Category: Owner Information

Do you need an Energy Performance Certificate for your holiday home?

What is an EPC?

If you’ve been involved in buying, selling or letting a property since 2008, then you will have come across Energy Performance Certificates, or EPCs. EPCs indicate how energy efficient a property is with a rating value from A (very efficient and the best you could hope for in a modern well insulated property) to G (the least efficient and typical of an old draughty building!). As a benchmark, the average property rating in England and Wales is a D. An EPC will also show the environmental impact of a property as well as providing a breakdown of the efficiency of specific areas within the building. The report will also provide recommendations on how to improve efficiency, reduce your fuel bills and cut carbon emissions.

An EPC certificate is valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as needed within that period. If you want to see if your property has ever had an EPC you can search the EPC National Register here.

Can I carry out my own EPC?

No. An EPC has to be carried out by a domestic energy assessor. The inspection takes approximately 1-2 hours and depending on the size of your property, and where it is, it is likely to cost in between £40 – £100. Accredited assessors can be found on the National Register.

Do I need an EPC to rent out my holiday home?

Yes and no! Unfortunately there is no black and white answer to this question. You need an EPC if you let your property out as a Furnished Holiday Let for short term rentals of less than 31 days per let for a combined total of at least 4 months in a single year.

However, there is a significant exclusion. The Government’s guide to energy performing certificates goes on to say that an EPC is only required for holiday lets if the occupier (i.e. the guest) is responsible for paying the energy bills for the property. Most holiday home owners will be responsible for paying the energy bills, therefore excluding them from requiring an EPC. However, it is also possible to argue that the occupier, or guest, indirectly pays the energy costs of the property as part of their payment for the holiday. At the time of publication (January 2020), the Ministry of Housing said that they were not able to provide an interpretation of the law. Instead they advised holiday home owners to contact their Local Trading Standard Office who are responsible for enforcing the Regulations to clarify if they need an EPC or not.

Is my holiday home exempt if it is a listed building?

Again, there is no clear cut answer to this question. There is no specific exemption for listed buildings having an EPC. However, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 states that an EPC is not required for ‘buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance’. So for example, if you are likely to be required to make changes such as installing double glazing or external wall insulation which would ‘unacceptably alter the character or appearance’ of a protected building, an EPC may not be required.

It is up to each owner to reach their own conclusion on whether minimum energy efficiency requirements would have an unacceptable impact on the historic character of a listed building. If you are unsure we recommend that you seek independent specialist advice from your local authority conservation officer.

What are MEES and do they apply to holiday rentals?

As part of the Governments wider effort to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs for tenants the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (or MEES) came into effect on 1 April 2018. The MEES made it unlawful for landlords in England and Wales to grant new leases to tenants if the property has an EPC of either an F or G. From 1 April 2020 it is unlawful for landlords to continue to let a property that has an EPC rating of either an F or G. Again, the question of whether MEES apply to holiday lets or not is a grey area.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s guidance on MEES states that the regulations only apply to properties that are legally required to have an EPC. Therefore, if you have ascertained that your energy costs are paid for by yourself and not the holidaymaker, then you are not required to have an EPC rating of an E or better. However, if after speaking to your Local Trading Standard Office you believe that you are required to have an EPC then you need to ensure that your rating is at least an E.

What about holiday lets in Scotland?

The laws surrounding EPCs in Scotland are slightly different to those mentioned above which are only relevant for England and Wales. The legislation surrounding landlords and EPCs in Scotland include holiday lets. All holiday homes, including listed buildings, are required to have an EPC. In addition, all commercial adverts for your holiday home must clearly show your EPC rating. This can be as simple as including for example, EPC = D, on your advert. It does not need to include the whole certificate. Unlike privately rented properties in Scotland, there is currently no minimum EPC rating for holiday lets.

As a holiday home owner in Scotland it is your responsibility to ensure your holiday home has an EPC. If you are not sure if your property already has an EPC you can check the Scottish EPC Register. Bed and breakfast accommodation, caravan holiday homes and certain holiday parks do not need an EPC.

Best practice

Whilst you might initially think that having an EPC rating for your holiday home is an unnecessary administrative task, perhaps it is worth thinking about the positive benefits of having an EPC rather than focusing on whether you legally need one or not. An EPC report is likely to provide you with ideas of how you can make your property more energy efficient and hopefully lower your energy bills. Not only could this save you money, but if you can demonstrate that your accommodation is environmentally friendly – as well as warm and cosy! – you can use this as a useful marketing tool as eco properties are increasing in popularity. Also, whilst many holiday lets in England and Wales might not currently require an EPC, and those in Scotland do not require a minimum rating, it is possible that in the future these laws will change to reflect the increasing need for us all to become more environmentally aware.

