With just over two weeks to go until the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are introduced in England and Wales…are you ready for the implications?
This new legislation coming into force on 1st April 2018, will make it unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating is an F or G. This change also includes sublettings, which means that tenants that wish to dispose of unwanted space must also comply.
The introduction of MEES presents a significant financial risk to landlords in many ways, especially due to penalties for non-compliance, which can range from £2,000 to £150,000. As a result many landlords who are energy conscious may already have plans in place to overcome the introduction of MEES when it arrives. However, in regards to mitigating risks, recent research shows that landlords have still not made much progress, and it is estimated that up to 20% of commercial properties in the UK will fail to meet MEES.
As a result, the government has published further guidance on MEES, but there are still several grey areas and further complications, particularly in relation to listed buildings, voluntary EPCs and retail properties. It is important to be aware of these exemptions as the regulation does not capture all F and G rated properties. For instance, properties with short leases such as six months or those with a lease greater than 99 years are excluded.
Although MEES only applies to properties rated an F or G, the methods used now to prepare EPCs have become more stringent and their quality has improved. Therefore, when an E-rated, compliant property is reassessed today, there is a risk of the rating dropping to an F or a G, especially if it was assessed shortly after EPCs were introduced in 2008–09.