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What is an EPC & how do you get one in Scotland?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legally valid document which specifies an energy efficiency rating (displayed on an A to G scale) in relation to a property’s running costs, with A being the highest level of efficiency and G the lowest. The rating takes into account the potential energy performance of the property itself (the fabric) and its services (heating, lighting, hot water etc).
If you require an EPC, you must contact a member of an approved organisation (AO). These organisations have been chosen because their members have the skills and expertise needed to produce an EPC and they can make suitable recommendations for improving the building's energy efficiency.
Components of an EPC
Basically, an EPC gives information on how energy efficient a building is and how it could be improved. In addition to this, an EPC document will also show:
- The breakdown of a property’s energy performance
- Its environmental impact
- Recommendations for improvements
- Estimated energy use alongside potential savings
An EPCs assessment includes the evaluation of a variety of factors including a building's features, lighting, heating, windows and floor plan. It is worthwhile noting that energy efficiency ratings use ‘standard occupancy’ assumptions (typically two adults and two children) which may be very different from the way in which occupiers actually use heating and lighting in their home.
An EPC is required whenever a property is marketed for sale or rent or is newly built.
It's the law in Scotland to have the EPC 'affixed' to the building and building standards guidance suggests this should be in the boiler or meter cupboard.
How long is an EPC valid for?
An EPC is valid for a decade. After 10 years you will be required to update an EPC for a new sale or tenancy, and it is recommended that a property's EPC should be made available to potential buyers as soon as it is marketed for sale or rent.
You may also want to update an EPC if you make improvements to a building. Particularly if you sell or rent out the building after improvements have been made. This means potential buyers and tenants get the most up-to-date information.
Buildings Exempt from an EPC
There are certain types of buildings that do not need an EPC. These are:
- Standalone buildings (other than homes) with a useful floor area of less than 50 square metres
- Temporary buildings which are planned to be used for 2 years or less
- Buildings with a low energy demand (non-residential agricultural buildings or workshops)
- Buildings sold to be demolished
- Places of worship. (Listed and historic buildings need an EPC if sold or rented out in Scotland)
If you sell or rent a property in Scotland and you do not provide an EPC or include the building's energy rating if you are advertising it, you could be fined a minimum of £500.
How to obtain an EPC in Scotland
The EPC Register
You can quickly find an AO (approved organisation) assessor who works in your local area via the Scottish EPC register. If you want to check if a building has an EPC, you can search the register by entering either the building's postcode or Report Reference Number (the 16-digit number shown on the top right-hand corner of an EPC).
EPC Legislative Developments
From 1 April 2022, private rented properties in Scotland will require an EPC of at least band D when a new tenancy starts, and by a backstop date of 31 March 2025, all private rented properties with an EPC will need to meet this standard.
More information regarding private rented sector regulations can be found on the Scottish Government website.
From 1 October 2022, all short-term let accommodation will need a licence, unless specifically excluded. This is issued by your Local Authority and ensures there is a mandatory set of standards that apply to all short-term lets across Scotland.
The licence is a legal obligation, even if hosts occasionally let out a spare room or sub-let while on holiday for example. Existing hosts (those that have received guests before 1 October 2022) have until 1 April 2023* to apply for this licence.
Hosts can continue to offer lets until their application has been determined. From 1 October 2022 all new hosts need to apply for, and obtain, a licence before they accept bookings and welcome guests. *Subject to Scottish Parliament approval (decision expected early 2023), this date will be extended to 1 October 2023. Further details on this legislation can be found here.
If you're not happy with your EPC rating and think the information in it is wrong, you must contact the assessor who produced the EPC. Their contact details will be on the recommendations report.
If you cannot resolve the issue with your assessor, contact the scheme manager of the AO that the assessor belongs to. If the AO cannot help with your issue, you should then contact the Building Standards Division. You can call them on 0131 244 6511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requesting an EPC from Allied Surveyors Scotland
At Allied Surveyors, we are more than happy to provide standalone EPCs to individuals renting out their property in Scotland. You can get in touch with Head Office here for more information.
If you are selling your property, the EPC is included in the Home Report, which is required, by law prior to marketing the property. Please click here to request a Home Report.