If you are a landlord and the title of this article means nothing to do, then you really should read what follows with some urgency!
Way back in 2015, the government passed legislation relating to let properties in England and Wales. Those new laws said, in summary, that by 2018 any property being let must meet certain Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) before the landlord could conclude the letting agreement.
That meant that the by now familiar Energy Performance Certificate or EPC, needed to carry a minimum rating of “E” or the property could not be legally let.
Since then, the government, various landlord associations and related media sources have all constantly issued reminders that the deadline was rapidly approaching. At the time of writing, the cut-off date of April 2018 is just a few short weeks away.
So, if you haven’t done something about it already, you really need to do so.
If you really have done nothing about MEES so far, here is a quick checklist of things you may need to consider as a matter of some urgency:
- check to see whether or not you have an EPC. If you do not, then your top priority should be to obtain one;
- if your property does not meet the minimum “E” rating, you may need to follow professional advice relating to what work you need to undertake in order to achieve the new minimum grade;
- note that this applies to both domestic and non-domestic properties. It applies in any situation where you are considering a new letting agreement or extending/changing an existing one for whatever reason;
- if you are running under an existing tenancy agreement that is not going to change, you do have a little more breathing space. In such circumstances, the new minimum energy efficiency levels must be achieved by 1 April 2020 for domestic properties and from 1 April 2023 for non-domestic properties.
Almost inevitably, there may be some who question whether this is a real issue or a bureaucratic exercise. If you’re so inclined, it’s worth keeping in mind that:
- your landlord insurance may be at risk in situations where, following a claim, you are found not to be in full compliance with the laws governing let properties;
- whilst it is true that historically the enforcement of some legislation was rather casual, there is no reason to believe that will be the case here. More recently, successive governments and politicians of all parties have shown a consistent determination to crackdown on landlords who are not complying with legislation;
- the legislation does provide for the categorisation of some properties as being “exempt”. An example might be a historic listed building. If the work required to meet the minimum energy performance standards was such that it would put at risk of the character of the ancient structure, then it might be granted an exemption. However, such exceptions will probably be rare and if you wish to apply for such status there is a formal procedure that you should engage with as soon as possible.
If you’ve done nothing so far about MEES, this really is one of the last warnings you might get. It’s time to take action now!