In the guide

This guidance is for Scotland

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on the energy performance of a building in a sliding scale from A (very efficient) to G (least efficient). An EPC is part of the Home Report and it enables potential buyers, tenants or building occupiers to consider energy efficiency of a building before making a commitment to the contract.

A recommendation report on how the building's energy efficiency rating could be improved is given with every report. Further information is required for buildings that are 'Green Deal' buildings. All buildings constructed, sold or rented require an EPC, with some exemptions.

Home Report

The seller of a home must give potential buyers a copy of the Home Report, which consists of three parts:

  • a single survey and valuation
  • a property questionnaire
  • an energy report

The single survey report tells potential buyers about the property. It gives an opinion of the property's market value and an estimated reinstatement (rebuilding) cost for insurance purposes. It includes accessibility information for people with particular needs and is compiled by a surveyor.

The property questionnaire covers 16 categories of information, including:

  • the council tax band
  • alterations, additions or extensions to the home
  • details of specialist works and guarantees
  • details of any notices that affect the property

The energy report gives the house an energy-efficiency rating. It provides information on the cost of running the property and contact details for further advice on how to make a home more energy efficient and save fuel costs. It also includes an EPC and information about how to make cost-effective improvements.

More information and examples of the documents contained within the Home Report can be found on the Scottish Government website. 

Exceptions to the duty to provide a Home Report include:

  • new housing and newly converted property not previously used in its converted state
  • right-to-buy homes
  • some holiday homes, which only have permission to be used for less than 11 months per year
  • unsafe property suitable for demolition 
  • non-residential properties
  • sales of mixed residential and non-residential properties when it is clear both types of property will be sold together - for example, a farm house with associated farm buildings
  • a portfolio of residential properties where two or more homes will be sold together and not in isolation

All properties that are intended to be used as a dwelling must have an EPC, even if they are exempt from the requirement to provide a Home Report. Potential buyers or tenants must be given a valid EPC for the building.

The Home Report must be provided to the potential purchaser within nine days and a reasonable charge may be levied for its provision to cover copying and postage costs. At the time of placing the house on the market the Home Report must not be older than 12 weeks. A house may be withdrawn from the market for a period of up to four weeks without the Home Report needing to be updated.  

Trading standards services enforce the duty to provide a Home Report and have the power to request production of a Home Report.

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Single survey and valuation

The single survey and valuation must be completed by a chartered surveyor. It gives information on the type, accommodation, neighbourhood, age and construction of the property. It also details the extent of the inspection and highlights anything that the surveyor could not inspect.

For each section - for example, gas, electricity, plumbing - an assessment is given in the form of a repair category:

  • category 1. No immediate action or repair is needed
  • category 2. Repairs or replacement requiring future attention, but estimates are still advised
  • category 3. Urgent repairs or replacements are needed now. Failure to deal with them may cause problems to other parts of the property or cause a safety hazard. Estimates for repairs or replacement are needed now

Information is also provided on accessibility, current valuation and rebuilding costs.

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Property questionnaire

The seller of a property must complete a property questionnaire for potential buyers. It includes length of ownership, council tax band, parking, alterations, central heating, services and guarantees. The information contained within it is intended to be useful to potential buyers in assisting them with the decision of whether to make an offer on the home and to speed up the conveyancing process.

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Green Deal information

The Green Deal is a scheme that enables householders to make energy saving improvements to their property with the costs being repaid through their electricity bills. This was previously funded by the Government but is still available through approved providers. The debt stays with the property and transfers to the new owners, so on the sale of a Green Deal property where loans remain outstanding further information is required on the EPC. This further information includes details on the improvements that have been made, the type of agreement, details of amounts payable and estimated savings. Further information on the Green Deal can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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What information will an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provide?

EPCs contain:

  • the address of the building or building unit
  • the asset rating for the building detailing the estimated amount of energy consumed and carbon dioxide emitted
  • a reference value
  • the energy performance indicator on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient)
  • the primary energy usage figure in kWh/m2/year
  • the energy assessor details (assessor's name, accreditation number, company name) and the date they issued the certificate
  • contain cost effective and technically feasible recommendations for improving the energy performance of the building or building unit with a statement that more detailed information is contained within the recommendation report
  • specified information, where the EPC relates to a Green Deal property, in relation to each Green Deal plan that has been entered into for that property; further information must be contained within the recommendation report 
  • a unique reference number
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Whose responsibility is it to obtain an EPC?

If the home is being offered for sale it is the responsibility of the seller to make a copy of the EPC available for inspection to the potential buyer. If a property is being rented it is the responsibility of the landlord to provide a copy of the EPC to the tenant as part of the tenant information pack.  

When the building is advertised for sale or let in commercial media the owner of the building must ensure that the energy performance indicator of that building or building unit is stated. This includes advertisement in newspapers, on the internet or in property particulars.

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Who prepares an EPC?

The Scottish Government publishes a list of approved organisations. All EPCs must be sent, by the member of the approved organisation issuing the document, to the relevant register before it is issued. A fee may be charged for its entry on to the register. Entry on to a register allows subsequent copies of the original document to be issued after registration.

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How much will it cost?

The cost of the EPC will vary from one company to another and you will have to shop around for the best price. However, it will also depend on other factors, including size, location and age of building.

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How long does it take to get an EPC?

This depends on the availability of the energy assessor you decide to choose. The assessment can be carried out within a few hours unless it's a large building. A report will then be prepared and issued within a reasonable period.

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For how long is an EPC valid?

An EPC is valid for a maximum of ten years. EPCs and associated recommendation reports issued for the purposes of complying with the Green Deal disclosure obligations will expire one year from the date of issue or date of request from the register.

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What if an EPC is not produced?

Trading standards services are responsible for the law regarding EPCs. Failure to comply with the requirements to produce or provide an EPC may result in a penalty charge notice.

Certain circumstances will dictate that an owner is not liable for a penalty charge; in these circumstances an EPC must be provided to the buyer or tenant as soon as practicable after sale or letting the building. This includes, for example, emergency lettings where there is not time to have an EPC produced before the tenancy begins.

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Public buildings

Public authority buildings frequently visited by the public, and with a floor area greater than 250 m2, must display an EPC in a prominent place clearly visible to visiting members of the public.

Other buildings frequently visited by the public with a floor area of 250 m2 only need to display an EPC if they have one.

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Exempt buildings

Some buildings do not need an EPC. These include:

  • stand-alone non-domestic buildings with a floor area of less than 50 m2 that are not dwellings
  • temporary buildings with a planned use of less than two years
  • workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand
  • properties marketed as, and sold for, demolition purposes
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Air conditioning reports

All air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12 kW must be regularly inspected by an energy assessor. The inspections must be a maximum of five years apart.

The inspection of your air conditioning systems by an energy assessor is designed to improve efficiency and reduce the electricity consumption, operating costs and carbon emissions for your system, and the report should include measures that could be undertaken to improve the energy efficiency of the building.

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Trading standards

For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.

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Key legislation

Building (Scotland) Act 2003

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Penalty Charge) Regulations 2007

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Prescribed Documents) Regulations 2008

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008


Last reviewed / updated: July 2021


In this update

No major changes

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.

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Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

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