Changes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings penalise landlords and are set to decimate the private rented sector says a leading landlord, who’s set up an online petition calling for an overhaul of the system. 

Nottingham landlord Tricia Urquhart is so frustrated about unfair government plans to raise the minimum energy efficiency rating from Band E to Band C for new tenancies from 2025 and for all existing tenancies from 2028 that she’s urging other landlords to add their names in protest.

Tricia says under the current rating system it will be difficult to improve a rating from an E to a C in many homes and could result in thousands of inefficient properties being dumped.

She tells LandlordZONE: “I’ve always looked after and invested in my properties, and I understand we need to improve energy efficiency in our homes, but these EPC regulations are flawed.”

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Urquhart adds that the problem affects urban as well as rural areas.

“Several of my eight properties in areas without a gas supply had storage heaters so I bought top-of-the range modern radiators, but for an EPC assessment, that’s the same as buying a £25 convection heater that huffs out hot air.”

The assessment also makes assumptions based on the age of a property, explains Tricia.

“My sister had floor insulation fitted in a house she bought years ago, but the assessment would assume it isn’t fitted because of the property’s age – but she won’t be able to prove to an assessor that she’s had this done without destroying the floor in the process.”

Landlords will inevitably put up rents to cover the amount they’ve had to fork out for any improvements – up to £10,000 a house – which will result in a two-tier system where those who can’t afford higher rents end up renting potentially dangerous properties from rogue landlords, predicts Tricia, who adds: “I was thinking of selling up in about 15-20 years but I’ll now do it much sooner.”

Sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/559700

Read more about EPCs.

29 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with the comments and would add. The plan to go from E to C in one jump is too fast in the time scales given. Whilst there is help in the form of Green Home Grants to help LLs upgrade properties try getting a quote, or a voucher or the work done if you get the voucher! Its not like you can just suddenly upgrade a property two EPC grades in the 1 months notice you might get from a tenant so LLs will have to try to do some of the upgrades possibly with tenants in situ – and some of the work is most invasive.
    Why is only the PRS being targetted? What about social housing. I have a house that I am off loading due to the above, having just put in a state of the art electric heater. The two housing association houses either side of me will be able to continue to rent out without these requirements. I am sick of being the Government’s punch bag so they can tick their boxes.

    • Yep you are correct.
      Very few rental properties can achieve EPC C status financially effectively.

      Payback periods would take years.

      Just not worth it unless annual yield is substantial.

      To reach EPC C status usually involves expensive and unsightly UWI or EWI.

      Properties built in the past 20 years mostly comply with EPC C status.

      LL should sell older stock and invest in the newer built properties.

  2. Completely right, why do these new rules not apply to private property too? Just another nail in the coffin of PRS , and again will reduce available cost effective rentals. Where will the councils house tenants displaced by the various government attacks on the PRS.

  3. We have just installed double glazing in the main part of a Victorian house (extension already done) and a new gas boiler A rated and did a new EPC and was one point lower than the previous EPC in 2018. So wasted money, asked assessor why and he went back to the company who he uses to do the assessment and they could not give an explanation. As said before if you use state of the electric heaters that allow tenants to have heat when they want then you will be penalised for not having Night Storage Heaters even if they are 20yrs old and inefficient and do not meet tenants needs. In some places have left NSH in to keep EPC and modern electric fluid heaters, tenants don’t use NSH but new heaters!! Needs to be completed reviewed.

  4. Some points:

    1) the current EPC assessment approach produces totally inconsistent and unreliable results. I had two cottages next to each other assessed – both had the same standard of insulation, heating etc. Yet one got a 10 point higher score than the other. How ridiculous! The assessors are not proper professionals yet they have the ability to seriously affect capital and rental values in the PRS.

    2) I have 3 properties at EPC E. To get them up to C (if indeed this is possible) will require radical, intrusive work – the properties will need to be vacant for at least a couple of months while the work is done. So the tenants are going to have to be given notice to leave the properties, thereby increasing demand on the (almost non-existent) local PRS housing stock.

    These new rules will only lead to a radical reduction in PRS properties in my area.

    • Regarding the descrepancy between the EPCs for 2 ‘identical’ properties, you should complain to the Energy Assessor in the first instance and if no satisfaction, complain to their registration scheme (shown on the certificate) who should investigate. Hopefully, you used the same DEA (Domestic Energy Assessor) for both properties which might make it easier. You should point out the inconsistencies of the EPC to the DEA for each property and state your complaint, They might then re-do the EPC(s) free of charge and get them right. Unfortunately, many DEAs are not up to the job despite supposedly rigourous registration scheme rules. The schemes are Government approved and issue a licence to the DEA to be able to operate. They can’t just blame it on the software – there are strict protocols under which they operate. They should be professional but sadly many are not and should be outed.

      • The same assessor WAS used for both cottages, I did bring up the discrepancy with the assessor and was told “thats the way the numbers came out, tough luck!”

