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Written by rosalind renshaw

Buyers could not care less about Energy Performance Certificates, a property search company has said.

County Homesearch, which has 26 offices countrywide, said this morning that EPCs, introduced in 2007, are redundant. It said EPCs are never mentioned by buyers, sellers or agents, and have no role to play.

The company said it has never come across a single case where buyers have queried the energy performance of a home to negotiate on price – and added that the EPCs are often of lamentable quality.
 
The company poured cold water on the claim by the Department of Energy and Climate Change that sellers making energy improvements to a property could boost its value by up to 38%.

Jonathan Haward, spokesperson for County Homesearch said: “With extensive knowledge of what is happening on the ground, it safe to say the EPC is a blunt instrument and has made no discernible difference to housing stock in the country.

“Aside from the fact that the reports can sometimes be inaccurate and incomplete, buyers prioritise factors such as aesthetics, transport links and security over energy efficiency.

“The structural survey is usually relied upon for in-depth information on levels of insulation which is an indication to energy consumption within a property.
 
“Buyers that go for larger period properties or listed properties are least interested in energy efficiency. They proceed, aware they are likely to be drafty and have higher heating costs, ignoring the EPC report even if one is applicable.”
 
His colleague Richard Le Neve Foster, director at County Homesearch Thames & Chilterns, agreed.

He said: “My experience of EPCs is that the information is often inaccurate or inappropriate. 

“I saw one recently that recommended double glazing to be installed on a listed building and a recommendation for a new efficient gas boiler when the property ran on heating oil and did not have connection to mains gas.”
 

Comments

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    Does anyone ask for an MOT on a car if they rent it? No!!!
    And when you come to buy one you get given the MOT certificate.
    If the government introduce the rating that will effect your council tax...lets just see the scramble for updated EPC's.

    • 16 September 2013 15:57 PM
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    'Ampersat'? - hmmm... okay - I can relate to that! Ampersat it is then.
    Better than Hashtag or such nonsense.
    Tw@tter has so much to answer for in my opinion...

    • 27 June 2013 20:56 PM
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    Will that do Peebee? You can chose
    Mr Ampersat for formal dressing downs and legal correspondance, either At or @ for less formal conversation and darling when we are alone.

    • 27 June 2013 18:22 PM
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    Message to the '@' chap:

    Sir - we need a proper monicker for you. I'd hate someone else to mistake you for another poster a la moi - so how's about you give yourself a snappy handle that we can all relate to.

    Just remember - 'Happy Chappy' is spoken for... as is 'Fun Boy Agent', 'rantnrave' and of course 'David Bennett' - but there's loads of unique names left for you (that DON'T involve the bleeding '@' sign!)

    So - what do we call you? ;o)

    • 26 June 2013 16:32 PM
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    Mr Bennett - you seem to have a fixation with monkeys:

    "I accept that there are some inaccurate EPCs out there, but if some assessors is getting paid peanuts, you have to accept monkeys."

    And from another, related thread a few days ago:

    " I just hope that you have a good DEA working with you... If you pay peanuts you get monkeys, not recognising the difference between a cavity wall and timber frame construction."

    So... I repeat my previous questions you saw fit not to answer:

    Please tell us, Sir, how do we mere mortal Agents differentiate said "good" from said "monkey"?

    And more to the point - why should we care? The EPC is still done - the public still don't give a fuppeny tuck about them - so what's the problem?

    Whatever "YOU", the "good", and the "monkeys" do to "save the planet", the earth will still be enveloped in a ball of fire and gas in four billion or so years when the sun goes supernova.

    And as I said previously, your OWN carbon emissions back and forward from each home you assess should be taken into account somewhere!

    Are you there to respond THIS time??

    • 26 June 2013 16:17 PM
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    I don't know if he hasn't looked at the other thread or is just ignoring it but there is stuff on the other thread which blows this whole Eco tosh out of the water. David seems not to concerned about discussing the whole degree day business that makes it un economic to remedially rectify property.

    It doesn't help that cavity wall insulation is now spawning a new industry, removing insulation that is causing condensation and penetrating damp.

    David hasn't helped his business by his unjustified swipe at ludite agents.

    • 24 June 2013 19:21 PM
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    David,

    I hope you save all the passion for EPCs just for the forums or you must be a joy at dinner parties!

