A million rental properties across England and Wales have no Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), with tens of thousands of landlords breaking the law, according to a report.
An EPC provides ratings to indicate the relative energy performance and environmental impact of a property, and since the Energy Performance of Buildings 2012 Act, all properties marketed to let in England and Wales must have an EPC in place.
Approximately 37% of housing stock is rented (17% social, 20% private), indicating around 7.98 million properties in England are rented and require an EPC.
However, research conducted by housing tech firm Spec estimate there are only 6.3 million lodged EPCs for rentals, indicating that there are around 1 million properties being rented without EPCs illegally.
The report also found that a total of 15%, or 2.5 million, have incorrect EPCs with Domestic Energy Assessors giving homes a higher score than they should receive due to floor measurement techniques.
From 1st April 2020 all domestic rented properties must have an E rating or higher, regardless of tenancy status.
If a residential property is found to be below standard, then fines up to a maximum of £5,000 can be levied for every 3 months the property remains below standard. Tenants cannot be evicted during this time on the grounds of failed EPC, neither can it be rented out again until it has been brought up to standard.
Landlords may also incur a ‘name and shame’ public penalty notice.
Spec’s senior advisor Antony Browne said: ‘Our study reveals that it’s not really a case of if your EPC is measured inaccurately, but how much it is measured inaccurately. Inaccurate EPCs present serious challenges and risks not only to property professionals, consumers and estate agents – but also the environment.
‘It means tens of thousands of landlords are unwittingly renting out their properties, opening them up to the risk of fines of thousands of pounds through no fault of their own.
‘Measuring the energy efficiency of buildings accurately is essential in limiting their environmental impact and tackling the bigger global issue of climate change. If you are not measuring the problem properly, you won’t tackle it effectively.’
Speaking to Environment Journal, Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: ‘As the EPC rating system relies on the information provided by assessors, it can be quite subjective.
‘If an assessor is unable to see that there is insulation between the walls, they can either assume it’s there, or assume it’s not. This can lead to very different ratings.
‘Similarly, if a landlord has had work done, such as to double glaze the windows or replace insulation, that can also lead to a change in ratings at their next assessment. However, that may not happen immediately.
‘In saying that, having an EPC is better than not having one, and we encourage all landlords who either need to get one or need to update theirs to do so as soon as possible.’
Read the report here.