UPDATE: I recently spoke with the ASSC to clarify a few points on this matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“EPC’s are currently required for holiday homes, however the ASSC believes the EU Directive is being misconstrued and the ASSC is actively working to get the requirement for an EPC withdrawn.
Until we receive clear confirmation from Scottish Government on the position, we would recommend holding off from obtaining an EPC at this time.”
Are you curious about the reasons why you could possibly need an EPC for your holiday let?
Did you even know you needed one?
If you don’t have an EPC for your holiday let, or aren’t currently displaying an EPC rating when advertising your property, you’re certainly not the only one!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be fined.
Not all holiday let owners are aware that an they actually need an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) when letting their property, and that they must now display their EPC rating on any ad – just like letting agents and landlords do (although Scotland vs England rules differ).
And the ones that do know? They’re up in arms about it, wondering why it’s needed for a holiday let in the first place. After all, you’re only letting out your property for a weekend break or relaxing week away – am I right?
Still, this is now an essential element of any holiday letting ad, and worryingly, a lot of people don’t seem to realise that it’s even required.
That’s why, as an experienced holiday letting agent, I’m going to talk to you about why an EPC is needed, along with some of the main benefits, and advice for your own holiday let.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Why you must display an EPC rating
I recently spoke to the Senior EPBD Manager at the Building Standards Division of the Local Government and Communities Directorate (part of the Scottish Government) to get some clarity on the matter.
She told me that yes, all holiday lets need an EPC under Scottish law – and all ads must have a clearly displayed EPC rating. In its simplest form, all you really need is: ‘EPC = [insert rating – C, for example].
However, looking at a lot of the holiday letting ads displayed online, I literally can’t find anyone apart from us that is doing this! The government said they wrote to every council last year advising of the change, but also that they’d grant some leeway to those who had already paid for advertising.
Saying that, it’s not an excuse for anyone who advertises online – all it takes is a quick change of text to ensure you comply. And the thing is, I can’t even find this vital component on big agency websites
PSST: Not sure if you have an EPC? You can use the Scottish EPC Register to check. Your EPC is valid for 10 years, and after that time it’ll cost around £90 – £100 + VAT to renew.
How does this compare to England?
In England, the rules are a bit different – they’re also different to a long-term let, where a property must have a minimum rating of E to be rented out.
For holiday lets in Scotland, there is currently no minimum rating right now (although like England, the minimum ‘E’ rating applies to long-term rents), but you should still be prepared that in the future, you’ll likely require the equivalent (E) or higher in order to let out a property.
Many people (including the ASSC) think this is unnecessary, as guests don’t actually pay directly for their heating use – well, in most cases, at least.
You do still see some people charging by the meter (although this is rare now), so for those guests it’s good to know that the heat they’re paying for isn’t just going out the drafty, single-glazed windows – or the uninsulated roof.
Advice from a holiday letting agent
Guests won’t just have the concerns above – they’ll also want to know about the environmental impact your holiday let has. And knowing that your carbon footprint is relatively low (or that you’re actively trying to improve it) should hopefully give you some peace of mind, too.
There is help out there to help you meet energy standards – especially if your property is older, with single glazing, no insulation, or with an old, inefficient heating system, you’ll be given advice in your EPC (and from the Energy Saving Trust) about what you can do to improve.
Even just adding energy saving lightbulbs can help you make significant savings on your energy bills, and get a higher EPC rating – which could in turn mean you’ll be able to pass some of those savings onto your guests!
PSST: Check out the Energy Saving Trust’s website to find out about the grants and advice currently available – I recommend checking back at regular intervals, such as the start, middle and end of the financial year.
This will be especially valuable if your rating is currently below E, as not taking action soon may mean that in the future, you won’t be able to let your property out until you comply.
Although some people think it is onerous, for me personally, it really is an opportunity to make your property more energy efficient and save you money – whilst also making your guests’ stay more enjoyable (that should really be no.1 on your list; it’s someone’s holiday, after all).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and that I’ve helped to shed some light on why you need an EPC for your holiday let. I’m absolutely gobsmacked by how few holiday let owners are actually following the regulations at the minute – and I’m guessing it’s because the majority don’t know!
Don’t be like them – and remember, you’ll need to renew your EPC every 10 years.
If you need some advice, one of the best things to do is to check out the Energy Saving Trust’s website (link above). Or even give them a call. They usually offer help to anyone looking to make improvements on their properties.
Do you have any EPC-related questions I could help with? If so, let me know in the comments’ section – or get in touch with me directly. I’d love to hear from you!