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Tenants ignoring Energy Performance Certificates

Many tenants are unaware of the law, and even if a property receives a low grade, it does not seem to affect whether a tenant will want to live in a property. Given that the average efficiency grade is "D", at the lower end of the scale, it seems that EPCs have a limited influence on a tenant’s choice of property.

An EPC is valid for 10 years. Landlords do not have to register a new EPC each time a new tenancy starts but they are required to give a copy of the EPC to new tenants.

Sussanne Chambers, a director of the NLA, said: "It seems many landlords are left wondering about the effectiveness of an EPC.

"What has become apparent is that tenants don’t seem to be interested in them, or use them as a deciding factor in choosing a rental property. As always, it is the responsible landlords who have commissioned EPCs and for whom they are now part and parcel of their lettings business."

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7 thoughts on “Tenants ignoring Energy Performance Certificates

  1. Major Landlord says:

    Susanne Chambers is being too nice by far. Like so many measures that have come out of this government, particularly in relation to housing, EPCs are a total waste of time and money. They are just a job-creation scheme, and a closet tax on landlords.

    All my properties undergo EPCs when advertised for new tenants. Yet, I have NEVER been asked by a prospective tenant to show them a copy , and when I do show them anyway, the usual response is “what’s that?” or “what a waste of your money”.

    I also know that the vast majority of landlords and many lettings agents don’t bother with EPCs. So, once again, I am being penalised for being honest and law-abiding.

    Roll on next May.

  2. Too many properties in the rented sector are below standard in accommodation and energy efficiency – I see this as I undertake surveys for EPCs – yes, I’m a DEA – don’t boo…!

    The Government & Local Authorities/Trading Standards have been absolutely pathetic and ineffective in their policy towards telling Landlords and Tenants about EPCs and following through with fines for non-compliance.

    I am constantly bad-mouthed by Landlords when I approach them about the need for EPCs. Is promotion of this legal requirement really MY responsibility?

    Landlords are missing out on the intended benefits arising to them from commissioning EPCs by THEMSELVES not promoting the advantages to the Tenant of renting THEIR property rather than the one down the road that is going to cost the Tenant more in energy costs. Make it a sales advantage, don’t shuffle feet and agree with tenant when they show ignorance of the EPC and say “yes it’s terrible all this paperwork…” & perpetuate the apathy. Be POSITIVE and USE it too your advantage!!

    You buy a car with an MOT – silly if you don’t – you look for a service history. What about a house? And the MOT is a national fixed price (give or take) AND a legal requirement.

    Surely the responsible Landlord cannot avoid the growing and inevitable social concern about the cost of energy and the need to reduce it – if not on a personal level (& business basis) but as a member of our society concerned for the future? Putting aside talk of Global warming etc – energy cost money!

    And Landlords can get Grants. The Government is going to give access to the Carbon Trust to EPCs so that they can ‘target’ owners of properties with F and below ratings with energy use and reduction advice. With a hope that this information is not used by commercial companies to pester people to buy their products, this can only be good for raising the quality of the housing stock.

    The EPC last 10 years, so at (say) £50 a pop that £5/year – a couple of pints! Talk of a closet tax? Some Landlords lose all sense of proportion when discussing costs!

    I believe that the DHSS should NOT provide housing benefit unless an EPC is produced and validated.

    THAT should stimulate discussion!

  3. dave says:

    EPC ‘s are based on comparisons of like propertys. So why do they bloody bother coming out to your property and giving you a rating that is not accurate when its based on comparisons of other propertys! The ‘estimated’ electricity costs were WRONG on my property! I keep all my bills, and their rating made my property look more expensive to run than it actualy is. How is this Fair? Also I was given a low rating and showed that it could not be improved much on this type of property.
    This is just going to give false information and slow the housing market down. Unless of course, you are selling a new property!

  4. Major Landlord says:

    Dear Mr Dead Duck,

    I read your response to my rant, and I don’t apologise for a single word.

    The trouble with everyone involved in the green movement (which I SUPPORT, by the way, but ONLY WHEN it makes sense), is that they never look at the WHOLE picture: just the little bit that supports their view, bolsters their profits, etc.

    EPCs make a series of recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency of your property. For example, one of my most recent EPCs helpfully tells me that my tenant could save £58 per year on heating if I install a new condensing boiler. What a bargain: the “payback” which will go in his pocket, not mine, will take only only 34 years. Unfortunately, most heating engineers will tell you the life expactancy of these new boilers is around 7 years. Never mind: all I have to do to save the planet is install 5 new boilers in 34 years at a cost of £10,000 (at today’s prices), and my tenant will save £2000 in the same 34 years. I will also rest easier in my bed in the knowledge that I have saved 0.6 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. QUESTION: HOW MUCH CARBON WILL I EMIT (AND HOW MUCH ENERGY WILL I WASTE) IN MAKING 5 NEW BOILERS TO REPLACE ONE PERFECTLY GOOD BOILERTHAT WILL PROBABLY STILL BE WORKING IN 34 YEAR’S TIME?

    PS: My tenant can also save £34 per year if I install double glazing. That will only cost me around £5000. Bargain!!!!

  5. Ian says:

    It was a goverment orchastrated fleese from the start, landlords have never spent so much as what they have to spend now! I have a 16year old worster boiler, its serviced every year, the windows are UPVC single glazed and the flat is fitted with a gas fire! What more does a tennant want solar pannels on the roof? I landed a £800 bill after the tennant moved……the rental was my home for 15 years and its great……… Epc GRRRRRRRRR

  6. Deadux Energy Assessments says:

    Picking up this thread after a few months….

