What about MEES?
If you are a Landlord, Property Investor, Developer or Tenant, then the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficient Standard) will most likely affect you.
Whilst MEES is not new, it was originally introduced in March 2015 by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, which originates from the Energy Act 2011 (the Act which brought us the Green Deal policy), there is a new legal standard which will be introduced from April 2018.
So what does this entail? Well it is all to do with those colourful Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) which most people will already be familiar with; we should all be aware that an EPC is required to rent a dwelling and for England the EPC is part of the prescribed legal requirements before serving a Section 21 Notice.
From April 2018, the rating on an EPC will dictate as to whether an existing tenancy can be renewed and if a new tenancy can be created.
When an EPC is generated, the building is assessed and given an energy efficient rating that goes from A to G, with G being the worst performing andA the best performing. Along with the rating, the certificate provides recommended improvements in order to increase the property’s emergency performance rating. Landlords of buildings which have less than the minimum energy performance certificate rating of E, cannot have its tenancy renewed (applicable to existing tenancies) and cannot have a new tenancy created.
Furthermore, after April 2020, landlords must not continue to let any building which has an EPC rating of less than E.
Landlords of buildings with an EPC rating of F or G are required to carry out energy efficient improvements to bring the property up to at least an E rating before the property is rented out or an existing tenancy is renewed.
Bedsits & Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s)
Whilst there is no obligation to obtain an EPC for the letting of an individual non-self-contained unit within a property, for example a bedsit or a room within an house of multiple occupation (HMO) landlords of these type of properties may not be off the hook.
If the property in which the unit is situated already has a valid EPC (perhaps from a recent purchase or if it was once let as a whole unit) then the legislation still applies. If the EPC for the whole property shows a rating lower than E then improvements will be required before a new tenancy or renewal can be granted.
Valid EPC and updating a current EPC
An EPC is valid for 10 years after it is produced and a new EPC is not required with each change of tenant/tenancy, unless the current one is older than 10 years old. A Landlord is free to arrange for a new EPC to be carried out at any time; this is the best way for a Landlord to show that he and his property is now compliant with the regulation once works have been completed. If a new/voluntary EPC is produced whilst an older EPC is still valid, the new EPC will automatically become the current and relevant EPC, replacing the older one and will be valid from 10 years of its production.
This legislation has been put in place to meet obligations to improve energy efficiency in sub-standard/inefficient properties under the Energy Act 2011; this will also help contribute to meet the UK target of CO2 reduction.
This will be another regulation for the Local Authorities to be enforcing compliance. Compliance notices may be issued where they believe that a property has been let in breach of the regulations, or if an invalid exemption has been registered (see below regarding exemptions). There are of course, like most things in this world, a financial penalty tied with breaching this regulation. S single offence may have penalties cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000.
The penalties for on-compliance with the regulations will be as follows:
|Providing false or misleading information to the PRS Exemptions Register||£1,000 Publication of non-compliance|
|Failure to comply with a compliance notice from a local authority||£2,000 Publication of non-compliance|
|Renting out a non-compliant property (Less than 3 months non-compliance)||£2,000 fixed penalty Publication of non-compliance|
|Renting out a non-compliant property (3 months or more of non-compliance)||£4,000 fixed penalty Publication of non-compliance|
Additional penalties may be applied for non-compliance where a Landlord continues to rent a non-compliant property; however, the penalties would be cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000. A Landlord could be awarded a further penalty in one of the following situations:
- The tenant changes
- The regulatory backstop comes into effect
Financial Assistance and Funding
Your EPC will set out measures of improvement which may be suitable for your property, however an energy efficiency measure recommended for a property will only be ‘relevant’ for the purposes of this Regulation, where funding is available to cover the full cost of purchasing and installing the improvement(s) from one or more of the following:
- A Green Deal Plan
- Energy Company Obligation
- Funding provided by central government or local authority or third party at no cost to the Landlord
- A combination of any of the above.
If funding is not available to fully cover the cost of making the recommended improvement, then the landlord will not be required to make that improvement to the property. If this is the case, it is the responsibility of the Landlord to register their property as exempt – see below for details.
Landlords can contact Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 for general advice and assistance on energy efficiency funding.
There are exemptions to this regulation; if your property does not legally require an EPC then this will not apply to your property. Properties which are let on tenancies of more than 99 years and less than six months are excused, as are properties which are usually exempt from have an EPC.
Some types of tenancies which are outside of the Housing Act 1988 and are excluded from this legislation. This applies to the following tenancies:
- Holiday lets
- Second homes
- Dwellings with rent higher than £100,00 per annum
- Company/Business Lets (tenancies under the protection of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954)
- Agricultural tenancies
- Resident landlords
Additionally, in certain circumstances landlords may be able to claim exemption from this; for instance, where the landlord is unable to obtain funding to cover the cost of making improvements, or where all improvements which can be made have been made and the property still remains below an EPC rating of E.
Landlords who believe that the property they rent qualifies for an exemption from the MEES must register their exemption on the national PRS Exemptions Register, you can do so by emailing PRSregisteraccess@beis.gov.uk.
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