Leading energy performance measurement specialist Elmhurst Energy is issuing a timely reminder as the tenth anniversary of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) becoming law approaches.

EPCs first came into law in England & Wales on 1 August 2007, as part of the Home Information Pack (HIPs) for domestic property sales with four or more bedrooms. Valid for a decade, they were rolled out with different milestones over the following years, for different property types and in different regions of the UK. Elmhurst Energy is now recommending that those responsible for checking the validity of EPCs must do more than simply check an EPC exists – they must ensure it is valid.

"Up to now everyone assumes that an EPC is valid if it simply exists," said Martyn Reed, Managing Director of Elmhurst Energy. "We are clarifying that this can no longer be assumed, and an extra check is required to ensure valid EPCs are in place for property sales and lettings.

"We advise all people and organisations that check the validity of EPCs to firstly obtain the EPC for the property – a simple check that it exists is no longer rigorous. Secondly, check the date of certificate, normally displayed on the first page, to identify if the document is legally valid. If it is older than 10 years then it is out of date."

The issue date of an EPC can be obtained from the National Energy Performance Certificate Registers, of which there are three in total: one for properties in England and Wales, one for Scotland and one for Northern Ireland.

Martyn continued: "We have written to the Government (DCLG) in England and Wales about the possible changes to the Registers to make it more obvious that EPCs are out of date. They have replied that they are minded not to alter anything on the Registers; thus it is down to enforcement agencies to understand that even though an EPC is available from the register, this doesn't mean it is a legally valid document."

Elmhurst Energy's reminder is timely as the new 'Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards' (MEES) in place in England and Wales prohibit private landlords from granting a new tenancy of a home or a non-domestic building with an EPC rating of  'F' or 'G' from 1 April, 2018.