New research from Consumer Focus shows that tenants and homebuyers are basically ignoring Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).
According to the survey, prospective buyers and tenants found the certificates, which landlords and homeowners are legally required to provide when selling or letting a home found that four out of five people had not acted on any of their recommendations to make their new home more energy efficient and save money.
Also, only 20% of people felt the EPCs influenced their decision to buy or rent property.
Interestingly though when buying a new home, energy efficiency was very important, coming just behind price and size.
EPCs are vital to the success of the Government’s Green Deal, which aims to cut carbon emissions from homes.
Whilst the Government’s announced in January that accredited Green Deal providers will be able to contact homes with EPCs to offer tailored advice, this advice must be relevant, accurate and be compared with other offers. Hand in hand with this, information on the certificates themselves must be improved to help consumers make informed decisions on the energy efficiency of their homes.
Liz Lainé, energy expert at Consumer Focus, said: “Too many landlords and estate agents are getting away with selling and renting properties to people who have no idea how much heat their new home will leak.
If prospective buyers and tenants could easily compare how much their energy bills are likely to be in different properties, they could negotiate a price based on their new home’s energy efficiency.”
Consumer Focus advises prospective home buyers and tenants to:
- Use the EPC to see how much they could save – the certificates include a list of improvements from which a property would benefit. Consumers can get more information from organisations like the Energy Saving Trust on costs, savings and access to grants or other assistance available in their area.
- Use the EPC to negotiate on price – the worse the energy rating of a home, the more it will cost to heat. This can be taken into account when choosing a home and used to help negotiate a better deal
- Report people selling or renting property without an EPC – Landlords and sellers who do not supply an EPC are breaking the law and are liable to a penalty charge. Consumers should report them to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
MoneyHighStreet.com comment: From personal experience I know how poor some landlords in particular are at providing EPCs. It is vital that they do provide them but even more vital that they are revamped to provide information that does allow consumers to use them effectively. With energy bills rising, ensuring we use less energy, as well as pay the lowest price possible, is becoming increasingly important.