There can be confusion as to what actually constitutes a domestic EPC and when you might need a commercial EPC on your property even though it is being used as a dwelling. Here we are going to try and give a definitive explanation of the differences in the context of dwellings.
Renting individual rooms
If your property has individual rooms that are being rented out, the key thing is going to be whether each room is a self-contained unit. That means, is the room you are renting a unit with its own kitchen and bathroom, or is it simply a room with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities?
If you have a self-contained unit, then each one of those units is going to need a domestic EPC. If you have a property with several rooms being rented out and shared amenities, then you will need a commercial certificate.
Why? Well it seems that the regulations tend to treat the latter as a business, and therefore a commercial property, even though the local council may have designated the property as domestic and not a hotel or bed and breakfast, for instance.
Why a commercial EPC for a dwelling?
It may seem a little odd to do a commercial EPC for a domestic property, but there is a good reason behind this. The RdSAP software is extremely restrictive in the way it models a property, and it has been concluded by the powers that be that it does not model shared dwellings particularly well. The non-domestic software is a lot more detailed, and can model a much wider variety of buildings – meaning that it can produce a much better representation of this sort of dwelling than the domestic software.
What does this mean for you?
As a landlord or agent, that means you will need to pay a little more and get a non-domestic EPC performed rather than a standard domestic certificate. Cost wise, you are looking at £120 upward for a commercial certificate, where you may only be paying £50 for a domestic. It may be a little frustrating, but it is better to get the right certificate as you don’t want any problems with you sale or letting later on. You may find a rogue assessor willing to try and pass the building off as a domestic property, but they are likely to get found out at the audit stage, meaning your EPC could be cancelled without warning, and you will probably need to pay for a commercial certificate down the road anyway.
Feed-in Tariff payments and shared spaces
Another situation that we see on occasion is where a block of flats or set of apartments has had solar PV installed or another renewable, and the owner is looking to claim the feed-in tariff payment. For the majority of properties, a PV system is only hooked up to a specific property and a domestic certificate is fine to claim the tariff. If, however, the PV is hooked up to the lighting or heating in a shared space like a corridor or stairwell, then a commercial certificate will be required for this specific space in order to claim the tariff. This may seem a little odd because you will end up with EPCs for stairwells and corridors, in some cases only a few meters each. This is simply a quirk of the system unfortunately – if your small corridor has a rating of E or lower, it could cause some problems claiming your feed in tariff at the full rate.
What kind of EPC do I need?
If you are in any doubt about your property and which type of EPC you need, you should give us a call. We can refer your specific query direct to our accreditation body, who can give you a definitive answer as to the EPC you need.