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What to do if you think your Energy Performance Certificate is incorrect?

There are several circumstances within which you might think your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is wrong. You may have moved into a new home and found that you use much more energy than the EPC implied. These circumstances can be frustrating and you may want to seek out ways to complain. It is important that you don’t react quickly and look at all your options.

This blog looks into what the EPC’s role is and the steps you can take to complain about your EPC.

What is the EPC?

The role of the EPC is to give you, the homeowner or buyer and idea of the cost of running the heating, hot water and lighting in your property. If you or the previous owner of your property has given incorrect information regarding the heating then the EPC will obviously be incorrect. If you have just moved into a new home and your first bill is significantly larger than you EPC suggests, even after taking into consideration the fuel price increase since the EPC was issued, then your EPC may be inaccurate.

Who do you turn to?

If you think there is an error with your EPC then there are two agencies you can contact who should take responsibility for the error. The first is the domestic energy assessor who issued the certificate and then the second is the accreditation scheme the assessor is licensed by.

Who should I contact first?

Contact the assessor first. You can find the details of the assessor on the EPC itself and you can ask them to re-assess your home based on the concerns you have. Your concerns may be that they recorded the wrong appliance on the EPC or that they didn’t take into account another factor. Your energy assessor should take responsibility for the error however if you don’t get a satisfactory response then you can appeal to their accreditation scheme that should also be on the EPC.

Contacting the Estate Agent

If you have just bought your home and you feel like it was advertised incorrectly then you might want to contact your estate agents to complain. You will be in a particularly good position if you still have a copy of the original advertisement for the property that has incorrect information about the home and its heating. You should complain in writing first to the agent explaining your situation and their role in the miscommunication. If you don’t get a satisfactory response to that then you should pass your information on to the property ombudsman. The property ombudsman will be able to censure agents and offer you a financial reward if you can prove you have suffered a financial loss as a result of the estate agents actions. Even though the amount you will get is usually not as much as you would hope, you may be able to get enough to help towards high-energy bills or new insulation.

If you want to take it further:

There are two other agencies that you can appeal to if your agent is registered with them. They are the RICS agency or the National Association of Estate Agents. Both of these agencies have a complaints procedure and the power to discipline estate agents who are acting inappropriately.

Additional options:

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of complaining, as the above procedures can take a long time sometimes longer than 8 weeks, you can decide to fix the issues you are having with your home. You can look into the options available under the new Renewable Heat Incentive program where the government will issue you with payments to install a renewable appliance in your home. You can add additional insulation in your loft or wall cavity. You can deal with draughts in your home by doing a number or draught-proofing changes in your home. You can install solar panels to help generate your own electricity. There are many options available to you.

Have you had any concerns for your EPC in your new home or existing home? What did you do to solve the problem? Do you have any extra advice for those going through the same problems?

10 Comments to What to do if you think your Energy Performance Certificate is incorrect?

  1. November 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    As a company we produce in the region of 10,000 EPCs each year. Thankfully the proportion of defective EPCs we see is less than 0.5%.

    We do however often field enquiries from Householders whose EPC rating has not met their expectation. This can arise when significant amounts of money have been spent on renewable technologies which in some cases show a minimal uplift in rating. Air Source Heat Pumps and Biomass Boilers would be two examples of this.

    The forthcoming changes to RdSAP should address some of the issues where specific technology or combinations of such cannot be recorded at present. Each RdSAP update undoubtedly makes for more accurate EPCs

  2. November 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    This article is accurate as far as the advice for complaining goes, but it needs to be made clear that an EPC is not a guide to how much your energy bills will be. The heat demand estimates on a domestic EPC don’t cover everything on your bill, and are only a generalised, software-generated guide to how much it may cost to heat your home – and there has been recent controversy about these estimates. Your overall energy bill will be higher than the heat demand estimates anyway, and your heating energy use could be higher or lower than the estimates seem to suggest.
    If your EPC says that you have electric heating when it’s all gas you should certainly make a complaint (providing the system hasn’t been changed since the EPC was done) but finding that your energy bill is appreciably higher than the EPC suggests does not nevessarily mean that the energy assessor has got it wrong.
    Terry Wardle
    Ecitor, Energy Assessor Magazine

  3. November 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Chris, don’t know how you can be sure only 0.5% are inaccurate, do you visit after the DEA has been?

    I am a qualified DEA who is also a surveyor and I always check the EPC when I carry out a survey for a buyer. Sadly I find errors on the vast majority of the EPCs I check, certainly well over 75%. Admittedly some are minor, but the most common is mismeasurement.

  4. David Stewart's Gravatar David Stewart
    March 18, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I have just had an EPC. The assessor incorrectly assumed that there was no insulation in the loft space. He claimed that he wasn’t insured to go there. How can you make an assessment without looking at something as fundamental as loft insulation?!

  5. John Wells's Gravatar John Wells
    April 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I have just moved into a house built in 1989. The epc states that it does not have underfloor insulation (it does) and that cavity wall,as built, insulated (assumed) . It does NOT have C/W insulation.
    I have contacted both the surveyor and his Acc. sc. and they refuse to change the certificate stating that :- their software is gov. approved, award winning , so therefore their certificate is correct !!!!

  6. Phil Gain's Gravatar Phil Gain
    October 28, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I have an EPC for house I have purchased which is incorrect in that it states that there is cavity wall insulation and there is not. It also stated that there was a room in the roof which there is not. As a result I cannot get a grant for either of these.

  7. Sam O's Gravatar Sam O
    May 11, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I bought a house where the EPC was good, suggesting only improvements would be a new boiler and solar panels. It said brick cavity insulated walls ‘assumed’. This was true of the ground floor, but it later transpired that the entire first floor of the house was constructed of only plasterboard on a timber frame, with no insulation at all, so guess where all the heat went! The house is freezing. I also had a Homebuyer Survey Report carried out at the time which didn’t notice this as the view was ‘obstructed’ in both the loft and storage eaves. After complaining to the RICS surveyor they said it was not there job to check this and the EPC company was to blame.

  8. Amanda Huddleston's Gravatar Amanda Huddleston
    November 11, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    The EPC on the property we are buying states it is 35m2 when it is 68m2
    Major error. How do I get it rectified? Assessor not replying to emails (as completed in 2009)

  9. Malcolm R's Gravatar Malcolm R
    March 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I was buying a property
    EPC gave

    A. 4 stars for gas boiler with rads, boiler 21 years old, turns out that it’s, 65% efficiency, off bottom of EU efficiency scale

    B. 4 stars for insulation in loft room,assumed. There was non, you could walk into loft storage area, floorboarded, and see no insulation.

    C. 1 star for hot water provided by electric immersion heater. But there is a gas boiler. Vendor says there is a gas boiler.

    7 weeks for company to review and reissue certificate.

    Mentioned that C. (Above) seemed strange to the Estate Agent. Said we will have to get it changed. 11 weeks later it’s not done.

    Is there legal liability on anyone for losses incurred for conveyencing, property survey etc in such a situation? There are 3 properties in the chain. Is there any case law? Would a trading standards body help me to generate a legal case?

    immersion heater

  10. Nick Gough's Gravatar Nick Gough
    May 13, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I have just had an EPC and the assessor never asked for proof of my current energy consumption but stated on the certificate what my consumption is estimated. The error is further compounded by then suggesting minor improvements from which it states that savings of over %50 could be made on my actual energy consumption!
    This EPC appears to be based on estimates and assumptions that are legitimised by gov. approved software. Unnaceptable

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