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MEES – domestic rentals reminder

We last reported on the MEES Regulations in our May 2019 edition (p24). The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties. The regulations apply to all domestic private rented properties that are:

  • let on specific types of tenancy agreement;
  • legally required to have an energy performance certificate (EPC).

Since 1 April 2018 private rented properties could only be let to new tenants if the property had a minimum energy efficiency rating of E. The regulations mean that, since 1 April 2018, private landlords may not let domestic properties on new tenancies to new or existing tenants if the EPC rating is F or G (unless an exemption applies).

There are various exemptions that apply to the prohibition on letting a property with an energy efficiency rating below E. If a property meets the criteria for any of the exemptions, L will be able to let it once they have registered the exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register. If a property is currently empty and L is not planning to let it, there is no need to take any action until L decides to let it out.

Ls and their advisers are reminded that from 1 April 2020 the prohibition on letting F and G properties will extend to all relevant properties, even where there has been no change in tenancy. This means that Ls have until 1 April 2020 to bring a currently let, non-compliant property up to standard if they want to continue to let it (or register an exemption).

If L cannot improve the property to EPC level E for £3,500 (inc vat) or less, L should make all of the improvements which can be made up to that financial limit and then register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption. Note however that if L can secure third party finding to cover the improvement costs and does not need to invest their own money, the £3,500 cost cap does not apply.

The MEES Regulations are enforced by local authorities, who have a range of powers to check and ensure compliance. If a local authority believes L has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES Regulations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If a breach is confirmed, L may receive a financial penalty. See www.gov.uk.

 

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