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'Outdated and inaccurate' EPCs need reform say experts


Calls are growing for a thorough overhaul of the EPC regime amid claims that the information in many could be inaccurate and misleading.

A study by The Observer looked at certificates for homes on the market or recently sold and found some were up to nine years old while others appeared to give outdated or incorrect information about the cost of potential improvements.

One EPC for a four-bed detached home for sale in Birmingham gives figures for how much a buyer might need to spend on energy, and how much they could potentially save, but then says: “This is based on average costs in 2015 when this EPC was created.”

"Which? has flagged concerns over quirks in the system."

Rocio Concha (pictured), director of policy and advocacy at consumer body Which?, says one factor that can contribute to the lack of accuracy is that certificates are valid for 10 years, “regardless of any changes that have been made to the property”. It says this should be cut to five years.

Which? has flagged concerns over quirks in the system that mean a property owner who replaces a gas boiler with a heat pump can sometimes see their EPC rating fall as a result.

Low cost

Meanwhile, some EPCs are sold at very low cost and delivered very quickly. A Google search pulled up companies offering them for as little as £34, which casts doubt on how thorough a certification is going to be.

Timothy Douglas (pictured), head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, believes the system probably needs some sort of revamp. He adds: “We know agents have concerns about consistency – five different assessors would probably come up with five different EPCs.”

The government has previously said that an independent review of net zero recognised challenges with EPCs and recommended it reform the metrics and ensure that EPCs were updated on a regular basis.


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