Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties. It is unlawful to let domestic properties to new or existing tenants with an EPC rating below a band E.
The regulations were introduced to improve the quality of private rented buildings by increasing energy efficiency levels. This has the added benefit of reducing fuel poverty for private tenants.
Full guidance on the regulations for privately rented properties is available at: Gov.uk - Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard - landlord guidance.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. Before a property is marketed to sell or rent, an EPC for potential buyers and tenants must be ordered. An EPC contains:
- Information about a property's energy use and typical energy costs
- Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to a G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
If you are selling or renting out your home, you will need to employ an accredited assessor (see: Gov.uk - Find energy certificate). A landlord(s) can be fined if they don't get an EPC when required and the person selling the house, the landlord or the letting agent must present it to the consumer if buying or renting.
What should you do as a landlord?
As a landlord you must ensure all your properties have a valid EPC. You can check to see if your property has a valid EPC at: Gov.uk - Find energy certificate.
Properties with older EPCs might have already undergone work to meet the standards required. However, the current EPC may no longer reflect the energy efficiency of the property. Landlords should check their EPCs and consider renewals if they have undertaken the appropriate works already.
Improvements can include:
- Boiler upgrade
- Installation of heating controls
- Install or increase insulation
- Install renewable technologies such as Solar PV or Air Source Heat Pumps
- Install energy efficient light bulbs
Proposed changes to the legislation
BEIS issued a consultation in September 2020 that outlined a preferred policy scenario for improving the energy performance of privately rented homes, comprising of four elements:
- Raising the energy performance standard to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) energy efficiency rating (EER) Band C
- A phased trajectory for achieving the improvements for new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028
- Increasing the maximum investment amount, resulting in an average per-property spend of £4,700 under a £10,000 cap
- Introducing a 'fabric first' approach to energy performance improvements i.e., installation of wall or loft insulation
You can access the details of the consultation at Assets Publishing Service - Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales. The results of the consultation have yet to be published however, Bury Council would encourage all landlords to aim for the highest rating that their properties can achieve, rather than just trying to achieve the current minimum EPC E rating. A higher energy efficiency rating will make your properties more appealing to tenants, will help keep energy costs as low as possible, thereby encouraging stable tenancies as well as adding value to your property and safeguarding against future amendments to the regulations.
Is my property exempt from the scheme?
Some properties are exempt from the regulations however, landlords must register this exemption and provide supporting evidence.
Exemptions are defined as:
- High-cost exemptions
- 7-year payback exemptions
- All improvements made exemptions
- Wall insulation exemptions
- Consent exemptions
- Devaluation exemptions
- New landlord exemptions
You can find out more about exemptions at: Gov.uk - Guidance on PRS exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements.
To register for an exemption, visit PRS Register.
If you require any more information on MEES and how it could affect you, please call the Bury Council Private Sector Housing Energy Team on 0161 253 7244.