A report has claimed 2.5 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are wrong because of flaws in measurement standards and practices.
The investigation by property technology solution, Spec, discovered around half of EPCs were so inaccurate the properties would need to be re-graded leaving many below the legal standard for rent. It could mean tens of thousands of landlords could be breaking the law.
Spec’s report revealed old-fashioned methods used by Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA) to measure properties showed average discrepancies of more than 8.6% or 87 square feet.
It said that one in four EPCs recorded the size of a property so inaccurately, they varied by more than 10% from the true size of the property.
Floor space, said Spec, was a key component when in the calculations used by DEAs to provide the energy rating for a property. If the floor space measurements were wrong, the final EPC rating would be inaccurate. As little as a 1% change could result in a one point alteration in EPC score, which could alter the overall rating.
Importance for landlords
The requirement for landlords to achieve an A to E rating for their property to be legally let makes the accuracy of EPCs particularly important for this sector.
Residential landlords can be fined thousands of pounds of their property does not meet these rating requirements.
Anthony Browne, senior adviser to Spec, said: “Our study reveals that it’s not really a case of if your EPC is measured inaccurately, but how much it is measured inaccurately. Inaccurate EPCs present serious challenges and risks not only to property professionals, consumers and estate agents – but also the environment.
“It means tens of thousands of landlords are unwittingly renting out their properties opening them up to the risk of fines of thousands of pounds through no fault of their own.”
In the report, entitled Impacts of Inaccurate Area Measurement on EPC Grades recommended the EPC procedures were reviewed to ensure consumers were properly informed and had confidence in the data they were provided.
It said new technologies, such as that provided by Spec, which laser scanned properties in 3D, provided a basis for this review.
Spec said it offered affordable, insured and accessible measurement tools for floor space, which allowed EPCs to be produced much more accurately than has previously been possible. The Spec white paper makes a series of recommendations to help estate agents, consumers and industry professionals to avoid legal liability and ensure that properties are being marketed with accurate EPCs.
Browne added: “Measuring the energy efficiency of buildings accurately is essential in limiting their environmental impact and tackling the bigger global issue of climate change. If you are not measuring the problem properly, you won’t tackle it effectively.
“Until now there has not been a viable option available to overcome these issues – but now there is. There is no longer any excuse for having inaccurate EPCs.”