This article describes the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) that will apply to all privately rented non-domestic properties from April 2018. They were introduced by The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. Scotland is not covered by MEES but will be covered by similar legislation. Domestic properties will also be covered by Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and separate guidance to domestic private landlords on complying with their obligations under the minimum standard regulations will be published in due course.
From April 2018, there will be a requirement that all privately rented non-domestic properties must have at least an EPC rating of E before a new tenancy can be granted. Properties that do not meet this standard will be required to be improved.
From April 2020, the requirement will be extended to cover all residential properties.
From April 2023, this requirement will be extended to also include non-domestic privately rented properties where there is an existing tenant in place.
Scope of the Regulations
Not all properties are covered by the legislation. The following properties are exempt:
- Tenancies of less than 6 months (with no right to renew)
- Tenancies with a lease of more than 99 years
- Properties exempt from holding an EPC such as religious buildings or furnished holiday accommodation
It is therefore necessary for a landlord to first establish whether their property is covered by the regulations. If it is covered then there is still a possibility that the property is exempt from needing to be covered by the minimum standards.
There are several exemptions which apply to landlords and these are as follows:
- If all cost-effective energy efficiency improvements covered by the Golden rule or a seven year payback have been carried out and the property is still not an E rating.
- If consent to carry out any required improvements is denied by a third party e.g. local authority and reasonable efforts have been made to obtain consent.
- Where a suitably qualified expert can state in writing that the recommended improvements would damage the building or adversely affect the value of the property (5% or more)
Exemptions are only valid for 5 years and do not pass on to a new landlord if the property is sold. They will be lodged on a central register, the PRS Exemption Register. This is being piloted at present and will be available on gov.uk by 1 October 2017
Trading Standards Officers will have the ability to enforce the new measures and will be able to impose fines on the landlord. The penalties will depend on the rateable value of the property and will not exceed £150,000.