EPC inaccuracies could leave properties let illegally

by Property 118

14:17 PM, 10th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

EPC inaccuracies could leave properties let illegally

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EPC inaccuracies could leave properties let illegally

A recent study exploring the risks and impacts on the reliability of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) has uncovered a staggering amount of properties across the UK may be unwittingly let illegally. An extensive study using Spec technology has estimated that poor measurement standards currently used by the property sector has led to approximately 2.5 million EPCs being inaccurately rated.

The report, entitled, Impacts of Inaccurate Area Measurement on EPC Grades explores how outdated techniques to measure floor space can have a significant impact on the accuracy of EPCs.

According to the study, 1 in 4 EPCs are mismeasured by at least 10% of their size. It also indicated that 1 in 4 property measurement reports are out by at least 100 Sq Ft, meaning there could be serious consequences on the validity of EPC ratings across the country.

With an estimated one million properties that require an EPC to be legally let in the UK, approximately 33,000 E-rated properties are thought to be incorrectly rated, and therefore being let illegally.

The incorrect measurements leading to miscalculated EPC ratings also result in inflated mortgages or under insured houses, affecting owners’ ability to qualify for ‘green mortgages’, that financially benefit those with better performing properties.

James D Marshall, Founder and CEO at Spec said: “With the growing importance of EPCs, financially, legally and environmentally, it is crucial for owners to be aware of the effects that inaccurate property measurements could have on their EPC ratings. A property’s energy efficiency rating ranges from A-G, with G being the worst possible rating.

“We know that the Government hopes to have homes in the private rented sector, and all fuel-poor homes, to be upgraded to EPC band C by 2030 under its Clean Growth Strategy. However this target currently remains fanciful due to the inaccurate measurements set in place.

“It’s also clear that property professionals must very carefully consider what services and systems their business is using. Properties being marketed with inaccurate EPCs are a legal liability both to the agents marketing them and the owners or landlord renting them,” he said.



Comments

John Dace

8:59 AM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Its also the farcical conclusions EPCs come to. I have flats which EPCs state by doing XY&Z - bills will reduce by X amount. This potential saving is more than the actual typical bills! The maths and assumptions used in working out ratings is miles out and not fit for purpose. Yet we are all still legally required to pay for them and Tenants ignore them. As the requirements over time get hiked up this will all become an even bigger headache. I wonder what the net value is of all this when you take into account things like offices and all the training centres and hundreds of EPC experts driving around all over the country?

Gunga Din

10:10 AM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Are landlords presented with an E rated certificate expected to assume its an F and act accordingly? How strange that a LL's subjective suspicion is expected to override that of a trained and qualified EPC assessor. Surely the liability is with the latter.

I have a Victorian terrace with three flats, each with its own EPC. One day I noticed another entry on the register, for the whole building. It was a masterpiece of fiction and I suspect it was based on a glance at google earth streetview because clearly no survey had taken place. It coincided with a remortgage application so I suspect the bank commissioned it, and of course the name, company or phone number of the "assessor" were all dead ends. The bank denied responsibility and it took much effort to get the fictional report removed from the register.
I suspect that report justified the bank's under-valuation and consequent higher interest rate.

Luke P

11:35 AM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 11/07/2019 - 10:10
Who the hell is gonna check your property is 'illegal'? Even if an assessor could gain access, how do we know they 'new' assessor is any better than the previous one that allegedly got it wrong?

What this will mean, however, is when it comes to renewal and all the standards have been tightened/assessor retrained, there will be far less property available to rent as more houses fail to meet the minimum standard and the upgrades are cost-prohibitive.

Gunga Din

11:45 AM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

And when assessors start being persecuted/prosecuted, they will assess even more critically so as to cover their behinds.

Darren Peters

14:09 PM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

“It’s also clear that property professionals must very carefully consider what services and systems their business is using. Properties being marketed with inaccurate EPCs are a legal liability both to the agents marketing them and the owners or landlord renting them,” he said.

By that logic it's also the landlord's responsibility if the Gas Certificate or electrical certificate has incorrect information. Clearly landlords are expected to be more expert than the experts they _pay_ to give expert assessments while simultaneously not being expert enough to self-assess.

Jireh Homes

15:18 PM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

May I challenge some of the statements in the leading article.

The responsibility for the rating lies with the DEA (which if based on information from the owner - might be inaccurate if not verified), not the owner (or Letting Agent).

Whilst there may be discrepancies in measurement and other observations generally these should only have a small impact on the calculated rating (by a few points). So unless borderline on banding little concern.

However there is a real concern that properties with a current Band E rating may on renewal drop to a Band F due to a combination of changes in the RdSAP conventions and assessment software and/or a more accurate survey. Advice is that if current EPC Rating low in banding, instruct a new survey well before the MESS apply and work with your DEA to evaluate the best solutions to raise the rating. If the rating does drop down a Band, then fine not to lodge and continue to operate with current (higher) EPC.

I believe that for an assessment to be lodged on the Central Registers (for each country within the UK) the DEA has to be registered with an Accreditation Body, with the affiliation noted on the EPC. Quite how the example from Gunga Din slipped through is a mystery, but generally an easy process to check and challenge.

Allan

Mike T

19:50 PM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jireh Homes at 11/07/2019 - 15:18
I would also ask; Who is Mr Marshall ? and 'Spec' ? Has the survey/report been verified ? Or is this just a bit of hype/hot air designed to give us Landlords more to worry about ?

MrConnie

20:22 PM, 11th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jireh Homes at 11/07/2019 - 15:18It may be that the DEA no longer practices or was struck off. I’m a DEA and we are regularly audited to assure quality standards. I do this full time and I always have at least one audit on the go at any one time. That’s not to say that some EPC’s are inaccurate; every time I do one we are supposed to check if an EPC already exists on the property, and when comparing my own assessment to the info from the previous EPC, some of the errors in not just square meterage, but also construction type, are shocking.

Michael Barnes

11:52 AM, 12th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

What a load of rowlocks.

If the EPC says LL can let, then LL can let. The law is based in the EPC, not on whether or not the EPC is accurate.

Mike T

9:28 AM, 13th July 2019
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 12/07/2019 - 11:52So right MB. We are complying with the requirements that's what counts. As Darren commented above, we pay the various professionals (experts) to carry out the inspections as required by law - end of story (?)
Of course the EPC inspections have some interesting anomalies i.e If you go round changing all the light bulbs to LED's , put timers on heating appliances, draught excluding strip on windows and doors etc. it normally results in a more favourable rating. Whilst I agree to raising property standards generally, I have never had a tenant question the EPC rating , Nor have I when selling properties have I had a buyer do likewise. Sometimes I do question the value of the EPC....

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