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EPCs should last just five years and not 10 - property group

A collective of government appointed accreditation schemes has called on the government to do more to improve energy efficiency in the country’s homes.

The Property Energy Professionals Association - whose members are those schemes producing Energy Performance Certificates - has called for new policies across government departments to help improve the energy efficiency of homes. 

Andrew Parkin, chair of PEPA, says: “Incredibly we are building flats in some parts of the country that are less energy efficient than those which were built decades ago.”

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He adds that while his group warmly welcomes the extension to the Green Homes Grant scheme, and a consultation on improving minimum energy efficiency ratings on private rented homes to a minimum EPC ‘C’, there remain further actions the government could do.

PEPA is calling for:

  1. A legal commitment that England and Wales will enshrine in law the Government’s obligation to make all homes a minimum of EPC ‘C’ Rated as laid out in the Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill introduced by Lord Foster of Bath;

  2. What it calls “a serious approach” to compliance with existing Energy Performance of Buildings regulations in respect of EPC production on homes for sale or rent; 

  3. A requirement that potential homebuyers and tenants are provided by estate and letting agents or landlords, with an electronic or paper copy of the EPC on the property that they are intending buy or rent so that they can make an informed decision about the property on the basis that energy costs are generally the second highest cost of property ownership/occupancy after mortgage/rent costs;

  4. An EPC to be available before the property is listed to ensure that the property complies with the law from the start of the process;

  5. Bringing forward from 2025 the strengthening of Part L and F of the Building Regulations that set out the minimum energy performance of new homes, and time limiting the effect of historic Building Regulations in properties where construction has not yet commenced; 

  6. The validity of EPCs to be reduced from 10 years to five years so that the energy efficiency information on which property owners/occupiers rely, and on which so many government schemes depend, is more current and relevant.;

  7. Allow schemes to access useful data from the government owned EPC register which will make quality assurance more effective.

And Parkin adds:  ‘We truly welcome the recent announcements by government that set out how the UK will address reduction in carbon emissions, and have no doubt about the Government’s firm intent that the energy performance of buildings will play a vital part in delivering to that objective. 

“However, there are some relatively simple and effective measures that the government could take now which would have a tremendous impact in the much shorter term and improve the quality of home occupancy for so many people, and save them money, whilst delivering reduced carbon emissions."

  • jeremy clarke

    Whilst we are in cuckoo land, why not make the occupiers of the property responsible and liable for making the property energy efficient? In some areas property stock is of an age that the cost would be prohibitive for landlords, another crackpot idea!

  • SCN Lettings

    Another nail in the coffin of the PRS. More and more regulation, increased tax and a government that demonises landlords and agents to win votes. Very soon there will be no landlords left. Where will the displaced tenants all live? Answers on a postage stamp to Generation Nowhere To Rent or that other bastion of left wing anti property owning dogma, Shelter. Who don't actually shelter anybody.

    Kristjan Byfield

    With an EPC typically costing around £50- I don't see that cost escalating from (the equivalent of) £5 a year to £10 a year a major issue. As with most regulation, it's not about ramping it up but increasing awareness- I can think of only twice we have had someone ask about an EPC rating. The array of changes in the last decade has barley impacted the 2m landlords (in volume).

     
  • Matthew Payne

    They missed out having defined standards of execution and training for its members, so that the EPCs have a standardisation they currently lack that can be relied upon, and the guesswork that exists in far too many is removed. Some assessors cant even be bothered to slide open a loft hatch. Difficult to get buy in from stakeholders on more signficant changes when the foundations are built on standards lilke that.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Totally agree- the technical quality and therefore reliability of EPCs need to be improved before making any other changes. Until these can be relied upon they mean little to nothing. A good idea might be to include the last 5 years of energy usage (gas & elec) with an average with a clear disclaimer/notice if major improvements works have been made.

     
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    The government is entirely at fault here. The qualification to become an Energy Assessor can be gained within a week, even by someone who wouldn’t know a maisonette from a Mercedes. It should be much harder to qualify and the training should be more rigorous.

     
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    Kristjan is right that the cost of £10 from the previous £5 per year is of no consequence to LL In the great scheme of things, but the opinion that what the Government has planned is going to be ‘another nail in the coffin of the PRS’ needs to be shared with Westminster. The reduction in the length of validity for an EPC is a minor point in comparison with a proposed minimum band rating for rental of C and the £10K spend that LL will be required to shell out for each property In order to comply.

    I urge everyone to make a response to the current PRS consultation which ends on 31st December 2020. There are 30 questions to which a reply can be made, but some of these are repetitive and others can be answered with ‘I do not have an opinion on this point’ which means the process can be seen off in a few minutes.

    A large number of responses explaining to the cloistered people at BEIS what the consequences of their proposed actions are likely to be can’t do any harm and might - just might - actually make a difference.

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    EPC altered so a property which had a B is now a C.
    Is energy costs indexed linked and changing from gas boilers will increase energy costs.
    Older properties solid walls and concrete floors will be hard to get a C
    When a tenant is in a property and it fails on EPC, so is no longer allowed to be rented how do we remove the tenant?
    Section 21 will be long gone, then Shelter, acorn and generation rent will be attacking the landlord
    Often its the cheaper rents which have a lower EPC.
    So expect the cheaper properties to disappear.
    I would say council tax is the 2nd biggest cost expected to rise, and Energy costs are 3rd on list.
    Even when councils couldn't raise the council tax they used back door to start charging for green waste collections

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