It is always best to strive to achieve ‘best practice’ and look for proactive ways to improve your holiday home. Not only are you less likely to be caught out by any up-coming changes in the law, but you are more likely to provide a safe and comfortable holiday home which in turn should result in warm and happy guests!

10 thoughts on “Do you need an Energy Performance Certificate for your holiday home?

  1. Paul Broadberry

    Hi,

    Noted the news about EPC but, if you are like us and you have a history of about 110 nights booked a year then, I would suggest that you would only commit an offence at the point that you take the 121st night booking, not 30th June. And if not this year then sometime in the future at the point of your first ever 121st night booking. I thinks that’s a consideration when you are near the boundary. Also I recall 120 nights is the boundary for treatment of a FHL as a business for Capital Gains Tax now isn’t it (?).

    Paul Broadberry

    Reply
    1. Steve

      I agree. It’s going to be very hard to “police”. Also, as I understand it (and I’m NOT a lawyer!) the law has not changed, only the guidance. It has been suggested that an EPC is only required for a “Tenant” in the case of rental properties. Should a case ever go to court, it would be interesting to see if holiday makers’ are classed as tenants, I doubt it. This could open up a can of worms as holiday makers do not have the same rights / claim on a holiday property as would a legal tenant. My personal view is that a gap in the law exists, but the new guidance is both misleading and open to interpretation.

      Reply
  2. Danny

    Yet another cost for those with holiday let properties.

    What do you think the real motivation behind this is? I can’t honestly believe that many people will decide which property they will rent based on its energy efficiency, especially as fuel costs are normally included.

    Reply
  3. Michael

    Has this all been decided and confirmed now as there was previously a lot of conflicting legal opinions and accusations of lack of consultation.

    The problems seem to have started in February this year, when the Department of Communities and Local Government issued guidance on the subject by saying that holiday lets are covered by the 2007 EPB regulations and therefore require EPCs, even though holiday lets are not specifically mentioned in the regulations.

    I read that the government was claiming that holiday lets had always been liable to have EPCs but the guidance set a date of 30 June 2011 by which an EPC was needed. This suggests that before this date an EPC is not required, even though the government is suggesting it has been a legal requirement since the 2007 EPB regulations came into force, which was 1 October 2008. Confusing?!?

    I also read that it was unclear what the status of the 30 June deadline has because no new regulations were passed in relation to holiday lets.

    Furthermore, the Trading Standards Institute complained to Local Government Regulation (a local government trading standards coordination body) that the guidance stating that holiday lets do require EPCs was issued without any consultation to the Trading Standards Institute or trading standards advisers.

    I have heard suggestions that it is only government guidance and not law, i.e. it is not legally enforceable. Members of the Trading Standards Institute believe that holiday let properties should be exempt from the requirement to have an EPC because a holiday let is hired not rented. This view is also supported by the English Association of Self Catering Operators, which obtained legal advice from a senior barrister, who told them: ‘It is very unlikely that an EPC is necessary and that any local authority is going to launch a prosecution.’

    This all suggests that holiday let owners need not obtain a EPC, but for the sake of £50-£60, how many would take the risk? I’m sure many would rather pay £60 than have to deal with the potential hassle and expense of a prosecution.

    What are your thoughts?

    Reply
  4. Peter

    Devon Trading Standards, amongst others, have said that they will not be policing the regulations as they are not yet law and they do not agree with them anyway. The matter has been raised in Parliament as the UK (excluding Scotland and NI) looks to be the only country in the EC insisting on Holiday Lets being included in the legislation. The DCLG minister said in his reply that he thought the EC regulations had been ‘gold plated’ by his Department and they were currently looking at reversing them. Advice of EASCO is to prepare to get one but wait until the law is clarified before actually getting one. Trading Standards have far more important things to look after than worry about fining the odd Holiday let owner, believe me.

    Reply
  5. Ian Besford

    Coming at this link late in the day, the requirement for a certificate does not apply if the property is listed.

    Reply
  6. Carlo

    So an EPC may be required, but at what rating? My cottage is a G, if I let it to residential tenants it needs an E minimum. DO I need an E for holiday lets?

    Reply
    1. Sarah Jarvis Post author

      Hi Carlo, thanks for visiting our site. There is mixed opinion with regard to this – please see our comments on our article above and you may wish to contact BEIS to gain clarification.

      Reply
  7. Keith Parkin

    With regard to your News and Updates section on EPCs please see the reply I received from EPBD (Dated 19th November 2018) after I queried whether I required an EPC for my holiday let.
    They state that “providing the guests are not charged for energy consumption whilst occupying the property, then an EPC is not required”.
    This does clarify the situation and should ‘put our minds to rest’.

    Reply

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