It is estimated that around 33,000 properties across the UK may be unwittingly let illegally, according to research.
A recent study exploring the risks and impacts on the reliability of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) has found that tens of thousands of landlords across the UK could be renting out property illegally without knowing because they have should have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E.
A report by property technology firm Spec suggests that as many as 2.5 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the UK are wrong due to inaccurate measurement standards and practices, putting many landlords at risk of inadvertently breaking the law.
According to the report, the size of a property has been recorded so inaccurately that it varies by more than 10% from the actual measurement in around a quarter of all existing EPCs.
In fact, the report claims that current measurement techniques used by Domestic Energy Assessors’ (DEA) can lead to inaccuracies regarding floor space measurements. These techniques, the report claims, have created an average discrepancy on property areas of around 8.6% - around 87 sq ft.
Since April 2016, rules have been in place across England and Wales, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).
These regulations made it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.
Owners of the draughtiest homes – those rated in the worst energy bands, F and G – have been required since April to upgrade them to band E or be barred from agreeing new tenancies.
James D Marshall, founder and CEO at Spec, commented: “With the growing importance of EPCs, financially, legally and environmentally, it is crucial for owners to be aware of the effects that inaccurate property measurements could have on their EPC ratings. A property’s energy efficiency rating ranges from A-G, with G being the worst possible rating.
“We know that the government hopes to have homes in the private rented sector, and all fuel-poor homes, to be upgraded to EPC band C by 2030 under its Clean Growth Strategy. However this target currently remains fanciful due to the inaccurate measurements set in place.
“It’s also clear that property professionals must very carefully consider what services and systems their business is using. Properties being marketed with inaccurate EPCs are a legal liability both to the agents marketing them and the owners or landlord renting them.”