It seems fair to say that most clients we’ve carried out surveys for in the Thanet towns of Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs or Birchington have had no reason to question how their EPC has been calculated or whether it was accurate.
From the viewpoint of a Landlord about to rent their house or flat, it’s been reasonable for them to assume – particularly as EPCs have had minimum impact to date – that accuracy might not matter.
But things are about to change. The EPC was always planned to have a long term impact on energy efficiency and The Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, has decided to start tackling the worst performing properties: those rental homes with EPC ratings of F and G.
After 2016, it will be an offence to re-let a property with an F or G rating, meaning that poor accuracy within a 10 year EPC produced today could lead to a financial penalty for the landlord in a few years time.
A number of other changes are likely to have a combined effect. The regulations that govern EPCs have been looked at again and some loopholes closed. The whole EPC – rather than just the coloured graph – will soon need be made available with the property particulars. Some landlords and tenants have not previously been aware there were 6 pages to the EPC and that it shows indicative heating costs of the property based on the accuracy of the energy assessor’s data. Neither are some aware it contains independent advice.
Poor quality energy assessment could run the risk of making a property look expensive to live in. From some assessors point of view, the low fees paid to them by the national chains they work for means they need to rush through the survey to make their low fee pay and are unlikely to have time for the desk based study to discover the remaining information, such as boiler efficiencies or planning histories from the local authority.
The EPC was always intended to be a measure of efficiency – a starting point. In energy efficiency the principle is that you need to first measure before you can reduce.
And if we are going to measure – let’s make sure it’s accurate.