Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that the rental market improves and maintains energy efficiency in the UK.
The Government is continuously shifting the goalposts amid a climate emergency that will only get more critical by the year. This can make it hard for landlords to avoid scoring own goals and putting themselves at risk of penalties, such as fines for non-compliance.
In this guide for landlords, we’ll help you understand current EPC regulations, look out for any upcoming changes to legislation, and help you stay on the right side of the rules.
The current EPC requirements for landlords
EPC requirements in Scotland
EPC requirements in Northern Ireland
Current minimum standards for landlords
How to get an EPC
How long EPCs last
New regulations coming in 2025
EPC regulations and requirements
UK landlords are legally responsible for maintaining a valid EPC in their properties and ensuring they meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). This is an important part of a landlord’s obligations.
This is because EPC requirements were changed for landlords in 2018 through the introduction of a minimum rating of ‘E’ or above for all new tenancies.
New updates were announced by the Government in 2021 that made changes to the legally enforceable MEES in England and Wales. The changes established that from 2025 all rental properties would need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above. Plans were also outlined for similar requirements for all tenancies by 2028.
The purpose was to make a greater number of homes in the rental market more energy-efficient to meet the Government’s net-zero carbon target by 2050.
We’ll explore in more detail how these proposed regulations have since evolved and what landlords need to do to be in line with the law.
What are the current EPC requirements for landlords and rental properties?
Currently, the minimum grade of E relates to all properties not just those where new tenancies are starting.
Since October 2008, all rental properties in the UK have required an EPC. Then a decade later in April 2018, the MEES came into force, meaning all rental properties in England and Wales currently need an energy performance certificate rating of E at a minimum.
From April 2020 MEES applied to all tenancies not just newly established tenancies.
If you have a property with an energy performance rating of below E it cannot be legally let unless under certain circumstances.
What are the EPC requirements for rented homes in Scotland?
The same is true for Scotland as England and Wales. Rental properties must have a rating of E or above or cannot legally be let.
What are the EPC requirements for NI?
In Northern Ireland, EPCs are a requirement for anyone who sells or rents out a property, however, there is no minimum standard.
Landlords can be fined £200 if they do not have an energy performance certificate.
What does MEES stand for?
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are the minimum standards landlords must abide by, or be breaking the law.
MEES was established by the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations (2018) which set out the minimum energy performance rating for rented properties.
The following rental property types must comply with MEES:
A regulated tenancy
A domestic agricultural tenancy.
Also, in most circumstances when a rental property has been marketed for sale or let or modified in the last decade an EPC will probably be required.
If your property rates between F and G you will need to start action to secure a rating of E or higher. If your property is not any of the above tenancy types and you haven’t marketed, sold, or modified your property in the last 10 years you won’t need to improve your energy rating, you can still let it with a rating of F or G.
Read the Government’s guidance for more information on how to remain compliant with the Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency standard.
How do I get a landlord’s EPC?
To get an EPC you need to have your rental property assessed.
You’ll need to ensure an accredited assessor rates your home. After they have assessed the property, they will give you a digital copy of the certificate with the rating you achieve and you can choose to print it if you want to display it in the property, or keep it as a paper record.
The costs of the assessment will vary according to the size of the property and the assessor.
After finding an assessor you will need to contact them directly to book an assessment and confirm they are a member of an accredited scheme.
Do I need to renew an EPC during a tenancy?
The current regulations initially were only enforceable on new lets and tenancy renewals. Now all rental properties, except those mentioned above that are excluded need to have a minimum energy performance certificate rating of E or higher.
When a certificate was secured for new tenants and expired during a tenant’s stay at a property it doesn’t need to be renewed. As per the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, a property only requires a valid EPC when it is marketed to new tenants.
So, if a certificate expires during a tenancy and a tenant’s contract ends a landlord will need to renew the EPC rating before putting an ad online or at an estate agent to attract a replacement tenant.
How long does an EPC last?
Landlords must renew their EPC every ten years, or when their certificate expires. As mentioned, if the certificate expires when a property is full of tenants it does not need to be renewed.
Landlords may want to update their certificate before it expires in some circumstances. These include when they make positive changes to the energy efficiency of a property, such as updating boilers or insulation – this is because a high rating can make a property more marketable in the future. The quicker you update your certificate the quicker you can bring in new tenants when energy efficiency is a major selling point for them.
Can landlords be fined for not having an EPC?
Yes, landlords can be fined between £500-£30,000 for not having an EPC or for not complying with MEES band E.
The level of the fine will depend on the type of breach and how long it lasted.
Do I need tenant permission for an EPC assessment?
Landlords are required to give tenants at least 24 hours’ written notice before an EPC assessment is due to take place.
The only exception to this rule is an emergency.
It is also important to respect tenant’s privacy and if possible, arrange the assessment at a suitable time for tenants so as not to disrupt their personal life.
Do I need to give tenants a copy of the EPC?
All tenants must be provided with a copy of the properties’ EPC when they move in.
Tenants can also find out their property’s EPC rating by looking it up on the Government Energy Performance of Buildings Register.
Are there new EPC regulations coming in 2025?
You might have heard rumblings that the Government was planning to overhaul energy efficiency targets for landlords in England and Wales from 2025.
A Government proposal planned that new tenancies could only begin in a property with an EPC rating of C or above. It would ramp that up in 2028 by extending the rule to all tenancies.
In September 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the proposals were being scrapped.
However, with a general election no later than January 2025 it might still prove prudent for landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties sooner rather than later. This is because the shadow secretary for climate change Ed Miliband, has suggested that landlords should improve their energy efficiency rating between the A-C grades.
If Labour wins the general election the previous suggestions could come back into play or become even more stringent on landlords.
Stay on the right side of energy performance legislation
With the Government’s net zero by 2050 pledge political will is constantly moving towards energy-efficient policies and if a Labour Government gets in things will only ramp up. That’s why landlords need to stay on top of their ever-evolving responsibilities.
Our landlord and tenant solicitors can help you ensure you are compliant with energy performance legislation.
For further advice on landlord responsibilities for rental properties, contact our legal assessment team today.