        I then foolishly had the same assessor do an EPC for yet another cottage.

        The assessor noted the efficient hot water tank in the eaves and then totally failed to take into account that the roof/ceiling was fully insulated and sealed with 4” Celotex, which was totally visible in the eaves – if you can see the hot tank, you can see the insulation.

        My roof/ceiling insulation was rated as having no/poor insulation in the EPC certificate.

        The assessor also missed the fact that the wall cavity had been injected with mineral wool.

        Overall I ended up with low EPC E score – it should have been a high D at least.

        I have no polite words to say about EPC assessors.

  5. It costs about £1000 to become a DEA (Domestic Energy Assessor), able to issue EPCs. Get that certification, then do your own EPCs, twiddling the parameters to get the best result. Providing you are honest about what you have assessed, and don’t just make it up, why should your own EPC be doubted? Plus you can earn money doing other people’s!
    And while you are doing that, continually bug the government to improve the software in order to make it more realistic and useable, instead of being largely a tick box exercise. Many EPC assessors are unfamiliar with the construction of older properties, and suggest improvements which are unsuitable, or even damaging to the property fabric. What is needed is a radical overhaul of the DEA/EPC set up to make it accurately reflect many different property types and differentiate between suitable and unsuitable improvements.

  6. I had one assessor recommend I get cavity wall insulation on a house. I got a man from an energy company to come and look at it with a view to doing it. Seconds after just looking at it he told me it had clearly already been done. The assessor wanted £60 for re-assessing, but when I threatened to report him for malpractice he suddenly found his notes and told me he had made a clerical error and ticked the wrong box. He gave me a revised certificate.

    • Well done for challenging the EPC. More people should do so and perhaps they would do a better job. They are required to have professional indemnity insurance (like chartered surveyor, doctors, architects etc) so won’t want to a claim against them as their premium will shoot up massively. Unfortunately, too many do a poor job and do not operate professionaly. I have found inaccuracies in many EPCs. They should be happy to explain descrepancies and not just blame the software. They are required to operate to strict protocols (under the Government approved registration and licensing schemes) in collecting the data they enter into the software. As your example shows, if they enter incorrect data, the result is inaccurate to say the least.

  7. I bought a house with an old heating system including a back boiler. I had a word with the EPC assessor to see how upgrading to a combi would affect the EPC. She said she would need to do a full reassessment, but could not guarantee it would improve the EPC. She recognised it was absurd, but advised that a back boiler could score higher than a combi in some cases.

  8. The system is flawed, the assessors are flawed, and the insistence that private tenants can only safely live in C graded houses when owners and social tenants are safe to live in any graded houses represents appalling victimisation of landlords.

    • housing associations are aiming for at least EPC C under the clean growth strategy and whilst you are sat there playing the victim they have been and still are upgrading insulation and fitting gas central heating systems to their properties.

  9. I won’t be signing the petition because I think the issue is wider than the weakness of EPCs. The issue is more to do with bashing landlords. I have D rated houses which are perfectly fine to live in (my own house is rated D, and it’s not a health hazard). In fact they are just as cosy as others rated C. Why is it reasonable for the government to make me ‘upgrade’ tenanted houses for the wellbeing of my tenants but not my own house for my own well being? Tenants do not care about EPCs. They look at whether the house has decent glazing, whether it has a good boiler, whether it feels cosy. If they aren’t happy, they won’t rent. Landlords are being used as tools to implement dodgy government policies.

    • I agree the issue is wider but there is only so much you can write on one petition. Only by continuing to put pressure on the Govt from all angles can LLs hope to make changes so please reconsider and sign – every signature counts.

  10. Final comment: Some of the recommendations on the EPCs are mind numbingly stupid. The assessors say they are well aware that they’re stupid, but their guidelines say they have to make them. One example was to dig up a floor and install undergound heating at a cost or thousands of pounds to save a few tens of pounds per year. Many recommendations have payback periods running to many tens or even hundreds of years. A retarded amoeba would have the brain power to figure out such recommendations are stupid.

  11. its a good thing for tenants to be in warmer and more energy efficient homes. there are many things that can be done to upgrade homes. cavity insulation, loft insulation, triple glazing, GCH, OCH, heat pumps, solar e.t.c. replacing storage heaters with a “top of the range” “modern” “electric radiator” is hardly making a home cheaper to heat, warmer or more energy efficient especially when the majority of the time they will be using non economy 7 rates. but.. adding solar panels to make that radiator pump out heat all day for FREE would work and likely gain you that extra epc grade.

    • Solar panels on a north facing roof? Ground source heat pump in a victorian terrace back yard? I agree that it is a good thing for tenants (and home owners) to be warm & in energy efficient homes but why then does the EPC reward gas central heating which is being phased out because it is a carbon fuel whilst electric heating – of all types – is marked down even when it can be sourced completely from green energy?

      If we must raise our EPC to the values requested then we need to know that the assessment system is fair and at the moment it does not appear to be so, as many of the above comments show.

