Senior solicitor Julian Spence, in our Commercial Property team, explains the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Amendment Regulations that came into force on 1 April 2019.
The government has published the Energy Efficiency (Private Rental Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/595) (“the Amendment Regulations”).
With effect from the 1 April 2019, the Amendment Regulations amend the previous Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/962) (“the MEES Regulations”) which came into force on 1 April 2018.
The Amendment Regulations make amendments to the MEES Regulations. The majority of the amendments relate to domestic privately rented property, although one change applies to both domestic and non-domestic. The effects of the Amendment Regulations are as follows:-
- To remove the “no cost to the Landlord” principle in relation to substandard domestic private rented property and replace it with a cap cost to the Landlord of £3,500.00.
- To establish a new “high cost” exemption to be available where substandard privately rented properties below an E efficiency that cannot be improved at the cost of £3,500.00 or less.
- To curtail the validity of “no cost to the Landlord” exemptions, by providing that such exemptions will expire on 1 April 2020.
Registering an exemption on the Exemptions Register is not straightforward and is time consuming. Exemptions are also limited in time so offer only a temporary solution.
Landlords have since 1 April 2018 been unable to grant leases to tenants where the property has an EPC and it is rated below an E, unless an exemption applies.
From 1 April 2020, landlords will no longer be allowed to continue to let residential premises where there is a valid EPC and it is rated below an E, unless a “high cost” exemption or another exemption applies.
With effect from 1 April 2023 the principle will also apply to commercial buildings.
The general message seems to be that if they have not already done so, Landlords would be well advised to carry out a review for all of their portfolios now to assess whether they are compliant with the MEES Regulations with effect from the two future dates for residential and commercial respectively. Landlords may find themselves required to spend money in the course of the next 12 months to bring their portfolios up to an Energy Efficiency standard of E or above.
For further information or legal advice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 951 6800.
This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.