Landlords should act now, to avoid potential loss of rent and.or penalties if they fail to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), says Amee Popat, Partner at Real Estate:

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 are designed to tackle the environmental and economic problems associated with the least energy-efficient properties in England and Wales. The Regulations establish a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) for both domestic and non-domestic (ie. residential and commercial) privately rented property and make it illegal for landlords to rent out their properties if they are “sub-standard”. Landlords of these properties should act now, if they have not already, to avoid potential loss of rent and/or penalties.

The minimum level of energy efficiency permitted by the Regulations for both domestic and non-domestic privately rented property is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E. The provisions mean:

  • From 1 April 2018, subject to certain requirements and exemptions, landlords of relevant domestic or non-domestic privately rented properties may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property).
  • 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.
  • From 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue letting a non-domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.

The MEES Regulations do not actually impose a positive obligation on landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvement works to privately rented properties but the above restrictions will apply if they do not and penalties will be imposed if the restrictions are breached.

A second key measure introduced by the Regulations is that they enable the tenant of a domestic privately rented property to request the landlord’s consent to the tenant making energy efficiency improvements to the property despite there being restrictions on making improvements in their lease. Subject to certain exemptions, the landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent to such a request by the tenant. This measure came into force on 1 April 2016.

For more details of the Regulations (including the penalties for breach) and government guidance to landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property on complying with the MEES visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-private-rented-property-minimum-standard-landlord-guidance-documents