Under MEES, buildings in England or Wales must achieve at least an ‘E’ rating on their Energy Performance Certificate in order for them to be leased or rented. These rules will apply to all new leases from 1st April 2018. Similar regulations are in place in Scotland, where the rules came into force from June 2016.
Properties with an EPC rating of less than ‘E’ must be improved with suitable energy efficiency measures to bring their ratings up to at least an ‘E’. After 1st April 2018, buildings that do not meet the minimum standards cannot be re-let until improvements are made. If owners re-let the property, they will face a penalty fine of up to £5,000 for domestic properties and £150,000 for non-domestic properties.
While exemptions can be registered in certain circumstances, these are only a temporary solution and by 2020 it will be illegal to continue to lease a domestic property with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’. For non-domestic properties, the minimum standard will apply to continuing leases from 2023.
Approximately 20% of non-domestic properties in England and Wales are estimated to be affected. Even properties that currently have an EPC rating of “E” are at risk from the regulations as the standard for achieving an “E” grade has become tougher since EPCs were first introduced.
If your buildings are affected by MEES, your business or organisation will need to take immediate action to get them up to scratch. Implementing energy efficiency improvements across your building stock can be a time consuming process so it is important to initiate your compliance programme before it’s too late.
ARE YOU AFFECTED?
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards will apply to all rented properties with a valid EPC, both domestic and non-domestic, in England & Wales with leases of longer than six months and shorter than 99 years. Scotland is not affected by MEES but is subject to similar regulation.
Property landlords may register a five-year exemption from compliance on the following grounds:
- Consent – attempts to increase the energy efficiency of the property have been unsuccessful due to restrictions or tenant refusal
- Devaluation – an accredited report suggest that the market value of the property would reduce by more than 5% from implementing the relevant energy efficiency improvement
- Forced Leases – Landlords are exempt if they are legally bound to lease or re-lease a tenancy
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
If you are a building landlord, you must install relevant energy efficiency improvements to any sub-standard properties in order to meet a minimum of an ‘E’ on the property’s EPC. From 1st April 2018, all landlords will be subject to penalty fines if a property that does not meet the standards is let.
Landlords must also review any requests for energy efficiency improvements made by tenants and not refuse without reason as defined in the regulations.
The penalty fine for breaches of compliance is up to £5,000 for domestic properties or £150,000 for properties.
WE CAN HELP
Our approach to MEES is based on 20 years’ experience of assisting building owners and occupiers with their regulatory obligations. We work with a wide range of businesses, identifying and delivering the most appropriate route to compliance based on their specific needs.
If chosen as your MEES provider, our dedicated compliance experts will implement a structured process ensuring that you know exactly what’s going on. Using our detailed stock modelling software, we will first prioritise your buildings based on the scale of work required to get them up to standard in the most cost-effective way. Then we will work with your in-house contractors, or our framework of approved contractors, to get the job done.
Throughout the process, we will ensure minimal disruption to your business. Following the upgrades, we will introduce a measurement and verification plan to evaluate your savings. By doing so, you will be able to identify additional ways to improve energy performance in the future.
As part of our compliance process, we will:
- Ensure accurate and up to date EPCs of your properties
- Identify the most appropriate and cost effective Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to meet your compliance and building performance needs
- Design and install a programme of relevant ECMs to achieve the minimum standards.
Talk to us about complying with MEES