With proposals by the UK government to improve energy efficiency ratings of new non-domestic rented buildings to B or above by 2030, it is absolutely essential that landlords prepare to make the necessary changes to ensure their are fully compliant with the MEES regulations.
What are the MEES Regulations?
The Non-Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations outline a minimum energy efficiency level for private residential and non-domestic rented properties. This legislation applies to all private rented properties in the UK that are let on specific types of tenancy agreement, including Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST)s, Regulated Tenancies and Domestic Agricultural Tenancies.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
In line with the MEES regulations, landlords of properties which fall into the non-‘domestic, privately rented property’ category are legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on certain tenancy agreements.
An EPC informs landlords, tenants and potential buyers about the energy efficiency rating of a property. This is calculated by taking into account a number of variables for properties which have been marketed or let since 2008. EPCs are a legal requirement whenever a property is built or due to be placed on the market to rent or purchase, as it allows interested parties to ascertain how much it will cost to light and heat the property.
Energy Performance Certificates contain all of the information regarding a property’s energy usage, carbon dioxide emissions, typical energy costs and recommended actions about how to reduce these. The ratings range from A to G, with A being very efficient and G the least efficient. All certificates are valid for 10 years and come with a recommendation report (RR), which includes advice and suggestions on improvements to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
To obtain an EPC, property owners will need to find an accredited assessor regardless of whether they are selling or renting. They will carry out a thorough examination of the property and produce the certificate based on their overall findings. It should be noted that property owners who do not possess an EPC when one is required can be fined.
Can you let a property with an EPC rating of F?
As of 1 April 2018, landlords of privately rented residential and non-domestic properties (including public sector landlords) in England and Wales may not grant a tenancy – including a renewal tenancy – to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of F or G. Furthermore, from 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue to let out a non-domestic property if it has an EPC rating of F or G.
The final provisions of the EPC regulations came into force on 1 April 2020. To comply, landlords who planned to let or have let a property with an EPC rating of F or G and is eligible under MEES regulations should have taken action by 1 April 2020, improving the rating of their property to E or above or to place the property on the exemptions register. Those who have not done so will face a penalty in the form of a fine or other legal enforcement action.
What is the lowest acceptable EPC rating?
The minimum energy efficiency standard in line with MEES regulations is currently E. However, the UK government is proposing that all new domestic tenancies should have an EPC rating of B or above by 2030 and all-domestic tenancies to have achieved this by 2028.
What is the impact of MEES?
MEES was originally enforced in England and Wales to encourage landlords and property owners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. This in turn will help to reduce carbon emissions in line with the UK government’s aims of reaching carbon net zero by 2050.
How can SOCOTEC assist my organisation with MEES compliance?
SOCOTEC has a wealth of experience in undertaking EPCs and providing information on how to improve a building’s rating overall. EPC improvement projects start with a site visit to collect the relevant dimensions and information to produce a current ‘baseline’ EPC. Detailed energy improvement modelling is then used to provide the options and associated budget costs to achieve the required improvement in EPC rating for the building.
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