    Right, no one is saying what you do isn’t a worthy job, bit of EU flim flam and a whole industry is built and im sure that the odd buyer thinks about the energy rating and has work carried out when they move in its just you are on an EA website where we all sell houses for a living and are sharing market intelligence with you. We all stick the rating on the ads and details etc, but buyers do not make it a big deal, its not our fault, weve splodged the charts all over the show – where else do you want them? its not like the consumer can miss them

    Point is, you’ve obviously got a nice business and its all on the back of ‘law’ so relax and enjoy it we will keep ordering them, admittedly your industry has had a race to the bottom on prices that is astonishing but until they (EPCs) influence taxes of any kind no one is bothered, if and when they do they will be, including me

    Jonnie

    • 24 June 2013 17:56 PM
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    Legislation is already on the way for 2018!

    If a commercial building achieves an 'F' or a 'G' it will be banned from rental until improvements are made lifting the rating to an 'E' as a minimum. I suspect the same will also be applied to residential rentals. And if you think there aren't that many F or G's you'd be very much mistaken, the DCLG's own data suggests and average rating of 'E' (or manipulated...a 'D').

    Maybe not true taxation, but consider the financial implications of this for a large commercial building sitting idle...or in fact any rental down time is lost revenue and a direct cost for the Owner...indirect taxation I guess!

    I firmly believed from day one in August 2007 this was going to be a 3 pronged attack:

    1) measures all building stock.
    2) be seen to provide incentive to improve (RHI, FIT, Green Deal).
    3) Issue a drop dead date for all properties to have an EPC regardless of circumstance. Then clobber us all with taxation.

    ...As Government receipts dwindle worldwide the search for new ways of securing an income is obvious...this is where carbon comes in...new gold!

    We already accept we pay more road tax the more emissions our vehicles kick out, the mindset of paying more for the least efficient is already embedded in us. So it's not too far a step to hit property in the same way and the EPC rating makes it possible.

    There are much bigger things at play worldwide than the moaning of a few EA's could ever stop.

    • 24 June 2013 13:54 PM
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    Anthony K - just because viewers don't ask to see the 4 page EPC, don't assume that 'nobody is looking at them (EPC)'. Most buyers are sellers and will have had an EPC on their home, which should have been explained to them, so they are wiser about saving money than you you give them credit for. EPCs are easily downloaded from Landmark, the EPC register.

    I suspect that Council Tax will be based on the humble EPC, probably in the next 5 years. Homes with low EPC Ratings will pay the penalty, for being wasteful with energy.

    • 24 June 2013 13:50 PM
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    IHS - I already do this, as I am sure most DEAs would. However, I need to advised of the improvements, usually by the buyer. I often don't charge for the re-visit, but then I am recommended by independents, so enjoyed a reasonable fee to begin with.

    Atodds - totally agree with everything you said. I would underline, that agents should take time out to understand the EPC.

    DECC should not have made the claim that The Green Deal and/or EPCs add value to a property. It is the improvements made that add the value. A well insulated home, means the boiler fires up less often, so costs less to run.

    • 24 June 2013 13:45 PM
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    Atodds is spot on:

    Whilst nobody looks at the EPC now, don't underestimate the clever Civil Servants who will recommend a carbon or energy use tax on inefficient homes.

    Government can't introduce this until a large enough 'critical mass' of homes have EPCs. Once enough homes have them, it might become compulsory to get one done, not just when selling a home, but when changing a light bulb so all homes can be taxed.

    I've been warning of the threat of these taxes since the EPC was introduced and suspect it was the 'real agenda' behind the Home Information Packs.

    The EPCs may be inaccurate now, but once they are the basis for taxation they will be very closely scrutinised and incompetent inspectors will be dismissed.

    A good reason for buying new homes now perhaps?

    • 24 June 2013 11:27 AM
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    OK there are 2 problems here:

    There are so many assumptions on most EPC's and inaccurate data entry they don't actually measure what they were set up do, i.e. guess energy costs. We need to take a giant step backwards and start comparing EPC and the new occupancy assessments to actual bills, swallow hard, rewrite the software and properly train the DEC's. When the do what they are supposed to do maybe the industry would have some more confidence to tackle the bigger problem.

    Nobody is looking at them.

