Most rental properties flout law on EPC, say officials

Most rental properties flout law on EPC, say officials

Most rental properties do not have Energy Performance Certificates, an answer to a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The request was put by Dave Timms, acting executive director of environmental charity 10:10 to the Department for Communities and Local Government. Timms asked about levels of compliance regarding EPCs.

The reply from CLG says that 26% of private domestic rental properties have EPCs, compared with 95% of properties put on the market for sale. Three-quarters (75%) of rental stock in the social housing sector has EPCs.

However, the CLG reply says that the figures, which relate to 2012, were “not quality assured in the normal manner of Government statistics. We are therefore unable to confirm the accuracy of the data or if the figures are statistically sound.”

CLG says it arrived at the data for the private rented sector by looking at the central EPC register and at data from the English Housing Survey, and it is based on “an estimated turnover in the private rented sector of new tenancy agreements per year”.

The letter also notes that since January this year, it has been a requirement that property adverts should include the EPC rating. The letter says: “This should help raise public awareness of what is required.”

10:10 said that CLG was “doing little to enforce the law on EPCs. Moreover, it has only a rough idea of how many estate agents are complying, and seems complacent about the widespread flouting of the rules.”

An EPC must be available whenever a property is sold or rented, and has a shelf life of ten years. Failure to produce an EPC can result in fines.

The fixed penalty is £200, with enforcement action having to be started within six months. It is not known how many fines have been issued.

While the legal responsibility for having an EPC rests with the landlord, it is the responsibility of a letting agent to be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned for the property before marketing it for rent.

Alongside the landlord, the letting agent must also use all reasonable efforts to secure that the EPC is obtained for the property within seven days (or inside a maximum of 28 days if necessary).