EPCs are valid for 10 years before requiring renewal for the purposes of rental or sales. Many EPCs are now 10 years old, given that the launch of the EPC was back in 2007. We sometimes get people querying their new rating as it is lower than the one they received 10 years ago, and in this blog we want to try and explain why this is the case.
How has the EPC changed?
Over the years, the methodology for how the EPC is carried out has changed a little. Mostly these are minor changes in the appearance of the report and in how some of the measurements are carried out. For example, the thickness of the gap between panes in double glazing is now measured, and the amount of partition wall and its insulation is also logged. Most of these changes will make very little difference to the EPC score, perhaps a minor change of 1 or 2 points.
Much more crucial than this is the fact that the numbers used in the EPC software have changed. Over the past few years, there has been periodic tightening of the building regulations. This means what was considered a suitable level of insulation 10 years ago is no longer. The software has been updated to reflect this, so that a B-rating 10 years ago may only be a C-rating now. There have also been some adjustments to how certain technologies are weighted, according to newly available information.
Before we continue, we should make it clear that once the certificate has been issued, it will not change. The certificate has its rating fixed, and any changes to the methodology will only affect new EPCs going forward.
What does this mean for you? Should you get a new EPC?
If your EPC rating will drop, is it a good idea to get another one done? The answer is always going to be yes, for several really good reasons:
- You need an in-date EPC to be able to rent or sell the property, so you are going to have to get one anyway.
- When you get the EPC, it will be valid for the next 10 years – so if you do get an E rating or above, you are covered from any changes in the calculation method of the EPC for at least that time.
- If you still have some time before the old EPC expires, the new one doesn’t need to be lodged. We can carry out the survey, let you know the rating, and (if it has dropped below an E), hold off on issuing the certificate until necessary. This will ensure you know exactly where you stand without committing to lodging the EPC.
It really does make sense to get the EPC done. We have plenty of landlords asking us to block-book their properties to ensure they know which properties require improvement, in good time prior to the new MEES regulations coming into force next year. So don’t delay; book your property in today!