Energy Performance Regulations | Historic England (2023)

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Improving Energy Performance Certificates: action plan - progress report

This page provides guidance on building regulations, Energy Performance Certificates and the private rented sector regulations.

Energy improvement measures may require consent

Various types of work to older buildings may require consent. Where historic buildings are designatedthen listed building or scheduled monument consent may be required.

It can be a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building without consent when it's needed. In addition to these consents, planning permission may also be required.

(Video) UK Energy Efficiency Regulations

If your building is listed or in a conservation area you're strongly advised to speak to your local authority planning department or relevant advisory body. They will be able to tell you whetheryou need permission or consent to implement an energy improvement measure.

The decision whether to give consent for an energy improvement measure will weighthe need for the improvementagainstthe impact of the measure. They'll prefer measures that are inconspicuous and do notalter the fabric of historic places.

See What Permission Might I Need? and Who Do I Contact? for more information.

Energy Performance Certificates

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when constructing, selling or renting out a building. An EPC is produced by an accredited Energy Assessor who uses standard softwareusing property survey data to produce two ratings: one for energy efficiency and one for environmental impact. Each rating is on a scale of 1 to 100, banded into grades A-G.

What is the main purpose of an EPC?

EPCs are mainly a compliance tool rather than a design tool, for instance where an existing property is sold or rented.

EPCs do not provide a complete energy audit of a building but focus on an assessment of the building providing a list of recommended measures to improve energy performance. The type of fuel source for heating the building and providing hot water has a significant impact on the EPC rating. EPCs are also based on standard assumptions about occupancy and energy use so they do not take account of actual energy use.

As the recommended measures of an EPC are based on the cost of fuel rather than energy efficiency they can be rather misleading and may not always be appropriate for the building. This can be particularly true for older buildings where measures such as solid wall insulation may pose a risk to the fabric of the building.

The Environmental Impact Rating is based on an assessment of the amount of CO2 emissions.

Are listed buildings exempt from the need to have an EPC?

From January 2013 there has been an ‘exemption’ for listed buildings.

However, the exemption is qualified, it states: “Insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”.

What does this qualification mean?

The qualification covers works that might be carried out to the property to improve its energy performance. These are works that would require consent under Part L of the building regulations (The Conservation of Fuel and Power) and would be included in the recommendations section of an EPC report if one was obtained. If such works would unacceptably alter the building’s character or appearance, then the listed building would qualify for an exemption.

The qualification does not relate to meeting the minimum energy efficiency requirements (MEES) set out in the Private Rented Sector Regulations (2015).

(Video) Minimum energy efficiency standard regulations webinar, June 2021

How do I know if works would unacceptably alter a listed building’s character or appearance?

The energy efficiency of older buildings can be improved in many different ways. Some measures might have very minimal impact on the character and appearance of the building, such as changing to a more efficient boiler. Other measures such as adding new double glazed windows or solid wall insulation could have a substantial impact. Listed buildings vary considerably in the extent they can accommodate change both internally and externally.

The guidance produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) suggests that “building owners will need to take a view as to whether this will be the case for their buildings”.

MHCLG also suggest owners might contact their local authority’s conservation officer if they're in any doubt.

However, the local authority may charge for such advice, if they are willing to provide it, and some local authorities do not have conservation officers.

Are buildings in conservation areas also exempt from the need to have an EPC?

Buildings in conservation areas now have the same exemption status as listed buildings.
However conservation areas have differing levels of planning controls depending whether or not they are covered by an Article 4 Direction, which limits permitted development rights.

Where a conservation area has an Article 4 Direction then planning consent would usually be required for changes to external materials which might include such measures as window double glazing.

Generally works that might unacceptably alter a building’s character and appearance in conservation areas would be those that affect the outside of the building rather than the inside.

Are there other buildings exempt from the need to have an EPC?

