Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) were introduced by the government in 2011. Related to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), the legislation prevents landlords from renting out F and G rated properties.
From April 2019 landlords have been required to demonstrate it would cost more than £3,500 to improve their property to a minimum ‘E’ rating before letting to a new tenant. From April 2020 this will apply to all existing tenancies.
The regulations were introduced to improve the quality of private rented buildings in England and Wales and to increase the energy efficiency of the worst performing houses and buildings. In addition, these regulations aim to improve the comfort and conditions in private rented homes and reduce fuel poverty.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. Before a property is marketed to sell or rent, an EPC for potential buyers and tenants must be provided. An EPC contains:
- Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
- Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to a G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. Landlords can be fined if they don’t get an EPC when they need one.
What actions should landlords take?
Landlords must ensure all their properties have a valid EPC.
Properties with older EPCs might have already undergone work to meet the standards but the current EPC may no longer reflect the energy efficiency of the property. Landlords should check their EPCs and consider renewing them if they have undertaken the appropriate works already.
Landlords should start planning for 2020 by reviewing the recommendations in their EPC that will suggest ways to improve their properties rating.
Improvements can include:
- Boiler renewal
- Installation of radiator thermostats
- Upgrade and install loft insulation
- Install cavity wall insulation
- Install energy efficient light bulbs
Helpful advice and guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of properties can be found on the Simple Energy Advice website.
Are some properties exempt from the scheme?
There are several situations where a property will become exempt from the regulations however landlords must register this exemption and provide supporting evidence.
Exemptions are defined as:
- High cost exemptions
- 7-year payback exemptions
- All improvements made exemptions
- Wall insulation exemptions
- Consent exemptions
- Devaluation exemptions
- New landlord exemptions
Find out more about exemptions on gov.uk.
How do MEES affect Selective Licensing
As from 1 April, Landlords who apply for a selective licence will only be eligible for a five licence if they provide an EPC which proves they meet these standards. Those properties that fall below an E rating will only be eligible for a one year licence (unless they are on the exemption register). When this licence expires, they can apply for a five year licence provided they have carried out the works to bring them up to the minimum standard of an E rating.
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