EPCs are ignored by everyone, says consumer champion

EPCs are ignored by everyone, says consumer champion

18:16 PM, 2nd March 2011, About 12 years ago 15

Text Size

Energy Performance Certificates are a waste of time and money because no one acts on the advice, according to a consumer watchdog.

Landlords have to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) by law when advertising a property to let – but they rarely act on the recommendations and tenants are cool on looking at the information when choosing a home to let.

Consumer Focus found 80% of people renting or buying a home failed to act on any of the advice aimed at making their homes more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

The survey also revealed only one in five people who had an EPC said it had any influence on their decision to buy or rent the property – but amazingly, when asked what features in a new home were most important to them, apart from price and size, one in seven people said energy efficiency mattered most.

Tenants urged to shop landlords without EPCs

Recent government figures show that carbon emissions coming from Britain’s homes are still at almost the same level as 20 years ago, having fallen just 3% between 1990 and 2009.

Liz Lainé, energy expert at Consumer Focus, said: Our survey shows that energy efficiency can influence people when choosing a new home. The information in the EPC is not helping people act on those concerns. With the Green Deal just around the corner, these certificates must become a trigger for action, not just a sheet at the bottom of a huge pile of home-buying paperwork.

‘Too many landlords and estate agents are getting away with selling and renting properties to people who have no idea how much heat their new home will leak. If prospective buyers and tenants could easily compare how much their energy bills are likely to be in different properties, they could negotiate a price based on their new home’s energy efficiency.”

Consumer Focus is also urging tenants to report landlords renting property without an EPC to Consumer Direct.

Share This Article


14:24 PM, 20th March 2011, About 12 years ago

The EPC does come with a list of recommendations on how to improve your energy rating. But - it doesn't seem to have enough options. As I mentioned above, a first floor maisonette effectively has underfloor heating if the ground floor is occupied. This has a bigger impact on energy costs than changing a few light bulbs but is not taken into account. Our maisonette is so well-insulated that we have to keep reminding the tenants to open a window occasionally to prevent problems from condensation but not according to the EPC!

0:50 AM, 21st March 2011, About 12 years ago

Penny, The EPC does take into account the fact that a heated dwelling is below. The EPC does need to be improved, but without eduction sadly, as it seems, its being ignored by most. I spend time explaining the EPC when i carry out a survey, in the future i hope more will realise the benefits and the information in the EPC will be seen as more than just a graph.

This is a good site to look at http://forum.housingenergyadvisor.com/

11:00 AM, 21st March 2011, About 12 years ago

Thanks for that, Dave, but it didn't mention it anywhere on the EPC and we got a pretty poor rating which, I think, gave a misleading view of the property's energy efficiency. You're right about education tho', most people see it as just another meaningless piece of bureaucracy.

16:23 PM, 21st March 2011, About 12 years ago

Penny, the EPC should say - Floor - (other premises below). This should take into account heated or unheated space below and reflects this in the calculation. Look at this guide http://inspectyourenergy.co.uk/resources/ep07_information_about_epcs.29.04.09.v001.pdf


13:10 PM, 21st June 2011, About 12 years ago

Tenants are in absolutely no position to "bargain" on rents in response to a poor EPC at the moment. The rental market is red hot and landlords are virtually naming their rental price. Agents and landlords also know that the EPC comes very low down in people's priorities compared to the attractiveness of the level of rent, the property's location, its quietness, its facilities, amount of light and decor, and so on. I am both a landlord and a tenant, and I know if I had to choose between an ugly, well-insulated modern property with small rooms and small double-glazed windows (hence the good energy rating) and an attractive, character Victorian-era house with single-glazed sashes, decent room sizes and ceiling heights, I would choose the Victorian house every time. I would prefer to live in a draughty house with some personality and be cold or pay higher bills, over a modern tightly-sealed box which places energy-saving over everything else.

As a landlord, I know tenants never, ever read the EPC. As a tenant, I never read the EPC either, because it doesn't tell me anything I can't see with my own eyes.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now