack thereof.

Secondly, if you are looking to buy or lease, the EPC will provide information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, giving you an accurate estimate of potential bills. Likewise, if you are looking to sell, it can either decrease or increase the value of your property. For example, property with a relatively high energy performance level (A-C), will usually have a higher market price than that of a weaker performing residence as more money has been invested into the energy development and performance.

Although there are initial costs, implementing effective energy-saving strategies such as solar energy, double glazing, insulation and renewable electricity can increase both your EPC rating and property value. Included in the EPC is a recommendation report that should provide information to help reduce the running cost of the property even further. To find out how you can reduce costs and save money with your bills, click here.

Additionally, from a Government perspective, it allows professionals to assess the country’s overall energy ratings per city, council and property type in accordance with the energy efficiency standards. This enables leaders to gain a sound understanding of the areas in need of energy improvements and set accurate and realistic energy-saving objectives for the country.

Overall, as a consumer, it’s important to understand the value and significance of a property’s EPC when selling or buying property. In a world where leaders are accelerating renewable energy plans and strategies, the future value of your home will be impacted, should you ever decide to sell.

What if I have a low Energy Performance Rating?

Currently in Scotland, there is no legal duty for homeowners to have a specific performance rating. However, the Scottish Government are continually working towards improved energy efficiency for the country and have set long-term domestic objectives for all sectors. By 2040, Scotland aim to have all residential properties to have achieved an EPC rating of at least C (69-80 on scale of 0-100).

For the privately rented sector (if you own and lease your own property to tenants), energy efficiency standards have already been introduced. Since October 1st, 2020, any new tenancy is now required to have an EPC of at least band E and by the 31st March 2025, all properties will require to have at least EPC band D.

So, although most homeowners don’t need to worry about their EPC score just yet, it’s important to be aware of what’s coming. Besides, it’s not the worst thing to invest your time and money into. You’ll improve your property performance and be contributing to the global fight against climate change.

How do I find out my Energy Performance Rating?

If you don’t have an EPC located in the house, you should be able to source it online. Otherwise, when selling your home, you would obtain a Home Report which should contain the EPC and any recommendations for improvement.

For properties sold or let after the 4th of January 2009, your property should already have an EPC. You can find it out by following this link and entering your postcode.

If you can’t find it there, you can have an Energy Performance Assessor visit your home and provide one after assessment. Please note this service may be restricted due to COVID-19.

Now go on, go check the boiler. You know you want to…

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