It's Not You It's MEES!!
All you need to know about changing EPC regulations as a Landlord.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 introduce measures to improve the energy efficiency of private rented property under the Energy Act 2011.
MEES or Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards mean that a landlord must not grant a new tenancy of a property (including an extension or renewal) they let after 1st April 2018 and must not continue to let a property (on an existing tenancy) after 1 April 2020, where the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is below the minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented properties of band E.
These regulations are intended to improve the energy efficiency of poor quality housing stock, with the rental market targeted as an area where significant improvement can be made. It comes off the back of smaller changes over recent years where Tenants have been given more power to request improvements to energy efficiency of rental properties, providing there is no upfront cost to the landlord. Seemingly these smaller changes are not having the desired impact, so more drastic measures are now to be implemented.
What should you do?
Firstly find out if your Rental Properties will be effected – we have written to all of our landlords already to warn them of these changes. But if you are unsure you can check your EPC, either speak to your letting agent who should have a copy on file or follow this link to the EPC register: https://www.epcregister.com/
If your EPC has a rating of E or higher (A, B, C or D) then you have nothing to worry about (until inevitably the minimum level changes in the future, which is already under discussion!).
If you are still reading this it probably means you have a Property with an F or G Rated EPC – now you really need to know what to do!
The first thing we recommend is to commission a new EPC (unless your current EPC is less than 3 years old). There are a few reasons for this:
- Over time the methods used to calculate the energy efficiency change, so getting a new EPC will ensure that the most up to date methods are used.
- Any changes that have been made to the property (energy efficient lights, windows, boiler, insulation etc…) since the original EPC was made will be taken into account and will help to boost the rating – if you have had work done in the property a new EPC is a must.
- If the new EPC still leaves the property with an F or G, the recommendations given will be the most up-to-date and will give you an indication of what the rating will be after the work is done.
If you are still below the minimum standard at this point you need to know what you are required to do. The worst case scenario is that you cannot allow a new tenancy to begin or allow an existing tenancy to continue past the end of it's fixed term after the 1st April 2018 – which would mean you would have to serve notice to end a tenancy rather than renew it – Unless:
You carry out work to the property to raise the energy efficiency level above the minimum standard
You apply for and obtain an exemption from the regulations.
There are some key points here that you need to be aware of also (it's never straight forward!):
- A landlord of an F or G rated property will be expected to install all energy efficiency improvements required to reach an EPC rating of E, where funding is available to cover the cost. Funding (or a combination of funding) can come from a Green Deal Plan, Energy Company Obligation or similar scheme, funding from Central Government, local authority, or third party at no cost to the landlord.
- There may be situations that restrict you from getting the required work done, for example, tenants refuse access, consent is withheld by a Freeholder etc.
- Potentially also the work may not increase the EPC rating high enough.
In the event that the rating cannot be improved either due to lack of funding or other valid reason the landlord may apply for an exemption by registering it on the national PRS Exemptions Register.
For full guidance please follow these links: