In our Jargon Buster series, we break down the terminology of the property industry to help you feel confident and in control of your home-buying journey. 

In this article, we’re discussing the term ‘Energy Performance Certificate’, and what it means when buying or selling a property in Scotland. 

What is an Energy Performance Certificate? 

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives information on how energy efficient a building is and how it could be improved.  

These requirements are closely linked with national efforts to reach net zero and the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing legislation is expected to make them increasingly important when selling. 

When do you need an EPC? 

You need an EPC when you are applying for a completion certificate for a new building, selling a building or renting a building to a new tenant. 

Are there any exceptions? 

Some types of buildings do not need an EPC such as: 

  • Standalone buildings (other than homes) with a useful floor area of less than 50 square metres. 
  • Temporary buildings which are planned to be used for two years or less. 
  • Buildings with a low energy demand (non-residential agricultural buildings or workshops). 
  • Buildings sold to be demolished. 

Where can you find the EPC of your property? 

If you have a Home Report, you will find a copy of the EPC within it.  

An EPC is valid for 10 years. EPCs rate the property’s energy efficiency from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient) and offer recommendations for improvements, with no obligation for sellers to carry these out. 

Recommendations report  

A 'recommendations report' is provided with an EPC which includes: 

  • Further details on the energy efficiency of the building 
  • How to improve the EPC 
  • Any potential costs 

What about buy-to-let properties? 

It is a breach of legislation to enter into a new tenancy of re-let your property if the EPC rating is below a C by 2025 and all properties within the Private Rented Sector need to be EPC rating C or above from 2028. Exemptions will be allowed where it can be demonstrated that reaching EPC C is not cost-effective or technically feasible. Local councils may give a landlord a civil penalty if their property does not comply with minimum standards and does not have a registered exemption.

What legislation is being brought in? 

Under Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing, all social landlords are expected to meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band B by the end of 2023. These are some of the most ambitious targets in the UK (most successfully met the target of EPC D and C, dependent on housing type, by 2020).  

A target of eradicating fuel poverty by 2040 has also been proposed by the Scottish Government. 

There have even been suggestions that ‘green mortgages’ will be introduced, offering better mortgage deals to purchasers of energy-efficient homes. 

There is also a motion in Parliament to make it compulsory to have inspections of tenement flats every year, as well as compulsory owners’ associations and a national reserve fund for repairs. 

How do you obtain an EPC? 

You can find an approved list of organisations that have the skills and expertise to produce an EPC here. 

When should you update an EPC? 

An EPC is valid for 10 years and when it expires it will need updated for a new sale or tenancy. 

If you sell or rent a building after making improvements or renovating, you may want tup to update the EPC so that any potential buyers have the most up-to-date information. 

Find out more 

If you’re interested in finding out more about buying a home, contact ESPC Mortgages for help and advice. 

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