What are the new Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations and how will they affect landlords?
Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations first came into effect on April 1 2018, but from April 1 2020 they will now apply to nearly all domestic private rental properties. Properties are given an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) based on their energy efficiency that currently runs from A (the highest) to G (the lowest rating).
The new regulations are aimed at establishing a minimum standard of EPC band E for domestic private rented properties in England and Wales. This means properties that are rated F or G need to be brought up to the new minimum standard.
From April 2020 a landlord must not continue to let a property that has an EPC below E.
According to the Department for Business and Energy, the new regulations will affect 290,000 properties in England and Wales, accounting for 6% of the market.
If a rental property does not meet the minimum energy efficiency standard, landlords must make improvements to bring it in line with the new regulations before they let the property again.
Government figures put the average cost of upgrading a property to an EPC rating of E at £1,200.
Improvements up to £3,500 will have to come from the landlord’s own pocket but help is available for costs beyond that. If a property can’t be improved to EPC E for £3,500 or less, landlords can use support from the Energy Company Obligation scheme and local grants to fund improvements on their properties.
The regulations apply to domestic private rented properties that legally require an EPC and are let on an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy), a regulated tenancy, or a domestic agricultural tenancy. There are some circumstances where landlords may be able to claim an exemption – for example, if the building is officially protected – which must be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.
Local authorities have powers to check and ensure compliance and failure to comply could lead to fines of up to £5,000.