Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. They contain information about the property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and how to reduce these. Visit the GOV.UK EPC pages for more information on EPCs and whether a property needs one or not.

To access an existing EPC or find an EPC assessor, visit the EPC Register website.

Under the Energy Act 2011 and associated regulations non-domestic landlords must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) where required, and provide a copy to leaseholders whenever they lease their properties out (The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012) and landlords must have at least an E rating on the EPC of all rented buildings as detailed below (Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015):

  • from 1 April 2018, may not grant a lease to new or existing leaseholders if their commercial property has an EPC rating of band F or G 
  • from 1 April 2023, not continue letting a commercial property with an EPC rating of band F or G

These rules apply unless an exemption applies which has been registered on the PRS Exemptions Register under MEES or the property is not required to have EPC (under The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012).

Exemptions from the energy efficiency regulations

Properties on the Government's Exemptions Register (following successful application) are exempt from the Energy Act 2011 requirements. 

They need to be legally required to have an EPC and be let on a relevant lease type but cannot be improved to meet the minimum standard of EPC band E for one of the reasons set out below:

  • Have undertaken improvements that are cost-effective but remain below an E EPC rating.
  • Necessary third party's permission to denied or unreasonable conditions applied
  • Measures would cause capital devaluation of the property of more than 5%.
  • Potential negative impact on the fabric or structure of the property (including insulation).

Landlords must ensure all the appropriate supporting information is uploaded with their exemption request.

Visit the GOV.UK - Guidance on PRS Register pages to find more information on exemptions and how to register them. 

Listed buildings and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Listed buildings may not require an EPC if the necessary work to achieve an E+ rating would unacceptably alter the building’s character and appearance.

However, in order to know what energy efficiency improvement work would be necessary will likely necessitate getting an EPC.

To understand the requirements and the historical significance of the property, landlords of Listed Buildings and/or properties in Article 4 conservation areas (currently Jericho and Osney) are advised to submit a Listed Building Pre-Planning application, listing all works intended to be carried out.

Advice from the pre-application will help landlords gauge whether recommended works are likely to be possible before putting in a full planning application.

Penalties for breaching energy efficiency regulations

If you lease out a non-compliant property, the following are the maximum penalty fines that can be levied under the legislation (The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012):

  • less than 3 months in breach - up to either £5,000 or 10% of rateable value to maximum of £50,000
  • over 3 months breach - up to either £10,000 or 20% of rateable value with maximum penalty of £150,000
  • providing false or misleading information or failing to comply with a compliance notice - up to £5,000