Energy performance certificates

All owners of properties available for sale or rent after 4 January 2009 must be able to produce a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) to any prospective buyers or tenants.

This content applies to Scotland

What is an energy performance certificate?

Energy performance certificates were introduced on 4 January 2009 under the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which aims to improve the energy performance of new and existing buildings.

An EPC provides an energy rating for a building based on the way it is used, and makes recommendations for ways in which the building's efficiency could be improved, to help save energy, reduce bills and cut carbon dioxide emissions. [1] The certificate is valid for ten years.[2]

Scottish Ministers are responsible for Building Standards in Scotland. (The former Scottish Building Standards Agency was disbanded on April 1, 2008 and its functions to administer the Building Standards system in Scotland were transferred back to the Scottish Government.)

The Scottish Government has more information on energy performance certificates and related issues.

Who needs to produce an EPC?

The owner of a property that is marketed for sale or rent after 4 January 2009 must be able to produce a valid EPC free of charge to any prospective buyers or tenants.[3] There is no requirement for owners to commission an EPC until they wish to sell or rent out their property.

A prospective buyer or tenant is anyone who:

  • requests information about a property in order to decide whether or not to buy or rent it

  • asks to view a property to decide whether or not to buy or rent it

  • makes a written or verbal offer to buy or lease a property.[4]

If the property also requires a home report, the EPC will be included in that report.

The certificate must be produced within nine days of the request.[5]

Exemptions

The requirement applies to all dwellings except:[6]

  • temporary buildings which will be in use for two years or less

  • workshops

  • non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand

  • stand-alone, non-residential buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres.

This means that some sale properties which do not require home reports will still require an EPC, for example, in the case of properties being sold through the right to buy.[7]

A dwelling is defined as a 'unit of residential accommodation'.[8] This means that if a landlord is letting out a self-contained unit such as bedsit, s/he must produce an EPC. However, if a landlord is letting out a room in a flat with a shared kitchen and bathroom, s/he will not need an EPC.[9]

Enforcement

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing EPCs. If the owner fails to produce a valid EPC within nine days of a prospective buyer or tenant requesting one, or seven days of a request from the local authority, s/he will be issued with a penalty charge notice.[10]

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg.6 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [2]

    reg.6(2) The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [3]

    reg.5 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [4]

    reg.3 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [5]

    reg.17(2)(a) The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [6]

    reg.4 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309

  • [7]

    Scottish Government Buildings Standards Energy Performance Certificate for Buildings

  • [8]

    reg.2 Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 SSI 2004/406

  • [9]

    Scottish Buildings Standards Agency Energy Performance Certificate for Buildings

  • [10]

    reg.17 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 2008/309