      • i doubt you have a north facing roof that cannot have solar panels raised to point a better direction or some other workable solution.
        heat pump.. you most definitely can install an AIR source one. it will fit in a back yard just fine!

        GCH is rewarded in the EPC on the cost to heat. electric heaters cost 4x more for the same heat output. both can come from renewable sources but mostly aren’t and both created alot of c02. so how is the epc unfair in that respect ? if you can bring down the cost to heat your epc will improve.

        the banning of gas boilers in super insulated new builds hasnt much to do with using gas in older properties and there is no ban on installing it in them either.

      • It is possible to do ground source in a terrace back yard – just eye wateringly expensive. It can be done by drilling a hole down and extracting heat from deep down in that hole. But of all the sources of heat for a heat pump, it’s the most expensive.
        But in a victorian terrace, it’s highly likely that a heat pump wouldn’t be suitable without major upgrades in other areas – insulation, air sealing (draught proofing), and replacing all the radiators with much bigger ones.

  12. Well done for challenging the EPC. More people should do so and perhaps they would do a better job. They are required to have professional indemnity insurance (like chartered surveyor, doctors, architects etc) so won’t want to a claim against them as their premium will shoot up massively. Unfortunately, too many do a poor job and do not operate professionaly. I have found inaccuracies in many EPCs. They should be happy to explain descrepancies and not just blame the software. They are required to operate to strict protocols (under the Government approved registration and licensing schemes) in collecting the data they enter into the software. As your example shows, if they enter incorrect data, the result is inaccurate to say the least.

  13. I read the recommendations on my EPC and most of the recommendations are eye wateringly expensive many have a pay back rate rate so long that if William the Conqueror installed it it would not have paid for itself.
    How much is a Landlord expected to pay out so a tenant can possibly safe a couple of pounds a year. I believe any improvements should have a payback time of no more than 10 years. But this is not all about energy efficiency it is about creating jobs. And the only people the Governments can force to do it is Landlords and developers. For developers it is relatively easy because they are using the latest materials. For landlords with older housing stock ot is almost impossible. And if the Government insists it should fund it . I will be signing the petition And well done Tricia

    • Govt is just using this ridiculous Green crap as another hammer to bash LL with hoping they will sell up to homeowners who aren’t required to meet EPC regulations.

      The premise for the EPC that man is generating climate change is for the birds.
      Climate change has nothing to do with man.

      CO2 levels were far higher millions of years ago when the world was mostly tropical.

      EPC are ridiculous.
      Any fool tenant can decide not to let a poorly energy efficient property.

      LL might find such properties unlettable so they would tend to improve to a decent level of comfort.

      Let tenants decide whether the LL offer is adequate for them.

  14. Having seen the wrong assumptions on EPC certificates I believe that they are not worth the paper they are written on. The government needs to get this right before asking Landlords to make upgrades. I urge every landlord to be at assessments where possible and to look at all EPC carefully before considering possible expensive , invasive work which may actually damage fabric of buildings
    Its the final straw that broke this weary landlords back . Selective licensing, tax changes and the total lack of respect for myself and my property, by tenants and by the government is forcing me out of the PRS. This government does not want PRS and if Labour get in it will be even worse. They seem to be penalising PRS at every turn whilst so called not for Profit housing associations are not regulated in the same way as the PRS seem to be on the increase and thriving.

  15. I give up🤷‍♂️ The government will always win, I have already sold two properties which we bought for each of our teenage sons, with inheritance monies that was left to them, I thought I was doing the right thing, the government on the other hand changed the tax rules (section 24) by which time our sons had grown up and got well paid jobs so it just wasn’t feasible to keep them so we sold them.
    I now have an old property (rental) which is single brick so that will also have to be sold because of the EPC rules and guess who brought those in yes you got it the government, I have four other properties all identical except one has a combi boiler which is a C rating the others are not so I will have to replace perfectly good boilers with combi boilers, no tenant has ever complained how expensive they are to heat in fact they say they hardly ever have the heating on, so where is the saving for the environment there when we have a factory producing new boilers which will not last as long as the old ones, so more impact on the environment to produce another new one, or I just sell those as well, then I have two more again identical one with combi (C rating) the other a back boiler, so same thing again sell up or replace the boiler, and if I sell up to owner occupiers they can keep the boilers 🤷‍♂️
    I really don’t know what governments want from us good landlords, they are going to either loose good housing stock for the rental market, or turn us into rouge landlords because that will be the only way we can make a profit or when we sell a rouge landlord may buy them so back full circle.
    I give up I will just have to sell which ever property is affected by which ever law/rule comes along at the time until I have none left then go down to the job centre for some benifts and a rental property may be one of my old ones, sorry for ranting but I am fed up with it all, what other bussiness have this many laws/rules to contend with on a daily basis, oh! I forgot sorry we are not a bussiness we don’t do any work we just invest. 👍

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