Real Estate -

Energy Performance Certificates: current and future regulation

EPCs were first introduced in England and Wales in August 2007 as part of the Home Information Pack required for all domestic property sales.

Energy efficiency tablet


What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

EPCs were first introduced in England and Wales in August 2007 as part of the Home Information Pack required for all domestic property sales.

Initially, the purpose of the EPC was to provide the buyer with an indication of the energy efficiency of the property they were looking to buy; the higher the rating, the more energy efficient the property would be, thus potentially reducing household energy costs and carbon footprint.

From May 2010, it became a legal requirement for all homes bought, sold, or rented in England and Wales to be rated for their energy performance.

In recent years, this requirement has been further enhanced with the introduction of the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard). This aimed to improve both the energy efficiency and quality of all rented property, both domestic and non-domestic:

  1. The regulation for domestic rental property came into effect from April 2020 when it became a legal requirement that landlords could no longer grant a tenancy to a new or existing tenant if their property held an EPC of F or G.
  2. For non-domestic property, the requirements go a little further. A landlord can no longer let their property to a new tenant or extend an existing tenancy if the EPC is F or G. From April 2023 the landlord can no longer continue to let their property if the EPC is F or G. 

Please be aware there are several exceptions, which can be found on the Government website along with general guidance. You can also check if your property has a current EPC via the EPC register, also found via the Government website.

EPC Assessment

The EPC is produced once an accredited assessor has inspected the property. They will take in various aspects of the property to appraise its emissions and efficiencies. Below are examples of some of the areas assessed for domestic properties:

1. Age construction and size of the property

When the house was constructed, building regulations might not have included minimal insulation requirements. A larger detached house will have four walls exposed to the elements whilst a terraced or semi-detached house will have fewer external walls.

2. Loft and wall insulation

Does the house have cavity wall insulation? How deep is the loft insulation, is it below or in line with the depth of the joists?

3. Glazing

Is this single, double - or triple-glazed. What is the age of the glazing (old steel frames or modern uPVC) and how much glazing is involved? Large windows may emit more heat than smaller ones.

4. Heating systems

How is the property kept warm and how is the heat distributed around the home. Do you have room thermostats and timers? The assessor will also look at the type of boiler in use, its age, lagging, and efficiency.

5. Air tightness

The fewer drafts, the better.

6. Lighting

Use of energy-efficient light fittings.

Other aspects the assessor may look at for non-domestic property includes:

1. Use of the building

Certain building types do not require an EPC, for example buildings with low energy demands such as barns or multi-storey car parks with no heating or ventilation.

2. Air Conditioning/ventilation

Efficiency and age of the system in use.

Other aspects taken into consideration will include green energy such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Using specialist software to input their findings, the assessor will be able to provide the Energy Performance Certificate. They will score the buildings efficiency from A – G with A being the most efficient and G the least.


How to improve an EPC rating

Once you have received an EPC, it will include details of how you can improve the EPC and the potential band which can be achieved.

How long is an energy performance certificate valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years, but you can arrange for a property to be re-assessed at any time.

EPC Legislation

While current legislation was designed to improve the energy efficiency of all buildings, it primarily focused on improving the standards of all rental properties.

Depending on which publication you read, carbon dioxide emissions from the UK’s building stock is anything from 20% to over 40%. Whatever the figure, it is fair to say our homes and workplaces emit a very large percentage of UK Greenhouse Gases.

At COP26 in Glasgow last year, the UK Government made the commitment for the country to be ‘Net Zero’ by 2050. We are already beginning to see how this will impact the motor industry with the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel driven cars by 2030.

While the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings (No.2) Bill, known as EPC Legislation 2025, is still to pass into law, it is fair to say that by the end of this year, the bill or a modified version, is likely to receive Royal Assent.


The purpose of the bill will be to achieve a minimum energy performance of all domestic and private rental properties as well as non-domestic property by specific dates:

  1. Domestic property (owner occupied) = EPC band C by 2035
  2. Private rental properties = Band C for all new tenancies by the end of 2025 and by the end of 2028 for all existing tenancies
  3. Non-domestic property = EPC Band B by 2030

As with current legislation there will be some exceptions such as certain listed buildings.


Other requirements and timelines to note are:

  1. All new homes built from January 2025 are to be “zero carbon ready”
  2. Mortgage lenders will have a duty to ensure the average EPC of their domestic portfolio is band C by 2030, and
  3. Social housing providers will be required to ensure a significant amount of their residential properties are band C by 2035.

These changes are designed to ensure our homes and workplaces are more energy efficient producing less carbon waste.

If you are a landlord of domestic rental property, you will be among the first to be affected by the new regulations. Do you know what the potential cost will be to bring your properties up to a C rating? If this is expected to be a costly and time-consuming exercise, have you made plans for this?

As a developer, do you know what is involved for your new builds to be ‘Zero Carbon ready’? Full guidance is expected to be published in 2023, giving the industry two years to be ready for these changes. New-build homes are expected to produce 80% lower carbon emissions that current homes. What does this mean in a practical sense?

As the landlord of a non-domestic property, do you know where you stand legally if your tenant has a Full Repairing Lease but undertakes work to the property which negatively impacts the EPC rating?

Look out for future articles where we will focus more closely on different areas of the real estate world and how the planned legislation will impact on them.

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Author -

Tracey Stronghill

Tracey Stronghill

Commercial Banker, Real Estate

Tracey Stronghill is a Commercial Banker in the Real Estate Finance team at Arbuthnot Latham. Tracey has over 30 years of experience in the real estate sector. Based in Exeter but also works with the wider team to support clients across the country.