Other exempt buildingsinclude:

  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less thantwo years
  • Stand-alone buildings (less than 50 square metres of floor-space)
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
  • Some buildings that are due to be demolished
  • Holiday accommodation rented out for less thanfour months per year
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less thanfour months a year

Are buildings which are exempt from the need to have an EPC also exempt from needing to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements stipulated in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2015?

If the building is exempt from requiring an EPC then it does not come within the scope of the Private Rented Sector Regulations. However, if the building already has an EPC then it will be within the scope of these regulations.

(Video) Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings

Minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented property

From 1 April 2016 through to 1 April 2023 new regulations 'Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015' come into force for properties that are privately let.

From 1 April 2016: A tenant of a domestic private rented property may request the consent of the landlord to make energy efficiency improvements to the property.

From 1 April 2018: There is a requirement for all properties let on new or renewed tenancies to have a minimum EPC rating of E unless there is an applicable exemption.

From 1 April 2020: All existing domestic tenancies will be required to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E.

From 1 April 2023: All existing non-domestic tenancies will be required to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E.

Here are some common questions relating to these regulations and older buildings:

If I have no EPC because the building I own is legally exempt, do I need to comply with these regulations?

If a building does not legally require an EPC because it qualifies for an exemption then it will not need to comply with these regulations.

From January 2013, there has been a qualified exemption for listed buildings so that they are not generally required to have an EPC when sold or let. This qualified exemption now also includes buildings in conservation areas.

For more details on what the ‘qualified exemption’ means see the our section on Energy Performance Certificates.

If I have a listed property that already has an EPC do I need to comply with these regulations?

If the listed building already has an EPC, which may have been obtained before January 2013, then the property will be within scope of the regulations. If the EPC has an F or G rating then some energy efficiency improvements will be required so that it achieves a level E or above.

To improve a property which currently has an EPC rating of F or G, various measures can be considered which may have very minimal or no impact on character and appearance.

These might include:

  • Installing a more energy efficient boiler
  • Changing fuel source
  • Adding additional loft insulation
  • Secondary glazing to windows
  • Draught-proofing

For more information on this see our guidance on Energy Performance Certificates.

(Video) Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

Are there any exemptions included in these regulations?

There are several issues that may qualify the property being placed on the National Private Rented Sector (PRS)Exemptions Register for a period offive years.

These include:

  • The landlord being unable to obtain third party consent for the works. This might include listed building consent or planning permission from the local planning authority.
  • Where the installation of measures might devalue the property by more than 5%
  • Where a measure such as solid wall insulation would risk compromising the building fabric.

For a full list of exemptions and their detailed conditions see the guidance produced by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Related publications

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings - Application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildingsPublished 8 December 2017


Can you fail an energy performance certificate? ›

Can you fail an EPC? An EPC is a survey which ranks your property on a scale of A to G – there is no pass or fail. However, if you are renting out your home, the law requires the EPC to show a minimum rating of E for all new tenancies and – as from April 2020 – all existing tenancies.

How do I get an EPC exemption? ›

You don't need an Energy Performance Certificate ( EPC ) if you can demonstrate that the building is any of these: listed or officially protected and the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it. a temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less.

Is it compulsory to have an energy performance certificate? ›

Yes. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC for a property when marketing for sales and/or lettings. There are exemptions for certain property types, and all exemptions have to be registered on the national register. Each registered exemption is valid for five years.

Is EPC mandatory in the UK? ›

You must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent.

What happens if you fail EPC? ›

If you're a landlord and you fail to provide an EPC at the start of a tenancy, you'll be in breach of the regulations – and, as well as being subject to a penalty charge, you'll be unable to serve a valid Section 21 notice on a tenant.

Can you get a mortgage with a low EPC rating? ›

For buyers looking for a property to live in, it's important to note that mortgage companies will certainly lend on properties with low EPC ratings.

Which houses are EPC exempt? ›

Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 sq m do not require an EPC. A stand-alone building is defined as a building that is free standing i.e. entirely detached. Retail tenement buildings with an area of less than 50 sq m are therefore not exempt from the legislation.

