What is an energy performance certificate (EPC)?
An EPC is a certificate showing how energy-efficient a property is. The property will be given a grade of between A and G, with A being the best - ie most energy-efficient - rating, and G being the worst.
New-build homes tend to have high EPC ratings, while older homes tend to have lower ratings of around D or E.
It's a legal requirement to have an energy performance certificate, or EPC, for your home before you sell it. This can be arranged through your estate agent or directly with an EPC provider.
And if you're a buy-to-let landlord, it is now a legal requirement that your property has an EPC rating of E or above before you can take on a new tenant or renew an existing contract. By 2020 this rule will apply to all properties with existing tenancies, too.
The theory is that the better the rating your property gets, the more attractive it should be to a tenant or buyer, as it indicates lower energy bills.
- If you're moving house, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987 for a free consultation on your mortgage options - and scroll to the bottom of the page to find estate agents in your area.
Download an example EPC certificate
How to improve your energy efficiency EPC rating
The EPC will list ways to improve your rating, such as installing double glazing or loft, floor or wall insulation, and give indicative costs. The certificate will include:
- potential costs of heating, lighting and hot water after improvements are made;
- total potential savings, and the energy performance rating you might receive after making improvements to your home;
- recommended actions to take (such as increasing loft insulation and draught proofing);
- the potential cost of undertaking these improvements, and the typical saving over a three-year period.
What is the EPC register? The EPC checker explained
The EPC register is a government-run site that allows you to look for your EPC (and EPCs for any other properties that haven't opted out) on the government's EPC retrieval site.
If your property doesn't already have an EPC, you'll need to get one. Many people do this via their estate agent for convenience, but this is generally the pricier option.
If you want to save money and source your EPC independently, look for an accredited domestic energy assessor on the government's EPC register.
How long does an EPC last?
EPCs are valid for 10 years. If the property has been let or sold since 1 October 2008 in England and Wales, 31 December 2008 in Northern Ireland or 1 January 2009 in Scotland, it should already have an EPC.
How much do energy performance certificates (EPCs) cost?
EPCs can cost up to £120, although the price is much lower than this for most properties.
While all homes need to have an EPC, there's no benefit in choosing a more expensive provider, so shop around for the best deal.
Going directly to an EPC provider rather than getting it through an estate agent is generally cheaper.
Energy performance certificates in Scotland
If you're selling in Scotland, you'll need to get a Home Report. Home Reports include an EPC (known as an energy report), a house survey and a property questionnaire. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), they should cost between £585 and £820, depending on the size of the home.
It's worth getting a quote from your estate agent and a registered surveyor for the survey and energy report. The Scottish government website provides a list of EPC-approved organisations.
Homeowners in Scotland have to display the EPC somewhere in their property, for example by the boiler.
Find out more: selling a house in Scotland - how the system works