Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) were introduced by the government in 2011. The legislation prohibits landlords from renting out properties with an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) rated F or G.
Phase one of MEES came into force on 1 April 2018, meaning that it has been unlawful to let properties to new tenants with an EPC rating below an E rating since that date. Phase two was introduced in April 2019, meaning landlords have to demonstrate it would cost more than £3,500 to improve the property to the minimum E rating before letting to a new tenant. From April 2020 all existing tenancies will be held to the same standards.
The regulations were introduced to improve the quality of private rented buildings in England and Wales and to increase the energy efficiency of the worst performing houses and buildings. In addition, these regulations aim to improve the comfort and conditions in private rented homes and reduce fuel poverty.
Full guidance on the regulations is available here.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. Before a property is marketed to sell or rent, a EPC for potential buyers and tenants must be ordered. An EPC contains:
- Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
- Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to a G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
If you are selling or renting out your home you will need to employ an accredited assessor. The landlord can be fined if you don’t get an EPC when you need one and the person selling the house, the landlord or the letting agent must show the consumer the EPC if buying or renting.
What should you do as a landlord?
As a landlord you must ensure all your properties have a valid EPC. You can check your properties here.
Properties with older EPCs might have already undergone work to meet the standards but the current EPC may no longer reflect the energy efficiency of the property. Landlords should check their EPCs and consider renewals if they have undertaken the appropriate works already.
Landlords should consider planning for 2020 or the next change of tenant by reviewing the recommendations for their EPC that will suggest ways to improve the rating. Improvements can include:
- Boiler upgrade
- Installation of heating controls
- Install or increase loft insulation
- Install cavity wall insulation
- Install energy efficient light bulbs
More helpful advice and guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of your property can be found here.
Useful quick guides for domestic landlords are also available on the GOV.UK website.
Is my property exempt from the scheme?
There are several reasons where a property will become exempt from the regulations however landlords must register this exemption and provide supporting evidence.
Exemptions are defined as:
- High cost exemptions
- 7-year payback exemptions
- All improvements made exemptions
- Wall insulation exemptions
- Consent exemptions
- Devaluation exemptions
- New landlord exemptions
You can find out more about exemptions here.
To register for an exemption go to: https://prsregister.beis.gov.uk/NdsBeisUi/used-service-before