A quick reminder for Landlords of all privately rented domestic properties in England and Wales that they must ensure that they comply with new obligations relating to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations by 1st April 2020. The same will apply for commercial buildings from 1st April 2023.
As you will be aware, all properties are now required to hold a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that shows the energy efficiency of the property and suggests ways of improving it in order to save costs in future. At present, any new lettings can only lawfully be made if the property has an energy efficiency rating of ‘E’ or above. However, from 1st April 2020, it will be unlawful for Landlords to continue to let any domestic properties with an energy efficiency rating below ’E’. This means that it will be necessary for Landlords to obtain an EPC for properties which have been let on a long term basis, and which do not have a current EPC. If the new or any existing EPC rating is below ‘E’, it will be necessary for a Landlord to take further action to be able to continue lawfully to let that property.
If your property’s EPC rating is below ‘E’, you must either register an exemption as to why this cannot be improved (more details below), or take immediate action to improve the energy efficiency of your property before 1st April 2020 in order to avoid penalties for breaching the regulations.
Please note that if your domestic property is currently empty and you have no intention of letting the property in the near future, then there is no legal requirement for you to take any action at this stage until you decide to let the property out again, but it would be a good idea to check what your obligations might be.
What exemptions are available?
If it is impossible to improve your property’s energy efficiency by 1st April 2020 to at least a rating of ‘E’ without spending more than £3,500 including VAT, then you should make all possible improvements to the property, and then apply to register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption online on the PRS Exemption Register.
Some other exemptions available are:
- The high cost exemption, where you can prove that you have spent up to the cost cap of £3,500 including VAT in making improvements to your property;
- The wall insulation exemption, where making wall insulation improvements would, according to an expert, have a negative impact upon the property; and
- The consent exemption, where you require the consent of, for example, a tenant before accessing the property to make improvements, and despite your best efforts, consent can’t be obtained.
If you cannot obtain an exemption, it will be necessary for you carry out improvement works to your property to improve your property’s energy efficiency. It may be possible to obtain some funding from your local authority, but this varies between authorities.
Generally, if you have a domestic property without an EPC, or have long term tenants, you should check the position. There are a number of exemptions which it may be possible to claim, and exceptions which may apply in some cases. We cannot list all of those here, but please contact a member of our team if you have any queries or would like to discuss a particular property in more detail.
Please note that this is not legal advice. This article is intended to provide general information about current legal issues. Please contact us for more information or if you require specific legal advice about any relevant matter.