Date Published 09 February 2022
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and the mysterious case of the fake news!
It's very rare that we need to get tapping on the keyboard about fake news, but we felt that we needed to make mention of a rumour that's doing the rounds which may cause some landlords to have a little panic and might even cause tenants to prick their ears up.
So what's all the hoo-haa about? Landlords and tenants – listen up!
For some reason there's some information flying about out there somewhere that states that landlords in England and Wales must up their game as regards their EPCs by the end of 2025 and get them all to at least a Band C.
This is not true.
Phew! Thank goodness for that!
Well, not yet anyway. But, in some ways, we can see how the seed has been sown and has then been blown a bit out of proportion.
At the time of writing (February 2022), the minimum requirement for EPCs is a grading of Band E. Nothing to panic about there then. But – the rumblings are, that starting from the last day of 2025 (we don't know why they didn't just say 1st Jan 2026!), newly rented properties will need to be Band C or above! AND … existing tenancies would need to comply by 2028. Now, 31st December 2025 may sound like a long way off, but it's less than four years.
So where did all this come from?
Look online and you won't find any legislation on this. That's because none has been passed by Parliament yet.
However, there is a bill that's being put forward called the ‘Minimum Energy performance of Buildings (No.2) Bill'. This is where the rumours about the Band C started. Make no mistake, it is not yet law. It has not yet been passed, and it still has quite a journey to do before it does. It may not pass! Who knows?
So now you can see why and how the rumours have started, and ok, maybe we were being a bit dramatic calling it fake news, but that's what it is at the moment. Once it's been passed, then it becomes news and we'll be here to tell you about it.
I'm a landlord – do I need to do anything?
We would simply suggest that you look at your current EPCs as they will give you a brief outline as to what measures you can take to improve your banding. You may already have a long-term plan to do improvements anyway, but if you haven't it would be wise to quickly assess if you need to do anything if the bill does pass.
There's plenty of time, so ‘forewarned is forearmed' as they say.
Here are a few ideas:
• A quick and easy one is to make sure as many light fittings as possible have LED bulbs in them, or at least energy saving ones.
• Check loft insulation is bang up to date as regards depth.
• For bigger jobs, or if you have very old properties that are hard to update, check to see if there are any grants or incentives that you can access, especially for the replacement of older boilers or single glazing.
I'm a tenant – do I need to do anything?
You should have a copy of the EPC for your home so it would be a good idea to have a quick look. It should be at least a Band E. The EPC is not your responsibility, but you may want to ask the landlord if any major works will be needed if the bill is passed. If you anticipate still living there when work needs to be done, you'll need to have good communication and cooperation if large jobs like windows or heating systems need upgrading. It's also in your interest to have an energy efficient home to help keep those pesky bills down.
Don't forget, that as with any law, there are often exemptions, and the government will be wary about bringing in very strict rules that mean the removal of properties from the rental market.
The main thing we wanted to say here is ‘don't panic' if you hear that ‘it's law'. It isn't law, not yet anyway. If it passes, time will be given for updates to be made.
Panic may abound elsewhere, but don't be taken in by reporting that says you need to take urgent action right NOW. You can rest assured – we'll let you know when things need to change!
Credit: Property investment project.