MEES is coming – the implementation date is 1st April 2018.
MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) defines a set of regulations that rented properties will need to comply with. Fail to do so and you could be in line for a £4,000 fine.
This will have an impact on large numbers of landlords, so it’s in your interest to find out more about this now.
The full legislation and even the summary version runs to many thousands of words. As a result, here, we can only pick up on the bigger implications. It really would be sensible to read more of the detail behind this important government-led change.
Why MEES exists
For some time, successive UK governments have stated the need for greater energy conservation in homes and businesses.
This has resulted in various legislation and regulation that has had an effect in almost all sectors. In this instance, the particular focus is on domestic let properties and the responsibilities or obligations of landlords.
While the over-arching objectives are Green, there is also a clear drive to stop those landlords who refuse to spend money in energy conservation measures around their properties as they can simply pass on the consequential inefficient energy consumption costs to their tenants.
MEES – the principles
- from the 1st April 2018, all new lets and renewals of let residential properties will need to show that the property concerned has a minimum energy efficiency rating of ‘E’;
- from 1st April 2020, this will apply to all lets, including longer-term agreements.
Any work required to get an energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ or better, must be carried out before these dates.
There may be certain limited exceptions. That might include, for example, a listed property where energy conservation work cannot be carried out without potentially causing the two sets of legislation to be in conflict. Such exceptions must be applied for and once granted, kept on a public register.
What this means for some landlords, is that substantial work may be required within the next few months if fines are to be avoided.
While the legislation does not, in itself, state new landlord insurance requirements, there may be a knock-on effect.
Typically, landlord insurance policies may contain clauses to the effect that the property must conform to all prevailing laws and local regulations. Theoretically, if your property does not conform to MEES, that might be an issue.
You should speak to an expert provider of landlord insurance for clarification.
What it means for you
This appears as if it will mean significant expenditure for large numbers of landlords, particularly those who own older properties or those that are in need of updating.
The first stage in this would appear to be obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to see where your property is currently graded. To be clear, it will be an offence to let out a property rated at “F” or “G” after 1st April, though there may be some variations on that for some properties.
Action is required NOW to protect your interests!
At the time of writing, the government is considering making some changes to the legislation, though these are still under discussion. The above legislation-led requirements are therefore still officially in place.
There has also been some scientific evidence to suggest that EPCs have consistently under-estimated the insulating effect of solid walls (typically applicable to Pre-WWI properties and some after). The effects of this on future EPCs is not yet clear.
It would be wise though to continue on the assumption that the MEES changes are happening and that they may affect you.