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Do I really need an EPC?

I am just about to let one of my properties.
As yet I have no EPC & I’m seriously thinking do I really need one? I’ve been told by my letting agent that I should have one in place before I even start to market my buy-to-let. The fact is I haven’t and this hasn’t stopped them marketing the property or showing prospective tenants around my apartment.


What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is one of those great bits of bureaucracy…..sorry legislation brought in on the back of EU posturing….in this case about the environment. Remember the EU, ….it used to be all about European harmony and ‘butter mountains’ and now it’s all about how much each euro bloc member owes to the Germans.
The long and short of it is that an EPC is currently required. but my question is can I get away with not having one?


EPC legislation

The EPC has all come about because of the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). The idea from this ‘wonderful’ bit of legislation is that it is make energy efficiency transparent…’nice’! It does this by issuing a certificate showing the energy rating together with recommendations on how to improve it. Here’s the heavy bit. Under Article 7 of the Directive any building sold or rented or constructed must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This part of the Directive has been implemented into law under by the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (2007/991). Well us Brits do always roll over and take it don’t we! I wonder what the Greeks or Italians have done about it? The reality probably Zilch!


Confusion over EPC requirement

The abolition of the HIPs has thrown some landlords into confusion. The EPC was originally required as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs). These were brought in by the Labour government as a way of speeding up house sales…HA HA! HIPs were scrapped by the Coalition as one of their first acts of power but the EPC was retained so we didn’t upset Brussels and also so that the Coalition could push their “green credentials”. So where does this leave me.


No EPC – will I be flogged?!

The law is clear in that it states from the 1st of October 2008 landlords must provide an EPC free of charge to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity and must provide a copy of the EPC to the person who takes up the tenancy. The purpose of the EPC is to show prospective tenants the energy performance of the dwelling they are considering renting.

You can download the Government’s guide on EPCs for landlords here

If you don’t have one the provision of EPCs is enforced by the Trading Standards department of the local authority. If they receive a complaint that an EPC has not been provided they can impose a penalty charge on landlords of £200 for each breach. After talking to an industry expert and as far as I’m aware there has not been a single case of a landlord being fined for not having an EPC when trying to let their buy-to-let property. You may know differently, so if you do no of a case could you let us know.

So what do I do?

Get an EPC or risk a public flogging and humiliation at the hands of Trading Standards. My letting agent is trying to charge me £75. Having gone to the Internet I’ve found a local company that will do one for £47 (apparently it’s a 20 minute job). I guess I ought to set an example and make sure that I’m compliant. But really, has anybody been asked for an EPC by their tenant and would it really change their decision about letting a property if they see one? I really can’t believe for a second it would. I’m just left feeling that yet again I’m the victim of idealistic and clueless politicians and their army of over paid bureaucrats. The result of their handy work is that it costs me time and money and takes me away from providing a real service for people living in the real world.

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