Agents join call for Radical Reform of "inaccurate" EPCs

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Letting agents’ trade body Propertymark has backed a call by consumer group Which? for radical reforms to Energy Performance Certificates.

Yesterday we reported that Which? slammed current EPCs for alleged inaccuracies and for being unhelpful to consumers.

Now Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, says: “Propertymark has long said that Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) could be better utilised through the introduction of a Property Passport to increase the uptake of energy efficiency improvements. 

“This would enable information to be transferable across building owners and help maintain a long-term decarbonisation goal for the building. 

“The process would not replace EPCs, but enhance them, creating an opportunity to capture EPC data digitally and add to it with other data over time. 

“A Property Passport would also provide detailed guidance on the actions required, and already undertaken, to improve the property, based on building fabric and operational data helping building owners and occupiers make decisions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.”

Which? was this week unstinting in its criticisms of EPCs and the assessors who write them.

Energy Performance Certificates can be riddled with inaccuracies and give unhelpful advice to property owners.

That’s the view of consumer service Which?

Which? selected 12 members of the consumer group who were homeowners across England, Wales and Scotland and booked EPC assessments on their behalf during February to March 2024 to find out how accurate EPCs are. 

Their properties were built between 1650 and 1999 and ranged from a one-bedroom flat to a five-bedroom detached house. 

Which? uncovered issues with the accuracy of the results and the recommendations that homeowners received.

One homeowner had their EPC survey done, but never received their certificate. The survey fee was refunded, but the homeowner was left in the dark about their home's energy efficiency. Of the remaining 11 participants, just one was ‘very satisfied’ with their EPC and only three said they were likely to recommend getting an EPC, based on this experience.

Most participants (eight out of 11) told Which? their EPC did not appear to be accurate - they said the descriptions of key aspects of their home like the windows, roofs and heating systems were incorrect. 

Several participants also felt that the recommendations suggested were unaffordable. One said that they felt draught proofing was overlooked in their EPC report despite their home having an open chimney and front door with single glazing.

Which? is calling for the next government to reform EPCs to make them a more reliable and useful tool for householders. In addition to addressing concerns about the accuracy and reliability of EPCs, Which? believes the design and content of EPCs should be reformed to ensure it provides consumers with the information and advice they need. This should include information to help consumers prepare for the transition to low-carbon heating. 

It says EPCs should also be made more interactive, so that consumers can input information so that the advice is more relevant to their circumstances. EPCs should also include up-to-date costings relevant to the type of property and provide links to any financial support and a database of installers belonging to government-certified schemes.

Via @LettingAgentToday