Heating a property isn’t a cheap feat, especially during the ongoing cost of living crisis.

That’s why it’s vital to know a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you buy or rent, as it’s a great indicator of its energy efficiency.

But what is an EPC rating and how long do Energy Performance Certificates last? Find out everything you need to know in this post!

What is an EPC and how long do they last?

An Energy Performance Certificate is a legal document that provides information about the energy efficiency of a building. Energy Performance Certificates last for 10 years and show how much energy it takes to heat, light and power a building, as well as its environmental impact.

EPC ratings vary from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G being the least. Naturally, a property with a higher EPC rating will be more attractive to potential buyers, as it indicates the property will come with lower energy bills and stay warmer during the colder months.

Properties rated A will usually have their own electricity-generating capabilities installed, such as solar panels, whereas a G-rated property will be old, single-glazed and heated using coal, electricity or even oil.

Currently, the minimum EPC rating a UK property can have is an E, but new rules from the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) mean that it won’t be this way for very long.

New EPC rules for 2025

As mentioned, there will be new EPC regulations for landlords in 2025 which will mean that every newly rented home must have an EPC rating of C or higher.

These rules apply to both domestic and commercial landlords and will affect a staggering 60% of properties within the private rental sector.

However, this doesn’t mean those already renting a property are forgotten about. Any existing tenancies must be up to an EPC rating of C or more by 2028, or else fines will be issued to the landlord.

An EPC can range from £35 and up to £120 – a small price to pay to avoid a fine of up to £5,000.

How long does it take to get an EPC?

A domestic EPC assessment takes up to 40 minutes, while a commercial assessment typically takes at least 45 minutes. No two assessments are the same, as this can greatly depend on the size and nature of the property.

Every room will need to be accessed by the assessor (including the loft), while heating systems and insulation must also be inspected. Photographs are taken of key measurements within the visual survey, although these won’t be visible to the public.

You should receive your EPC certificate within 48-72 hours of your property assessment, and a copy will be placed on a national register that can be accessed through the EPC search facility.

This document will be publicly available on the EPC register and will last up to ten years.

Do I need an EPC?

If you own, rent or sell a property in the UK then you’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate. Not only is it required by law, but having an up-to-date EPC can help landlords and sellers stay compliant with MEES regulations.

That being said, there is an EPC exemptions list but your property must have an EPC of at least E.

The exemptions include:

  • All Improvements Made‘ – When the property remains below standard despite relevant improvements being made to increase energy efficiency
  • Devaluation‘ – If the property’s market value was to drop by more than 5% due to energy-efficient measures being installed. This must be decided by an independent surveyor from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
  • Consent‘ –  When installing some measures (like solar panels), third-party consent is required.
  • ‘High Cost‘ – If purchasing and installing the cheapest recommendation for improvement costs more than £3,500, you may be exempt.
  • New landlord‘ – Every new landlord is given a temporary six-month exemption, as it is deemed inappropriate for them to immediately comply with regulations.
  • Wall Insulation‘ – If the property is not suitable for any kind of wall insulation.

How can I prepare for new EPC requirements?

We all know home improvements aren’t cheap. In fact, upgrading your EPC rating from D to C could cost you over £6,100. That’s why knowing how to improve EPC rating efficiently is key for anyone wishing to stay compliant with the new regulations.

Making small changes such as loft insulation, LED light bulbs and double glazing can all help improve energy efficiency and make a property more attractive to buyers or tenants.

While installing insulation can be expensive, did you know that with So Eco you could upgrade your property’s energy efficiency for free?

Through the ECO4 Scheme or the Great British Insulation Scheme, you could see your property go under a serious energy efficiency transformation at little to no cost.

Over 2.4 million UK homes have already improved their EPC certification through the ECO Scheme, installing insulation, newer boilers and even heat pumps or solar panels.

Discover if you’re eligible for an ECO upgrade by filling out our eligibility form or contacting a member of the So Eco team today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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