Here is a question to the blog clinic from Andrew (not his real name) who is a tenant
I am a tenant of a property which I think may have been missold.
I moved in last October and immediately had problems, I had to keep the heating on virtually all the time otherwise the temperature dropped to uncomfortable levels – I work from home so I am in the house most of the time.
I also discovered that several windows were single glazed and there was no door between the kitchen and the rear porch so heat just poured out.
A friend of mine asked me if he could see the property energy performance certificate but I had no idea what he was talking about so I asked the agent. The agent initially said there wasn’t one but then sent me a copy and I discovered the house has a score of 12 which is exceptionally poor.
I am certain I was never shown this or provided a copy by the agent as if I had seen it I would have not taken the property. I have spent around £1,000 on heating bills since I moved in. Should the agent have told me about the low rating and can I claim compensation?
This question just goes to show how important it is to see the Energy Performance Certificate before you sign up for a tenancy. It can have a major impact on your bills – as Andrew has found out to his cost.
However Andrew, I think it is unlikely that you will be able to claim any compensation. Failure to provide an Energy Performance Certificate falls under the criminal law – the Local Authority can impose a £200 fine on your landlord but so far as I am aware, this does not entitle you to claim anything.
A tenant’s main route to compensation is be via the landlords statutory repairing covenants as set out in s11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 – but only if your landlord has breached them.
However from what you say, there does not appear to be any actual disrepair. Section 11 cannot help you if you want the property improved – for example you have no right to request double glazing if this is not already provided.
So although you can report the landlord and his agent to your Local Authority Trading Standards Office, so he gets his knuckles wrapped for failing to provide an Energy Performance Certificate – I can’t see that this will bring you any actual compensation.
Unless anyone else has any ideas?
Tenants reading this – learn from this and always ask to see the EPC when you are renting a property. The energy efficiency rating can seriously affect the heating bills you will have to pay. You should be provided with a copy with the property information or at the latest, before you sign the tenancy agreement.