    • 24 June 2013 10:15 AM
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    Quite aside from the way the EPC has been 'Sold' into the market by the previous Government, and continues to be by this coalition, it a European Directive...end of...there is no opting out!

    Labour were blamed for 'gold plating' the requirements of the Directive, and the coalition in the case of Public Building DEC's is in danger of incurring an infraction...to you and me that means Europe taking legal action and fining us all.

    So, as sure as eggs are chickens the EPC provides the 27 member states with a wrapper sold to everyone as of benefit to them when the reality is:

    A) A means of tracking every property transaction.
    B) A perfect vehicle for a future carbon based property taxation scheme.
    C)

    A structural survey has nothing to do whatsoever with energy demand or CO2 emissions giving rise to carbon emissions. Such a comment shows a total lack of knowledge or understanding of how buildings perform and why. Sure it may provide detail on insulation being observed in a cavity wall (providing a borescope was used), as to the thickness, type and thermal conductivity of the insulation it wouldn't...so converting this information into a quantified indication of energy consumption is laughable.

    You can carry on kidding yourselves that 'Buyers' have no interest in energy consumption, with energy security and pricing continuing to dominate the news...only an idiot would ignore the running costs of a property whether based on a methodology or not...the EPC is the best tool available at this time...sure it has a long way to go in development and how it presents the information to the reader.

    Energy costs are quickly becoming the second highest outgoings to a domestic dwelling after mortgage or rent, regardless of CO2/Carbon emissions considerations.

    "inaccurate or incomplete"...without access to the raw data input file I don't know how any reader whether a qualified Assessor, Agent or Buyer would be able to make this statement. An incomplete EPC would not lodge and therefore could not be issued, and only a full audit would reveal inaccuracy.

    Listed buildings are now exempt from the EPBD regulations providing they are listed on English Heritage or the Welsh equivalent. Previous recommendations to double glazing for listed buildings in the early stages of the EPC could be removed by the Assessor, the it was decided to leave them in by the DCLG and make it the responsibility of the Buyer to establish if it were possible, which is fair given Councils varying from one to another in what they will and will not allow. Modern sympathetic window designs now make this less of an issue for Conservation Officers.

    As for the boiler recommendation, ok this may have been an error, or may be a recommendation for a fuel switch...as mentioned earlier without a full audit we can't say...

    Richard Le Neve Foster should report this EPC to the Accreditation body who will in turn call an audit on the EPC and verify what has taken place. This is standard practice where an EPC is doubted...you should all know this!?

    As for boosting value, this is just complete and utter rubbish...DECC should have known better than to make statements like this. £10K worth of PV would be no more value enhancing than a £10K conservatory, it just might attract different Buyers or prompt other considerations.

    • 24 June 2013 09:33 AM
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    One weakness with the EPC system is that there is no simple way, other than another full survey, of upgrading the EPC where an improvement to a property has been made. Surely it would not be difficult for an Energy Assessor to amend an EPC for a small fee if evidence of an upgrade was provided - copy of an invoice for installing double glazing for example

    • 24 June 2013 09:32 AM
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    Totally agree with Ian S. Also, if agents showed a bit of interest in the EPC, they could use it to their vendor's advantage. Whilst it is the vendor that provides the EPC, many buyers do look at it and find useful ways to reduce their energy bills. Whilst understandably being the reluctant vehicle to ensure EPCs are in place, it is a pity that agents don't try to understand them. I accept that there are some inaccurate EPCs out there, but if some assessors is getting paid peanuts, you have to accept monkeys. This tends to be via corporates, which arrange them via panels, charging the client £100 and the assessor is paid £30-35. Independents, tend to use local assessors, who provide a service and take time to explain the EPC to your vendor ans who are paid sensible fees.

    • 24 June 2013 08:54 AM
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    I'm asked frequently during viewings about the energy rating, on sales and lettings. Previous cold winters have alerted people to the importance of the EPC.

    • 24 June 2013 08:43 AM
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    Perhaps Mr Haward should be asking why? Surely if buyer's agents encouraged buyers to negotiate the price down on houses that will be expensive to run and sellers agents actually sold the benefits of houses being cheap to run, or coming with an income from the FiT, not only would EPCs have value but agents would actually be earning their fees.

    • 24 June 2013 08:32 AM
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    totally agree with all above, useless bit of paper

    • 24 June 2013 07:39 AM
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