What property does not need EPC? ›

Other exempt buildings include:

Stand-alone buildings (less than 50 square metres of floor-space) Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don't use a lot of energy. Holiday accommodation rented out for less than four months per year.

Are Grade 2 listed properties exempt from EPC? ›

In fact, this is not the case and the EPC regulations do not simply state that listed buildings are exempt from the requirement to obtain EPCs but rather they are exempt "insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance".

How accurate are EPC reports? ›

According to the findings, one in four EPCs record the size of a property so inaccurately that it varies by more than 10% from the true size of the property.

When did EPC become mandatory? ›

In 2008, the Government introduced EPCs. An EPC is a certificate that shows how energy efficient a property is. They are issued by a qualified EPC assessor and the EPC gives a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). Any properties that are rented need to have one.

Do I need a new EPC if I change my boiler? ›

If you want the benefit of the new boiler to be shown in your EPC then yes, you will need to commission a new EPC, including a survey. it is not possible to update or amend an existing EPC – a brand new certificate will be needed.

Do I need an energy performance certificate to sell my house privately? ›

If you're planning on selling your home, you must provide an energy performance certificate (EPC), free of charge to potential buyers. An EPC gives information on the energy efficiency of a property using A to G ratings, with A being the most energy efficient and G the least efficient.

Do old buildings need an EPC? ›

An EPC is legally required when a building is built, sold or rented and is valid for 10 years. Further advice is set out on the government's web page Buying or selling your home. There are some private rented sector (PRS) exemptions.

What is the minimum EPC rating for rented property? ›

Minimum EPC rating to be raised from E to C. The plan is to enforce this from 1 April 2025 for new tenancies, and from 1 April 2028 for existing tenancies. The government says this would be sufficient to bring more than 90% of D-rated properties up to a C rating, as well as nearly 60% of E-rated properties.

How much is fine for no EPC? ›

Without a valid EPC, you could suffer repercussions from your Local Authority Building Control department – they can force you to get one, as well as give you a fine of between £500 and £5,000.

What does an EPC assessor look at? ›

The areas your energy assessor will look at include: The age, construction and size of your property. Primary heating systems- including the boiler and heating controls. Insulation – whether there is cavity wall insulation or loft insulation installed.

Can I calculate my own EPC? ›

One way to calculate the energy efficiency of your home is through an online energy calculator. A home energy checker is a good first indication of whether your home needs to be improved for energy efficiency purposes, but we advise caution when using one.

Does EPC rating affect house price? ›

Based on average property prices in England we are able to see a correlation between a stronger energy efficiency rating and a higher house price, the graph below highlights the price increase as a result of raising your EPC from a G rating through to a higher A ratings, where property value can be as much as 14 per ...

Do I need EPC to remortgage? ›

We won't accept mortgage applications for properties that don't have a valid EPC or exemption. You could also be fined or face restrictions on letting your property. This applies to properties where there are existing tenants, as well as new tenancies.

Do I need a valid EPC to remortgage? ›

If you want to get your loan or remortage etc. you will need to get the EPC done however and get a good enough rating. It might seem a little odd, but this process is completely discretionary and something the bank is requiring only.

What is checked on a EPC? ›

The age, construction and size of your property. Primary heating systems- including the boiler and heating controls. Insulation – whether there is cavity wall insulation or loft insulation installed. Any secondary heat sources including renewable energy sources.

Whats the fine for no EPC? ›

Without a valid EPC, you could suffer repercussions from your Local Authority Building Control department – they can force you to get one, as well as give you a fine of between £500 and £5,000.

What happens if you rent a property without an EPC? ›

If you don't have one the provision of EPCs is enforced by the Trading Standards department of the local authority. If they receive a complaint that an EPC has not been provided they can impose a penalty charge on landlords of £200 for each breach.

How long does energy performance certificate last? ›

EPCs are valid for 10 years from the date of issue.


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