The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations (‘the new Regulations’) came into force on 1 April 2019. On 1 April 2020 this was extended to apply to existing tenancies in England.
The new Regulations require landlords of substandard homes in England and Wales will be required to pay up to £3,500 (including VAT) to improve the insulation and/ or heating of property before they can rent it out to new tenants or issue a renewal of an existing tenancy agreement.
The new Regulations apply to any privately rented home banded F or G (the bottom two bandings) on an Energy Performance Certificate.
The MEES Regulations requiring landlords of F and G banded homes to make improvements have been in place since 2018. But it is only since 1 April 2019 that the government introduced the minimum investment requirement of £3,500. Prior to this a landlord only had to try to meet the standard if grant money was available.
Since 1 April 2019, a landlord has been required to carry out the necessary works to improve the insulation and/ or heating of property before they rented out their property to new tenants or issued a renewal of an existing tenancy agreement.
The new Regulations have tightened even further now requiring landlords to make changes to F and G banded homes even where tenants are staying in place.
What will happen to a landlord if he fails to carry out any necessary works?
Where a residential landlord continues to let their property despite the fact that it fails to meet a minimum E rating, enforcement action and fines of up to £5,000 could follow.
Are there any exemptions applicable?
Exemptions may be available to a landlord where the landlord has spent the maximum outlay of £3,500 (including VAT) on energy efficiency improvements but the EPC rating remains below E or there are no energy efficiency improvements that can be carried out that cost less than £3,500 (including VAT). In these cases, the landlord will need to register an official exemption.
Exemptions last for five years but can be renewed if still justified. There is no fee for registering an exemption, but in some cases assembling the evidence that needs to accompany the application may be difficult and time-consuming.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.