The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) was introduced in 2018 to encourage landlords to enhance the energy efficiency of rental properties. As of 1 April 2019, landlords must now invest £3,500 of their own money to fund improvements.
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard
On 1 April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations came into force. Since then, a landlord has been unable to grant or renew a lease, if their property has an EPC rating of F or G. These properties are known as ‘substandard’. From 1 April 2020, a landlord cannot continue to rent a substandard property.
Anyone who falls foul of the rules could face a fine of up to £5,000 per property, depending on the local authority. If the landlord is a company, their name and details of the offence will also be published on a public register for 12 months or more.
How to comply with the rules
To comply with the regulations, a substandard property must be raised to an E rating at the very least. Until now, this standard only had to be met if a landlord could obtain third-party funding to cover the cost. However, since 1 April 2019, landlords must invest at least £3,500 from their own pocket.
In practical terms, this means that if a landlord can obtain third-party funding to cover the entire bill, then it will not cost them a penny. Otherwise, a landlord must pay £3,500 towards the work. If the identified improvements are likely to cost more than this, you may be able to apply for an exemption.
Exemptions to the regulations
Some residential lets are actually exempt from the regulations. The list is quite extensive, but examples include –
- Most student and holiday lets
- Lettings to tenants who do not treat the property as their principal home, including corporate tenants
- Lettings with very high or very low rent
- Temporary buildings
You can also ask to be made exempt from MEES. This might apply if –
- Your property is a listed building
- You cannot get the necessary consent to complete the work
- The work will cost more than £3,500 (including VAT)
- The work will reduce your property’s value by more than 5%
- You have carried out the identified improvements, but your property is still substandard
As a landlord, you must keep up-to-date with these rules. You should also look ahead to see what changes are on the horizon. For instance, although the current standard is an E rating, this is set to rise. The aim is that all residential property will be at least a C rating by 2030.
If you want to know more about your rights and obligations as either a landlord or a tenant, please contact us at Breen Solicitors.