The Government consultations on minimum energy efficiencies standards in both domestic and non-domestic property were published on 22 July, with a very close closing date of 2 September for responses. 

The consultations will lead to regulations made under the Energy Act 2011 which have to be in force in one form or another before 1 April 2018, requiring all relevant properties to reach a specified minimum standard.  The intention is to tackle the very least energy efficient properties – those with a rating of F or G on their energy performance certificate – and if a building has to have an EPC it will also have to comply with the minimum standard regulations.

For the consultation on non-domestic property there are fifteen questions set out inviting comment and feedback. The questions include such things as:

  • whether very short term or long term lettings should be caught by the minimum standards.  The suggestion is that leases of less than six months or over 99 years should not be caught and that these leases could go ahead however energy inefficient the property in question;
  • whether, where a property falls below an E EPC rating, the landlord need only be required to make energy efficiency improvements which can be made for no net or upfront cost, and how the landlord then proves that it needn’t make improvements but still be in a position to lawfully let the premises;
  • whether a phased introduction - a soft start with a hard “backstop” – is the correct approach; the Government’s preferred approach set out in the consultation paper is that the new regulations apply to all new leases to all new tenants from 1 April 2018.  Then 1 April 2023 is the suggested date for the regulations to apply to all existing leases that fall within the rules.  Where a let property doesn’t reach minimum standards Trading Standards Officers could impose a civil penalty.

The consultation relating to domestic property again contains questions rather than draft regulations.  Some are similar to those in the non-domestic consultation paper, others relate to the form, timetable and procedure of tenant’s requests relating to energy efficiency improvement works.

The results of both consultations will lead to regulations that will have far reaching effects; not just for landlords and tenants, but due to potential asset value implications, for all those who own or lend on property portfolios.

Consultation on MEES regulations (non-domestic)     
Consultation on MEES regulations (domestic)