The introduction of MEES by the Government is something landlords must take seriously – or they could be looking at a huge fine.
What Is MEES?
MEES – or Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – have been put in place by the Government to cover all commercially-let properties. The regulations were brought in on April 1 and could cost landlords a fine of £5,000 if they fail to comply. It will also mean that, if your property has an EPC rating of F or lower, you will not be able to grant a new tenancy longer than six months.
Why has MEES been introduced?
Firstly, this helps the Government reach carbon reduction targets if homes are more energy efficient. It has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 57% before 2030 (from 1990 standards). It is estimated almost a fifth of commercial properties currently have EPC ratings of F or G. It also benefits the tenants because a more effectively insulated home means they should spend less on heating it.
What Is An EPC Rating?
An Energy Performance Certificate measures the energy efficiency of a property. A survey is carried out on a property to check up on insulation, heating systems and the effectiveness of blocking draughts through windows and doors. They range from A (the best possible rating) to G (the worst). Newer properties often have better ratings while older properties traditionally use more energy.A rental property’s EPC lasts for 10 years.
I Thought I Was Exempt?
MEES Regulations were introduced in April 2018, demanding that rented properties with new or renewed tenancy contracts had to have an E rating or higher. Back then the rules brought in meant landlords who could not secure Government assistance to bring properties up to an E rating could claim for an exemption.
As of April 1, 2019, this is no longer the case. There are exemptions for properties which will cost more than £3,500 to be able to reach the necessary criteria, but you will still have to stump up that initial amount.
There are exemptions in place for listed buildings which would see their character altered and residential buildings intended to be used for no more than four months every year (the same rule applies for rented holiday accommodation).
How Much Will This Cost Me?
To put it bluntly, as much as £8,500 if you don’t comply. The bulk of that amount – £5,000 – would come in the shape of a fine if you don’t act. The remaining £3,500 could be the costs it may take to eventually get the property up to standard. That means it is obviously in your best interest to act fast. But don’t let the figure of £3,500 scare you too much, the average cost is estimated to be £1,200 per property. Also, the average EPC rating for UK properties is D, so you may not need to make any alterations.
How Do I Improve My EPC Rating?
Anything that reduces the need for heating will help. This can include insulation, double glazing, low energy lighting or solar panels. Take a look at the rest of our blog, featuring insight into what landlords need to know to ensure they stay within the law and keep their tenants happy.