Every landlord is required to possess an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) reform, except for a few specific cases. As someone who writes about properties, and is a landlord, I strive to comprehend all perspectives. However, many landlords find the process itself confusing, along with the recommendations for enhancing their property’s rating. Moreover, there are conflicting messages circulating regarding the anticipated changes to EPC regulations.
Let’s address these changes. Numerous sources claim that achieving a Grade C rating by 2025 is mandatory, but that is incorrect. It is a proposed alteration that currently only applies to new tenancies and might be postponed until 2028 or even later. At that point, it’s plausible that existing tenancies will also require a Grade C rating. However, in essence, nobody can predict the decisions the Government will ultimately make.
The utilization of technology in determining an EPC score is worth mentioning. A Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) conducts a property visit, collects data, and feeds it into an algorithm, which then produces a result. To prevent any biases, the DEA does not personally calculate the score.
However, the accuracy of the data input is crucial. Based on my experience as both a landlord and a certified DEA, there are instances where the data is incorrect.
Before visiting a property, I review the previous EPC, and occasionally, I encounter significant disparities. For example, a flat might be mistakenly labeled as a top floor when it is actually situated on a mid floor. This inaccuracy would negatively impact the score.
This implies that the individual who commissioned the EPC did not adequately review the completed certificate. If they had, they could have contacted the assessor, whose contact information is always provided in the report, and requested corrections. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly examine the information provided.
Another issue is that the system does not consider the specific usage patterns of the dwelling. It relies on assumptions based on the property’s size and the number of bedrooms, without taking into account occupancy figures. Furthermore, it assumes that most of the space is heated throughout the majority of the day.
Additionally, there is a newly introduced professional known as a Retrofit Assessor. Although I’m not personally trained in this role, I have observed the training process, which extensively covers building physics. Retrofit Assessors are more expensive to engage compared to DEAs, but they provide excellent and detailed individualized recommendations, as well as assistance with arranging installations.
Furthermore, it is crucial for the Government to offer landlords additional grants and prioritize the training of a larger number of installers, as the current availability is insufficient.
Let’s conclude with some quick tips to achieve a good EPC score: Prioritize thorough insulation before considering the installation of heat pumps; avoid switching from gas to electric boilers; when replacing a boiler, consider opting for a hydrogen-ready model; if your property relies solely on electricity, explore the usage of modern High Heat Retention storage heaters, which are significantly better than older models.
Lastly, if you are having insulation installed, remember to document the process with photographs and measurements of the depth. Once the insulation is covered up, it becomes invisible to us, and accessing the roof space may require a ladder. Despite our many skills, unfortunately, we cannot read minds or defy gravity!