Landlords – Do your properties comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)?
From 1 April 2018, landlords of relevant domestic private rented properties may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property); It has to be a minimum of E.
From 1 April 2020, landlords must not continue letting a relevant domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property). All lets need to have a minimum of E.
To check if a property has a valid EPC search online using the property postcode https://www.epcregister.com/reportSearchAddressTerms.html?redirect=reportSearchAddressByPostcode
Who does the guidance apply to?
Any landlord who lets out a domestic private rented property which is required to have an EPC by law in England or Wales and is let on one of the following tenancy types:
- An assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) defined in the Housing Act 1988;
- A regulated tenancy defined in the Rent Act 1977;
- A domestic agricultural tenancy as set out in the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015.
Exclusions are also detailed such as Social housing, a protected building, places of worship, temporary buildings, furnished holiday accommodation where the holiday maker is not responsible for paying the energy bills.
Making energy improvements to a property takes time to arrange, so landlords who currently let properties with Energy Performance Certificate ratings of F or G need to take immediate action if they are to meet the April deadline, especially if they have a portfolio of properties.
What's the thinking behind the new regulations?
The private rented sector has a disproportionate share of the UK's least energy efficient homes. By introducing these new regulations, the government says that they hope to meet the following objectives:
- energy costs for tenants are reduced, especially in older homes,
- reduce greenhouse emissions,
- improve the condition of properties and help reduce maintenance costs,
- and smooth seasonal peaks in energy demand, bringing increased energy security.
The Government say that they also expect that jobs will be created, and greater competition in the green construction industry will drive down the costs of making eco-improvements.
Finally, they are keen to point out that landlords should benefit too from increased tenant satisfaction, less void periods, less regular maintenance, and making properties more attractive to prospective tenants, and increased resale value.
Enforcement will be carried out by local authorities, who can issue compliance notices and impose financial penalties, and publish details of the breach on the national PRS Exemptions Register. There will also be the right to an appeal process via the First-tier Tribunal.
A full copy of the governments’ guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656540/27_09_17_Domestic_Private_Rented_Landlord_Guidance_-_Final_Version.pdf