It's day eleven of our festive blog series: The origins of the piping pipers may not be firmly rooted in Scotland, but they brought to our minds thoughts of bagpipes, and other things that are found north of the border. The Scottish were first to implement their energy efficiency regulations but now the English and Welsh are not far behind, with MEES coming into force early next year: what will the differences between the systems be?

Since 1 September 2016, property owners in Scotland have been required by the "Action on Carbon and Energy Performance" ("ACEP") to adhere to energy efficiency measures when they sell or lease properties. Similar, although not the same, rules under the "Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards" ("MEES") will come into force in England and Wales on 1 April 2018.

The crux of the MEES regulations is that from April next year, all privately rented properties in England and Wales will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of E or above before a new lease can be issued.

The Scottish regime is quite different to that of the English and Welsh in that compliance in Scotland affects both the leasing and sale of properties: the MEES regulations will only effect let buildings (both commercial and domestic).

Common to both regimes is the identification of improvements through action plans in Scotland and recommendation reports in England.

The implementation of MEES will mean that:

  • Rent reviews for poorly rated properties will be affected
  • Poorly rated properties will not be allowed to be marketed unless they are upgraded
  • Properties with a poor rating will have a lower value as a result of their impeded marketability

In Scotland the requirement to carry out improvements can be delayed indefinitely as long as there is a valid Display Energy Certificate visible. As a result, buildings that are poorly performing will not become sustainably obsolete as is the case in England.

This could mean that owners north of the boarder are not as incentivised to invest in improvement works as those to the south.

However, many would say that the real incentive to improve energy efficiency has already been wide spread in the market place for a number of years, with tenants and prospective purchasers prepared to pay a premium for refurbished properties which embrace the latest technology and reluctant to take on those properties which are expensive to run because of old and inefficient systems.

See our full series of festive blogs here