Tens of thousands of landlords across the UK could be unwittingly renting out property illegally because they have should have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, but simply do not know it.
A new report by property technology firm Spec suggests that as many as 2.5 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the UK are wrong due to inaccurate measurement standards and practices, putting many landlords at risk of inadvertently breaking the law.
According to the report, the size of a property has been recorded so inaccurately that it varies by more than 10% from the actual measurement in around a quarter of all existing EPCs.
In fact, the report claims that current measurement techniques used by Domestic Energy Assessors’ (DEA) can lead to inaccuracies regarding floor space measurements. These techniques, the report claims, have created an average discrepancy on property areas of around 8.6% - around 87 sq ft.
Since April 2016, rules have been in place across England and Wales, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).
These regulations made it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.
Owners of the draughtiest homes – those rated in the worst energy bands, F and G – have been required since April to upgrade them to band E or be barred from agreeing new tenancies.
However, the report estimates that about 35,000 E rated properties are below the legal standard for the residential lettings market.
Antony Browne, senior advisor at Spec, said: “Our study reveals that it’s not really a case of if your EPC is measured inaccurately, but how much it is measured inaccurately.
“Inaccurate EPCs present serious challenges and risks not only to property professionals, consumers and estate agents - but also the environment. It means tens of thousands of landlords are unwittingly renting out their properties, opening them up to the risk of fines of thousands of pounds through no fault of their own.
“Measuring the energy efficiency of buildings accurately is essential in limiting their environmental impact and tackling the bigger global issue of climate change. If you are not measuring the problem properly, you won't tackle it effectively.”