    The whole point of the EPC (in case readers have missed this) is to standardise the data on dwellings so that a comparison of costs can be made and Tenants can make their decisions.

    Inevitably energy costs vary according to the owner’s life-style and use of his/her gas/electricity. So looking at past bills will give no indication whatsoever as to what a new Tenant/owner will spend when they take over the dwelling. If you look at bills for different properties, you are certainly NOT looking at ‘like-for-like’ and allowing the Tenant to make the judgement as to which property to rent. It is obvious (isn’t it?!) that the annual figures given in the EPC will NOT be those that a new Tenant will pay. BUT, given everything being equal, the EPC gives the energy efficiency of the PROPERTY not the LIFESTYLE/USE of the existing tenant/owner. THIS is what the prospective Tenant needs to know. They will then impose their own lifestyle/energy use on the property, which would be the same for which ever property they rent. The EPC provides a PROPORTIONAL assessment which can be made to inform the judgement as to which property to rent. We look at mpg (litre/kilometre, whatever) of cars and their maintenance costs etc before we buy. We disregard individual use of those cars (rapid braking, violent acceleration) which might mean one owner gets better/worse figures than the those advertised, and which we, as future drivers, may achieve. The government figures are guides. Why not with houses? There is some inertia in our conceptions that needs to be overcome.

    I regard to costs of repacement boilers etc, I cannot argue against the fact that payback periods can be very long and the Tenant does not bear that burden. But we buy cars that lose some 15% or more of their value as soon as they are driven out of the showroom, and continue to depreciate annually. We buy white goods (& generally everything else) that becomes worthless after a few years. We might complain about this (but who does, and writes Blogs bemoaning this situation?) but we accept it as part of the way society is organised and the economy works. We spend £thousands on holidays that are here and gone, with no concerns about payback. Clearly, and seriously, replacing a boiler isn’t going to save the planet, but it all will help in the end, if it is part of a concerted effort, supported by governments and society as a whole. Somethig that is, sadly, not taken as seriously as it might.

    Landlords provide a service in the market and there is a cost to doing this. As Tenants become more aware of energy costs, Landlords with efficient properties will benefit in that market place. Those who ignore the winds of change will find it difficult to rent their propery out (how many months with a property remaining empty, no rental income, pays for energy efficiency measures – especially with grants available?).

    Rateable values for energy-efficient properties might, in future, be reduced. More government grants might be introduced. Other measures might be introduced to encourage energy-efficiency. Energy costs will inevitably increase as resources become more scarce and more difficult to extract and use without causing further damage to the environment, and investment costs in new sustainable sources (which WILL be needed), are passed onto the consumer by the Providers.

    This is not just a ‘green’ agenda, it is serious stuff that effects all society and it is, perhaps, unfortunate that Landlords, for whom legislation and other changes have a direct effect in their pockets, are in the font line in this particular area of activity.

    Already the construction of new houses (representing a small percentage of the housing stock) meet new and increasingly rigorous energy-use standards. Revisions to Building Regulation/Standards over the next two years are likely to raise these standards further.

    It’s inevitable that the vast majority of properties in which we live, already in existence and with generally poor energy-efficiency, will need to be improved.

    It’s tough, I know, but that’s the way things are going….

    We might all be dead when the real cost of our life styles start kicking in for society (which it will, no arguament there), but that doesn’t mean that we should bury our heads in the sand and not contribute to easing the transition for future generations.

    Covered a lot of stuff here, don’t wear sandles or beads and live in a commune, but read widely and weigh up different views and don’t jump to conclusions – open to debate!

  7. Major Landlord says:

    Thank you: that was a more reasoned response, with which I do have some sympathy. In fact, I’ll wager you are not the same person who wrote the first “Plea to Landlords” piece!!

    Sadly, what everyone in government seems to miss – but will be forced to face eventually – is that landlords are businessmen. While we accept that we must (and usually do) provide competitive service and value for money, if heavy-handed legislation makes our business unviable by piling on unreasonable costs of compliance that are not shared with tenants, we will simply sell up and move into something else. And that could create BIG problems for councils in finding social housing.

    When rentals rise sufficiently that there is more profit in letting property, you will find that conscientious landlords like me (and I think that’s most) will start to invest in more expensive energy-saving features. But while it costs £4000 to double-glaze a small, already efficient property, and I cannot recover any of that in the form of additional rent, why would I bother? I see no evidence that I am losing tenants due to energy inefficiency, and most of my houses score no better than average.

    There’s a deal of hypocrisy here, too. How many people who live in their OWN homes would or do cough up for all these energy-saving measures? Wind turbines, grey water re-use, photo-voltaic panels – where are they?

    And how many tenants would pay a single penny towards them? I have spent time and money replacing all my old-style light bulbs (and that’s a lot) with low-energy ones, only to have tenants swap them back to old ones when I am not looking! I don’t know where they get them from, but it happens.

    The biggest problem with all this is that, once again, the government is forcing landlords to do their dirty work, and to pick up the tab. They think they can bully us, and they think it gets them votes to be seen to beat up those awful, filthy-rich landlords. Their whole attitude is an affront to decent, caring landlords who already do a really good job with little help and a lot of hindrance. That’s why we are so resistant.

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