Calling all landlords, are you ready for MEES?

Man holding a sheet of paperLandlords, don’t miss the deadline – you have less than two months to go before the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) takes effect for privately rented properties in England and Wales. Have you checked whether you’re MEES-compliant?

The UK government is aiming to meet its carbon reduction targets for 2020 and 2050, and landlords need to act their part. As of 1 April 2018, residential and commercial landlords in England and Wales are required to prove that their privately rented properties are rated at least E on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). If the rating is anything less, landlords cannot grant a new tenancy or renew an existing one unless an exemption applies. If they do despite the poor rating, they could face hefty fines. The challenge here is that some landlords aren’t even aware how their properties perform.

What’s my property’s EPC rating?

It is estimated that nearly 20% of commercial buildings in England and Wales have EPCs ratings of F and G. You can look up your property’s EPC rating by checking the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s EPC Register for domestic and non-domestic buildings. The website also lets you find an Energy Assessor if you need one.

New research suggests there are thousands of commercial properties whose ratings have dropped from E, without the landlords even knowing. Building energy simulation company arbnco re-simulated EPCs for over 3,000 buildings in their database and found that almost one-fifth of these have achieved lower EPC ratings than before, with many at risk of being non-compliant with MEES.

The A to Gs of Energy Efficiency

At this point, you’re probably thinking about how you can increase your Energy Efficiency Rating, so let’s take a look.

We’ve established that currently, energy efficiency performances range from band A to G, where the latter is the worst performing. Assessments are carried out by accredited Energy Assessors and your EPC is generated using a government-approved software.

The law sets the minimum standard at E and to get there you can consider:

  • replacing old boilers to improve central heating, fitting in a thermostat to control heating or installing a smart meter
  • checking the lighting and converting to LED lights
  • improving insulation for floors, walls, roof and loft
  • using renewable energy
  • buying energy efficient appliances

The assessment is non-invasive, so if you’ve made improvements that are not visible (like fittings and insulation), you’ll need to show the Assessor documentary evidence of the work that was carried out.

The changes won’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg either. You might be eligible for energy efficiency funding, and the best place to check is the HMRC Energy Grants Calculator.

Confused about new legislation? Talk to Romain Coleman

As specialist landlord solicitors in London, we have the legal advice you need; we’ve even set up our Property+Plus service with landlords in mind, giving you access to a low cost, dedicated helpline with advice on a range of different property issues.

Talk to us and we’ll guide you through the maze of legal issues you’re facing as a commercial or residential landlord. Call us today on 0208 520 4555 to speak with a landlord solicitor at Romain Coleman.