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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

New EPC laws should be publicised by industry and government, insists expert

A national awareness campaign is required to help landlords get to grip with new Energy Performance Certificate legislation.

That’s the view of respected property expert Kate Faulkner who makes the claim in areport commissioned by the TDS Charitable Foundation.

Faulkner says the government, industry and media should work together to educate landlords on their EPC responsibilities.

The report - Communicating new EPC rules to landlords and tenants, -is the 12th and final instalment in a series funded by the TDS Charitable Foundation, designed to raise standards and educate the private rented sector.  

“Despite a flurry of publicity and interest before the EPC regulations came into force, many landlords and letting agents are still unaware of the law” claims Faulkner.

“The new rules and their aim to increase the energy efficiency of rental properties is undoubtedly positive, but for some landlords, their introduction has been seen as another legal hoop they have to jump through. 

“Clearer explanations of what is required of landlords, and what energy-saving changes they can adopt to make their properties as energy efficient as possible, would certainly go a long way to help landlords to understand and comply with EPC regulations.

“As well as complying with legal requirements, landlords can use the energy efficiency of their property, as a marketing tool to stand out from the crowded rental market.

“Landlords who don’t comply with the regulations may face penalties of up to £5,000, so it pays to understand your legal responsibilities. That said, more could be done to simply and concisely communicate what practical steps will help landlords make the necessary changes, and for tenants to identify properties with compliant EPC ratings.”

The report is available to read online here.

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    EPC's being produced now are not accurate. Surveyors will only include insulation that they can see and exclude multi layer insulation. New housing construction such as ICH and SIPS are ignored as they do not appear in the tick box for the calculation. Similarly heat pumps, ventilation systems and air tightness tests cannot be included. The training and soft ware used by the new breed of EPC surveyors is woefully inadequate. As an example a 10 year old house built with high levels of insulation, ASHP , ventilation system and high level of air tightness was assessed at the end of build as 93 A rated but on reassessment after 10 years was assessed as 69 C rated. The ASHP was rated as highly inefficient at only one star. Landlords that are using the newest technologies to build or renovate are being penalised for their efforts.

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    Hi Ann,

    I think the article partially proves the point that more information needs to be provided to landlord with regards to EPCs. I am an assessor so I can understand your confusion and frustration. If I explain your comments, hopefully it will help provide a better understanding as to why the results differ.

    Firstly, the difference in the results. The assessment that would have been done 10 years ago on a new build house would be a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). This assessment is done at the design stage and completed once the property is completed at the as built stage. Within this assessment, you build up the property from scratch, building layer upon layer to create the U-value of each fabric. This means that construction such as SIPS would not be ignored and the U-value of the fabric taken to create the total of the external walls.

    At the as built stage an air pressure test would be conducted and included in the SAP assessment to create the SAP EPC. Ventilation systems and heat pumps could also be included with either the list provided of make/models or manually inputting the efficiency of the model. The SAP EPC also varied with thermal transmittance showing in the star rating chart.

    Now 10 years later, the EPC you would have received would be produced via the Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP). This EPC which is the standard domestic EPC is based on a visual inspection and not as indepth as the SAP Assessment (hence the reduced data part).

    We have to do the assessment on the day visually and gaining access where we can. If we attend a property and for example, the landlord states they've had a new roof done and it's fully insulated, we cannot just take their word for it and require evidence for what we enter in the software. Evidence such as photos during the works or building control sign off is perfectly acceptable but just taking someone's word, unfortunately is not. If there is evidence that the property was constructed with SIPS in would be entered as a system built property dependent on the layout or might be a cavity wall if layered extra. With regards to the heat pumps, I do a lot of EPCs for RHI applications and haven't come across the issue of them showing a low rating (unless entered incorrectly). As the EPC uses the basic info on the day, that is why the rating would be less.

    Now should the EPC be updated...YES totally. I believe it is a good tool to use to help clients save energy and money but only if used correctly. If I use the example of the light fittings, we only include "fixed" fittings therefore portable lamps are not included although a household might only use them. The default figures are also dated with a default U-value of DG windows showing at a value of 2.6, when in reality is is between 1.8 to 1.4. I also think infrared thermography is a good tool to use in conjunction with the EPC as it can show leakages from windows or missing insulation.

    So not only should more information and better explanation of the EPC should be provided, it should also be updated to be more specific to the requirements of the property and/or household.


     
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    Yeah, lets just rubbish a whole scheme from one incidence, it's not like all Landlords aren't penny pinching fools who pay a pittance on their rental properties repairs and obligations, are too stupid to understand basic regulations or completely ignore them for their own ill gotten gains and greed.

    See how that broad brush works.

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    Its all a load of cobblers. Never in over 10 years of epc's has a tenant commented on one and doubt if they ever read one. Pile of red tape, means absolutely nothing .
    Every house i have purchased i make draught proof, wet proof, all electrics tested and replaced where necessary.
    Its warm its comfortable. I turn off my charger at night for christs sake. I change my bulbs for low energy because i want to save money. I dont need a green or pink piece of machine generated paper to tell me what to do. Cobblers just like Council Tax.

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    Yeah my EPC includes led light bulbs, which the tenant replace with cheap non leds which changes the rating. It shouldn’t be based on things which others can influence

    Paul Barrett

    You can buy LED for £1.
    Non-L ED aren't being sold anymore apart from any remaining stock.

     
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