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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

In April 2016, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 brought into force Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in the residential and commercial Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Landlords must act to ensure that their housing stock is up to the required standards, especially in the case of commercial properties where change can take significantly longer to action.

From April 2018, domestic and non-domestic private rented properties which have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below an ‘E’ will require some energy efficiency improvements. Should Landlords fail to comply, they could face some  heavy financial penalties. Landlords and their agents if unsure of where they stand should start by commissioning an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate which will identify the current rating (which may have changed over time), and recommend opportunities for improvement.

The government has also expressed their wish to raise the standard further such that the minimum standard is likely to rise further to a ‘D’ rating by 2025 and a ‘C’ rating by 2030.

What’s changed For Landlords in April 2019 ? 

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015, previously provided a ‘no cost to landlords’ provision which allowed landlords to register a ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register. This exemption was used by landlords who were unable to make improvements to their property without impacting their own finances.

However, from the 1st April 2019 this provision will be removed which means that when third party funding (ECO, Green Deal, Grants etc) is unavailable, landlords will be required to fund improvements themselves.

Those who registered a ‘no cost to landlords’ exemption prior to the 1st April 2019, will also see their exemption period reduced from five years, with landlords now required to make the necessary improvements by April 2020.   

April 2018 

Government tell trade body New EPC rules will come in next April 2018
“Letting Agent Today”, an online magazine, has informed its readership that the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) met with senior officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and were told “in no uncertain terms” that the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are to be enforced from April 2018; and that the lettings sector need to prepare now.

AEA in Conjuction with Stroma UK has noted that the commercial lettings sector appears to have been more diligent with this legislation and are acting upon it. Businesses understand the risk of have ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated properties on their books and are either selling them or upgrading them. It is clear that some in the residential sector have either not known about the legislation or ignoring its impact. This strong message from Government sets out their intent.

Stroma UK have been preparing its energy assessor members with factsheets and training on this vital policy since before it came into Law in England and Wales in April 2016. We strongly advise landlords to discuss their property (or portfolio) with an experienced Stroma Energy Assessor, who can help them tailor the correct approach for the properties.

Landlords need to:

1 Obtain EPCs for their properties “its the Law”
2 Seek advice from Energy Assessors
3 Get new up to date EPCs if old or out of date – in order to make better informed decisions
4 Put a plan of action together to meet the requirements ahead of  April 18 Deadline

The RLA also suggest that Landlords that do nothing will be in a very real risk of be fined for not complying, whilst they also highlight the fact that tradesmen maybe busy over the deadline period.
Stuart Fairlie -Technical Director at “Elmhurst” confirms; “The new standards have been around since April 2016 and savvy landlords have been in discussions with Energy Assessors on how to best meet the requirements for their properties over the past couple of years.

The minimum standard of ‘E’ is for the vast majority of homes very easily achievable, through low cost energy efficiency improvements. The Government is clearly ensuring that the worst performing homes (‘F’ and ‘G’ rated) are brought up to better standards in attempt to eradicate fuel poverty.

Landlords need help in deciding what is best to do, no two homes are the same and the advice of experts will really help to make this journey smoother. There are grants and schemes available to Landlords, but they need to know where to look.”

AEA April 2019