Energy Performance Certificates ( EPC )
All existing properties when being sold or rented must have an energy efficiency assessment by a government authorised energy assessor. From their assessment they will produce a document called an ‘Energy performance certificate’. Every aspect of the property is assessed in order to reach an overall rating. The assessment is conducted using the government standard, rdSAP.
There is no minimum requirement for the rating of a property for sale, the rating is for information and advice only.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 mean that, from April 2018, private non-domestic (and domestic) landlords must ensure that properties they rent in England and Wales reach at least an EPC rating of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants.
Rating of electric heating in EPC
Electric heaters are rated based on whether they are direct acting ( panel heaters, electric radiators, convector heaters ), standard night storage heaters, combination night storage heaters ( with fan heater or convector built in ), or ‘High Heat Retention’ ( HHR ) night storage heaters. Whether the heater has thermostat and timing control will also be taken in to account.
All types of electric heaters are allowed to be used to heat a rental property so long as the property meets the overall target of E rating.
The best rating will be for HHR night storage heaters as these should be the lowest cost to run. Next best is storage heaters and then direct acting. Direct acting is assumed to be using peak rate electricity and therefore is assumed to cost more to run.
The reality of running costs can be very different depending on lifestyles and heating requirements. Some people have found direct acting heating to be more cost effective due to the fast response and flexible use nature of the controls and accurate thermostats. For those typically at home all day storage heaters would be the lowest running cost option.
If the rental property after assessment is E rated or above no action needs to be taken regardless of which heating system is used. If the rating is F or below then action must be taken before re-renting the property. This action might be to change the heaters, but it might be more cost effective to install more loft insulation or change the windows or doors etc. All options should be considered.
Depending how low the rating is, it may mean a number of different improvements having to be made or it might mean just a minor improvement is needed such as increased loft insulation.
It is not true that direct acting electric heating is not allowed in rental properties, it absolutely is as long as the property as a whole comes up to the minimum E rating required.
Do not feel that you have to install night storage heaters, you do not have to! It may be something you choose to do to increase the rating of the property but it is your choice.